Yep, that’s me. Maybe “absentee” or “lame ass” friend would be more fitting since I don’t really think I’m a shitty friend per say, just not around very much to be much of a friend at all. I wasn’t always like this though. Let me start by discussing my first and oldest of friends. As only children, raised by single parents, we were born exactly 9 months apart and even lived together with our moms for a few years when we were about 5 or 6. We shared many a life experience together, one of the most significant being the earth-shattering news that we were about to be first time siblings to two little girls, born just 4 days apart. Earth-shattering being SUCH the appropriate term with reference to 13 year olds who are used to ruling the roost and going through just the teensy-est bit of the terrible teens. Together we waved goodbye to our only-child status and oh did many a bitter tear flow. We also learned the joys of having younger siblings together and now, 12+ years later, I have an amazing friend where I thought I would just have a little sister. This is the good news. The not so good news is that my oldest friend and I have not actually seen each other in about 7 years. The bad news is this is not the only instance I have of not seeing/talking to a friend for years at a clip.
I told you I was trouble.
In a previous post I discussed my issues with the ol’ “Ring! Ring! Hello?” device. I’m not good with it. I rarely (if ever) pick it up to call people and when people call me I usually stare at the phone in terror like the voice at the other end is there to deliver a death sentence. All this is normal, right? Yeah, I thought so. That being said, add the fact I live about 50 miles away from the majority of my friends, socialization isn’t something I’m used to doing anymore. So when the opportunity arises to commiserate, I usually fall deep into an anxiety ridden despair, unsure of what to do, what to wear, how to behave. The last time I made the effort to drive the hour and a half to visit with some friends I was stuck on the NJ Turnpike for 4 HOURS, sitting in traffic because GUESS WHAT? there was an accident right before the exit I needed to get off at and SURPRISE! I was now trapped on the turnpike until I could make it to the next exit just 7 miles down the road. That’s right, 4 hours = 7 miles and after all that I was really no closer to seeing my friends who would likely be wrapping things up right about the time I would be arriving. That may have been more of a sign that I need to check the traffic report before leaving the house for long trips than a sign that I am not supposed to have friends, but nonetheless I have not seen that group of friends since.
So here I am, back to explain why I’ve written this post in the first place. Over the years I have seen many a friend come and go. There have been lots of reasons for the loss of connection. Growing apart, moving away, and my personal favorite: learning you never really liked the person very much to begin with. Ouch. Sometimes the truth, it hurts. How can you know if you really like someone unless you get to know them, right? More than anything I attribute it to basic growing up. Maybe you find a significant other or a passion through a meaningful career or hobby and well, we all have to be a little selfish from time to time. I just fear I may have become too much so, and more than a little self involved, forgetting to do the simplest things like checking in with a friend, just because. I will admit I am much MUCH better with communication via, email or letter, but unless I’m looking to have a bunch of pen pals, it’s really no way to conduct a friendship. It’s not that I don’t think of my friends often, I think about them all the time, which is actually a part of the reason why I shy away from making the phone call. When I think of a friend, and then I think about the last time I saw or spoke to them and I have to count the months, or worse, YEARS since contact, I begin to feel more than a little ashamed. What if this person wants nothing to do with me anymore? Have they written me off like a bad day at the racetrack? Maybe they have already moved on and I will just humiliate myself by attempting to reach out to them again after all this time? REMINDER: My mind is a vast abyss of self criticism.
Now I know I’m not the worst friend in the world. Not by a lot really, but that still does not help me shake the thought that I could have, should have been, so many times, much much more of one. I’m trying to start a new chapter on my life. The pieces are slowly falling into place in all the different areas, but this is a major rift that has needed some serious repair for quite some time. Ima get there.
This one goes out to my friends. You know who you are…
I’m sorry I wasn’t there more
Just know it doesn’t mean I didn’t care
I know things have changed for me and for you
When I didn’t call, or write, or show
It was nothing you did, the fault was my own
I guess I couldn’t face anything at all
I’d like to make amends and become a better friend
I’d like to hope that I’m not too late
But maybe I am
There’s no changing what’s happened
Or the time we’ve spent apart
The absence hasn’t made me forget
I can only speak for myself here
I can’t live with regret
Just know, that to me, we will always be friends