Bad AND good times

Before Christmas there was an incident between me and someone I love on how I hadn’t been a friend for them for some time. It was hugely painful, confirmed some of my worst fears about myself, made me worry for them but was also very adulty as we didn’t stop talking to each other and are – hopefully – OK. But my goodness it really stings that I hurt her, that I wasn’t there for her.

It confirmed something that had been a murky part of my mind for much of last year, I’ve been a pretty shit friend for a while. In part I blame Facebook. It was exacerbated last year with the debauchery and love and work thing and I was hopeless and looking after my friends.

I rely almost solely on FB to keep in touch with everyone. This is fine for those of us who are chronic over-sharers and update the world on whether we are sad, happy and everything in between. But many of us don’t feel comfortable doing that and that’s where I failed.

Friends had really rough times with their health, mental health, relationships, finance and work. And many of them only made a cursory mention to it and went quiet. And I didn’t do anything. I didn’t ring, I didn’t text, I didn’t email.

Oh I had every intention to, but you know, falling in love, a new full time job, a big commute, four kids… But that’s not good enough. These people are friends who have helped me so much over the years with my own heavy loads.

I made a pact with myself that this year I would back away from FB, not totally mind you, GOD FORBID! I’ve taken it off my phone as a start.

I’m also very conscious of checking in with people, even if it’s just a text.

Fast-forward to this week. I texted a friend and got a “sorry, who’s this” text back. This person said I’d ghosted them last year (in good times) and that friendship was a two-way street. While I told her I realised what I had done and was consciously trying to change it she had “no faith” my words would translate into action.

Fuck.

It’s made me wobbly ever since. If you feel I have let you down as a friend I am so so sorry. No excuses, I’m doing my best and am trying really hard this year to ensure I care for my peeps as much as they have me.

Onward.

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  • Janice

    You have to care for yourself and be your friend first. You can’t always be doing and caring for others. Surely if they are a good friend they will know how busy you are and also be happy that you have found love in your life and they would want you to finally get some “me” time. Keep doing what you are doing and look after number 1 first. xx

  • blackbird of Tuvalu

    That’s very brave and strong of you. Then again, you’re a different kind of person now, so I’m not surprised.

  • Nicola

    De lurking as this is such a powerful post. I have a slightly different perspective. I do not FB – it came along at a particularly difficult time for me, when I was coming to terms with my child’s disability and how it was impacting on our family, and the bragging that went on in my circle was just too hard. When my child was struggling to stay in mainstream schooling ( and being bullied mercilessly) hearing that someone else’s child had just won a prize/ got a scholarship/ Gold D of E etc.. was too much and I withdrew. It was disappointing that so many of my far flung friends with whom I had shared regular emails just seemed to disappear ( with a jaunty ‘ look on FB for my news!’) but I had to take responsibility for the fact I had chosen not to participate. I also had to recognise that I was being hyper sensitive to the perceived rejection because I was feeling rejected in another area of my life ( the school gate).

    I think your friend has been hard on you. I think she is projecting her own hurt and anger about her current situation onto your friendship. While she is entitled to feel like you should have read between the lines and been more attentive, I think she is not taking into account that your life is extremely challenging too. at the end of the day we all do our best even though sometimes our best falls short of expectations. Hopefully one day she will be able to see that and forgive you.

  • Keep your chin up.

    Wow that sounds hard! Hope you can keep with your mantra of onwards and upwards! I don’t know how you do it all and I’m only seeing what you post and share on this blog.

  • Kelley @ magnetoboldtoo

    Ouch. You know I have lost a lot of friends during my ‘dramas’ of the last few years. Some have out and out told me they can’t take it, many have ghosted me… but if they had genuinely apologised and tried to make good – as I know my friend, you would have – then maybe it says more about them than it does about you. Shit girl, you have had a HUGE fucking year. Not just the good times but there have been some stressful shitty times too, you have been super super busy and anyone could drop the friendship ball in the situation that you find yourself in. Don’t beat yourself up. And if this person is worth that much to you, give them a little time to cool off and maybe try again in a month or so IF – and this is a big fucking IF – you really want to. Love your face off.

  • Linda

    Wow, thought provoking post Kim. Being egocentric I naturally thought of myself and the relationships I have with my closest friends and family (it turns out that most of us couldn’t give a rat’s arse about anyone else’s problems – it really is all about “me”).

    I have some very strong friendships, both old and new, all of them valued because of their different dynamics. It comes down to the “does my butt look big in this” question. I know which friends will so ‘no’ because they are gentle souls and would NEVER hurt me. I know which friends will so ‘hell, yes!” because they know I can take it and they have my back. If I am feeling fragile I call on one of the gentle souls. If I am dealing with a BIG issue I need to hear the brutal truth so I call on the tough love friends. Life events change their personalities and mine. Sometimes they support me and sometimes I support them (and if I’m being honest some outgrow me and some I outgrow). I also have a habit of going to ground when I have too many issues to deal with at once.

    Our family dynamics also shift. We have 3 adult children who live in 3 different states. Christmas is one of the few times we are all together as a family so the build-up is huge. The reality is a little different. After the initial thrill has worn off they start to grate on each other until they s.l.o.w.l.y. realise that they have all grown in different directions. If you try and treat your 25 year old brother the same as you did when he was 15 he won’t cop it. Likewise if, as a 37 year old, you try acting like a 14 year old – your mother won’t cop it. Dealing with a 90 year old FIL is a whole other ballgame.

    I guess what I am trying to say is that friendships and family relationships don’t and can’t remain the same. Even when you think you are picking up where you left off you aren’t. Because everybody’s individual circumstances continually change and it’s not something we have any power over.

    On the surface feelings may be wounded but a true friendship will prevail. If not…..

    (currently 34C in Brisvegas but add in humidity “Feels like 40C so that’s my excuse for rambling)

  • Paola Russo

    Shit happens, uh? I am not on FB so I get what you are talking about, from the other perspective. This FB thing sounds so fake to me, a GIANT gossip house. That’s what I think of it. The idea of it was fantastic, but its been distorted (what’s new?!) and it became a dangerous place, IMHO.

  • Jane Dillon

    As one of the people quoted in this post, I feel obliged to say to your respondents disparagingly asking ‘what kind of friend’ was she, that you know the answer to that. You know exactly the support and love I extended to you on a daily basis for more than four consecutive years. I feel no need to defend myself further. So if you think this post accurately reflects the brief out of the blue text messaging we had, and reasons behind my reaction to your ghosting of me for nearly 12 months, so be it. I am not responsible for you.