Blogging has become a way of life for some. For me, it has turned into an occasional hobby. One of many things I dabble in but never quite master. The only regret I had last year was that I didn’t blog more. My resolution was to rectify that with more frequent posts. Here I am a month later and nothing has changed. How many blog ideas come to mind and I don’t follow through on them? Way too many. My “take” on a topic gets fleshed out immediately in my brain. If I don’t write it down, I’ll forget which direction I was going with it, if not the entire topic. I’ve even slacked off on commenting on deeply moving posts I’ve read. Such is the way of a busy life.
I have a confession to make: I’m a bad friend. There are no excuses for being a lousy friend. Yet I’ve got them in spades. Obviously one is the time element. I’ve mentioned before how much trouble I have finding time for everything I want to do. Making lists has helped but I never put “nurture a friendship” on the list. I dislike email and rarely talk on the phone. If I do talk on the phone, it’s usually after making a prearranged appointment with someone to talk for a predetermined amount of time. I’ve never been great at multi-tasking. So while others can bake a cake or do a load of laundry while chatting on the phone, I give my undivided attention to the phone call. I am a good friend when I am “present”. I consider myself generous, a great listener, enthusiastic to learn about others’ lives and always supportive/encouraging. Too bad I’m always in the middle of something and don’t want to “bother” others by calling them.
After close examination of my relationship patterns, I know I make a big point of not being the pursuer of the friendship. We’ve all had a friend that knew no boundaries and made you feel like you were suffocating. That’s a huge turnoff. It’s important to me that I never appear clingy, needy, pushy or demanding. So to achieve this, I withdraw and don’t initiate contact. I know this makes me look like I’m not interested in you. Nothing could be further from the truth. I have some warped sense of worry about making a nuisance of myself. I figure if people like me, they will want to be around me without me pushing myself on them. This works in theory but with so many people in the world actually vying for your attention, I am forgotten.
I think of my friends often and wonder how they’re doing. I miss them and would love to see them again. I try to send birthday cards and remember the important things in their lives. Even when I don’t get around to getting a card out to them, I still think of them. The friendships that have survived are the ones that wouldn’t let me slip away into the woodwork. It is easy to let someone you don’t hear from disappear from your consciousness. The fact that I have any sustained friendships at all is probably a miracle. I’d like to think that even if I’m not currently in someone’s life on a daily basis, I’ve still left an imprint on their heart or soul in some way. Just being remembered is the greatest gift anyone can give me.
Then we have to examine the emotional distance factor. Due to the way some of my friendships ended, I’m unable to trust fully. I’ve got enough material on that subject alone to write a book. One in high school was especially traumatic. That’s an entire post in itself which I’ll cover in the future. I will only let people get so close. I’m not even aware I’m doing it. I make friends pretty easily, if I want to. I can strike up a conversation with anyone. There’s times I have a really moving, riveting conversation with a stranger in a public place and then we part ways to never see one another again. I’ve wondered why the person didn’t like me enough to ask for my phone number or email addy to keep in touch. Maybe some people have really awesome conversations with everyone they meet. Either that or everyone already has too many friends, they don’t need one more.
On a few very rare instances, I have felt such a connection or “clicked” with someone to the point of feeling like this was really special. Unfortunately, I will throw myself into this friendship heart and soul (without crowding them). Only to find out later, they must not have felt the same way. Either that or they are waiting for me to be the pursuer. In either case I end up hurt.
Many years ago, I met a new coworker who switched from days to nights. We were working together and she was very friendly right off the bat. As was I. She was nice to everyone but took to me right away. I showed her the ropes and we became inseperable. She was older than me by a few years but didn’t seem like it. Her birthday was the day before mine and we started planning a postal birthday party for the following Aug. (almost a year away). We hit it off like no one else I’ve ever met. She wasn’t a carbon copy of me in looks or even in likes or dislikes but it was like having someone just like me with me. We could talk about anything and we did for the entire time we were at work (while still getting work done). I looked forward to coming to work like I never had before. We would both light up when we saw eachother. We would laugh and I felt I’d met a kindred spirit. She invited me to go whaling with her to Martha’s Vineyard to her brother’s house if her daughter couldn’t go. Well, the daughter did go. I didn’t mind. She decided to get married during the time I knew her. She’d been with this guy for over 10 years. I threw her a party at work to celebrate complete with food and gifts. The first thing that tipped me off was when she asked me to stand up for her at her courthouse wedding. She asked me if I would do it IF her other friend wouldn’t. This other friend was someone who had worked with her on days and she’d chummed with her the way she was currently with me. I told her I would stand up for her but just wait and see what this other friend said. Of course the other friend did it. We got along swimmingly until right before our birthday when the hardcore party planning came down. She had written for another job on days and got it. She was to start 2 days before the party so wouldn’t be able to go to a party at 6 am like us 3rd shifters could. I was SO disappointed and she didn’t seem disappointed AT ALL. It made no sense to me. I begged her to ask someone if she could start the new job a few days later so we could still do the party. She didn’t even want to bother. I was so disillusioned. The party was scrapped entirely. After she left, my life was so empty. I had other friends at work but I had kind of gone “all in” with Carol and now felt totally alone. I had no one that wanted to talk to me THAT much. Work became so hard to go to. I sent her a few cards saying hi but never heard from her more than once. I’m sure she went on to immediately find a new best friend among her new coworkers. It broke my heart.
I have priorities and as valuable as friendship is, it’s not at the very top of the list. I’m a wonderful daughter, an excellent wife, a fantastic cook and a great mom to 2 dogs. There’s not enough of me to go around which is part of why I’m a bad friend. I can live with that.