I’m a bad friend.
I wish that I wasn’t, but I’m finding it a bad habit to break.
I’m a flaky person. I cancel plans. I have often chosen my boyfriends over my friends.
I didn’t talk to one of my best friends for 3 months.
I barely ever go to arranged meetups.
And I hate myself for it.
Sometimes I can’t actually afford it. But sometimes I let myself make excuses, and I isolate myself.
Since leaving University 3 years ago, I have often really struggled with my life (I am planning a separate blog post on this really soon). I haven’t really ever had a direction, which meant that my life often ended up revolving around the guy I was with at the time, and in those 3 years I have become a different person – not always in a good way. In the same way – all the friends I had, have also changed, depending on the life experiences they were having – experiences that were different to mine. Our lives had changed, and when you are no longer all sharing one experience, sometimes the friendship becomes a lot harder. I suppose, as you get older, you start to hone your friendship choices based on the interests you have. Suddenly you don’t all know the same people, you’re not talking about homework and boys (just an example) – your life isn’t defined by the same sets of streets, the same parties, the same worlds.
I feel that when you leave school, and/or university, smaller pieces of you are broken, or created, to leave behind, as the perimeters of your world extend, the more people you meet, and these pieces get smaller and smaller as you try to keep up with everyone you know. Each place you leave, a new piece of you is created and as you meet more people, and they’re all in small pieces too, it’s not possible to give all of yourself to all of them. It’s never possible to be exactly who you were before, or give exactly the same part of yourself to someone.
I guess it’s okay to drift apart from people you used to be close with, but that doesn’t make it any easier. Sometimes it’s only when you look at your friendships that you realise how much your life, and yourself has changed. As we all grow up, we start to develop our own little worlds, we learn what we like and what we don’t like, what we enjoy doing and what we can’t stand, and sometimes, there isn’t crossover with the people we’ve always known.
I am quite lucky that a lot of my friends from when I was younger do forgive me a lot. They’ve known me through a lot of the bad choices I’ve made, the different jobs I’ve had, and we already went through separation when we went to different Universities, and they’re very forgiving of my bad habits, probably more forgiving than they should be.
Lately, I’ve seen a lot of tweets talking about how you should cut out people who don’t give you the same attention you give them, and stop being friends with people who aren’t always present for you. Every time I see a tweet of this, I feel simultaneously very guilty, as I associate it with myself, and frustrated. I look at the words and I wonder if all the friends I partly neglect feel that way about me, and consider cutting me out and I wouldn’t blame them. At the same time, I know that for some of my friends, we could go months or even years without talking, and it would never impact the shine or importance of our friendship. I appreciate these so much, that I never feel the pressure to talk for the sake of talking. If they needed me, I would be there, and vice versa – it is simple, and easy.
So many parts of adulthood are not a surprise. I knew bills and alarms and jobs were on their way, but something I never knew was coming, is how hard it can be to have friends, and be a friend when you’re an adult. And how easy it is to be jealous of other people’s friendships. In this world of social media, I have learned not to let people’s perfect bodies on beaches affect me, I know these can be faked, or at least exaggerated, but I find myself easily fooled by online friendships. In the past few years, it seems that having a girl gang, or having the best friendships has become sort of ‘fashionable,’ and I feel really really guilty and misplaced that I don’t have that. (Beth Sandland wrote an excellent blog post about that here).
In all honesty, I sometimes find my life hard to handle. Although all my friends (and I’ve had the luck to meet lots of truly amazing ones over the years) are important to me, if I try and focus on everything all at once, I just end up feeling overwhelmed. Although I agree that putting a lot of effort into a person and not getting it back is not great at all, I know that if everyone worked by this philosophy, I wouldn’t have many friends left at all. I hope I don’t take any of them for granted, but I wish there wasn’t always such a portrayal of perfect friendships, where everything is easy, because that’s just not real life – or at least not for me. Having friendships is hard work, just like anything worth having, and I haven’t committed to that part of my life in a long time. Texting multiple people stresses me out, and don’t even get me started on trying to make plans with people that already have this social life thing figured out. I tend to hide away with Netflix and ice cream, but that doesn’t mean my friends don’t mean a lot to me.
It’s hard to admit to yourself, sometimes, that maybe your’e not where you want to be in life, and to admit that you’re not as close to people you once counted as basically family, is a hard pill to swallow. Sometimes it’s easier to cancel a plan, then go and come to terms with the different places in life you now walk. Where once you had common interests and a common goal, now your aims in life have all changed. I struggle with going and explaining that I can’t afford a train ticket, that I’m in a dead end job, or in a situation that isn’t getting any better. This isn’t to say you can’t get through these things as friends, but sometimes it’s harder to understand each other. To understand the choices you’re making. My tendency towards being a bad friend, probably comes from a fear of being judged, and a fear of realising that I don’t know who I am. Because if I don’t even know who I am, how can I be a good friend?
So, to all of you, I’m really sorry for being a bad friend. It’s not who I want to be.
What I’m wearing
Coat: Asda (old) – similar
Dress: ASOS (old) – similar
Boots: Asda (old) – similar
Photos by Claire at Hook N’ Eye Crafts