I am not a very good person. No, that isn’t exactly true. I’m a pretty okay person, all things considered. I’m just not a very good friend.
I can hardly explain why, but I’ve got this inability to maintain relationships with people. The greatest friends in all my life, unless they make the (considerable) effort to keep in contact with, I let drift away until its gotten to the point I haven’t spoken to someone for six months. Someone I’ve loved (in many different ways) for as long as I can remember. People who’ve played such an important role in making me the person I am. These are people who’ve laughed at me, with me, and because of me. These are all people who all deserve to have a better friend than I am to them.
I’m not sure why this is and it drives me crazy. While I think about these people every day, wonder how they are, if they are happy, and if they might miss, I’m so socially inept, and so unwilling to accept the consequences for my inaction, that I’d almost rather never speak to these people again than to face the withering reproach that I’ll see in their eyes (or hear in their voice) even if it isn’t there.
As any mother can attest, guilt is a powerful weapon, in this case it is a stun ray that stops me from picking up a phone, writing an email, or stopping by to say “Hi.”
But, I’m finally reaching a point in my life when all the friends I’ve made will far outnumber all the friends I will make. If I can’t hold on, if I don’t make the effort, I will surely be alone. And I don’t think I like alone. I’m pretty sure I hate alone. So, it’s time to take responsibility. It’s time to make effort, no matter how uncomfortable it makes me feel. It’s time to start being an adult. It’s time to start being a friend.
I wondered why I was suddenly graced with a few emails (of several sentences each!) from you...
Most of my close friends who aren't here I speak to only a few times a year... yet there's an understanding that we are there if needed, that we are out there, caring. Isn't that the way you have to do it as an adult, in order to have time to, um, live?
by Linz at November 24, 2003 3:01 PM
Wow, it must be the holidays, or somethig, but I was going to post someting very similar and explain how it relates to what I am doing in my sketchbook.
by MrBlank at November 24, 2003 3:09 PM
MG, I've felt the same way at times. What I have figured out, as Linz said above, that your true friends understand that you have a life and might not have the time or energy to stay in touch on a regular basis. My best friends know I might not call for two or three months but if they ever needed anything I'd be there no matter the cost. I think we all get too caught up with living our lives and sometimes things slip. True friends understand that and love you unconditionally, the good and the bad.
by Ezy at November 24, 2003 3:49 PM
Every holiday season my former best friend (I've posted about what became of that) hosts a get-together of all my old pals. Since I am like you MG, a bad friend long-term, I always found it awkward. I'm like, what do we have to talk about now. But I'd always go. Last year my invitation didn't come and I've been bummed out ever since.
by anna at November 24, 2003 6:46 PM
Friends who drink together stay together. :)
We'll do a happy hour soon enough.
by überchick at November 25, 2003 1:24 AM
I got together with some old friends over Thanksgiving. I haven't seen some of them in too many months, despite only being a subway ride away. It was good.
by mg at December 1, 2003 12:34 PM
You weren't alone. You just chose to be.
Thank you. And congratulations.
by quicksilver at December 1, 2003 4:00 PM
Dude? You just reminded me to call my oldest friend. And that i too, am a bad long term friend.
by Jun at December 3, 2003 3:22 PM