I’m sorry I’ve been so distant lately.
I’ve been such a bad friend to you.
I apologize so much for not being there for you when you really needed me.
It’s nothing you did, it’s just me.
Can you ever forgive me?
Can you tell I’ve heard this lament a few times? I have heard it, so many times and from a lot of different people. I’m not talking about the people that move far away or have had life challenges to deal with, or are working their butts off trying to pay the mortgage. I’m talking about your regular joe friends. Those are the ones I hear this from and there’s a reason I’ve heard this so much throughout my life. I hear it because I give folks a free pass. I’m that friend that always responds exactly how you want them to. I’m the one sitting there with the understanding look plastered on my face saying, “No, it’s okay, really. I totally understand. I get it. No worries.”
I say this and I try to be sincere about it, but I can tell you that every single time what I have actually felt was sadness and heartache. Do you want to know why?
I feel let down, forgotten about, like I wasn’t thought enough of as a friend to be included in their life when it wasn’t so great. Or maybe their life sure looked great in pictures they posted on social media of parties and dinners they were hanging out at with other friends, and why wasn’t I getting a call then? I feel like they don’t trust me, or maybe they don’t really even like me that much, but they’re back because they need something from me. Oh yeah. There’s that too. I have been the friend that always puts out, the Giver. The one that allows you to take and take and take until they either explode in anger and tell you to fuck off, or they limp away feeling ashamed they didn’t have more to give before the user-friend got bored and decided to ghost them…gee hunny, I’m sorry I’ve been so distant.
Do you want to know who I’m distant with?
I’m distant with people I don’t trust, people I do not like or want to ever be around. I have no intention of ever trying to go back and be friendly with them again. I don’t understand people that do this. What is it about a friendship can be put on a tentative hold until further notice? They are not my tribe therefore they have nothing I will ever need badly enough to swallow my pride and admit to them that I’ve just been a shitty friend, but can I please start hanging out around them again.
Think about it.
Define “bad friend”.
It’s an oxymoron.
I wrote about the difference in another post entitled: Being a Good Friend. In this post I talk about what a good friend is and how they behave and how distancing yourself from people you claim to love is not something you do.
“For a few years I sat home feeling powerless and could never figure out what I had done wrong when a friendship turned sour. Why did some of my friends treat me so badly? Didn’t I always do what they wanted? Didn’t I always show up and help when they needed me?
As it turns out, the problem wasn’t only the fault of the so-called friend, it was also my problem. I didn’t know when to say no. I could never tell them that I didn’t appreciate being stood up, or left out, insulted to my face or gossiped about when I wasn’t present. As long as you let this kind of treatment continue, you can’t blame the person for doing it.
The problem is that if the person does these things, they really aren’t your friend. Friends don’t treat other friends that badly. If this was okay, then why didn’t you treat them the same way? Why wasn’t this normal for you to do to them?”
Why don’t I distance myself from my friends and then show up one day and tell them how sorry I am that I did that? I dunno. Doing that has just never occurred to me unless I don’t like someone. If I don’t like them I usually don’t go back. Maybe if I had been in the hospital, or taking care of a sick friend, or if I had been out of my mind the whole time? So, I just can’t answer that. I don’t know how some people are able to do that to their friends.
Too often we give away our power and our self esteem by giving people that do this to us on a regular basis, a free pass. If you’ll let them do it to you once, then you’re fair game and they can do that and probably other heinously mean things to you and you’ll be fine with it, as long as they continue to claim to be your friend.
I don’t know how you’re feeling right now, but I can tell you what I came to terms with this year. I am a good friend and I’m a great person to include in your life. If you can’t see that and respect my feelings enough to treat me like a friend, then you’re not a friend and I finally get it. No more free passes. It doesn’t mean I dislike you, it simply means I no longer make time for you. If you want to grab lunch and catch up, then awesome! Let’s do that! But don’t expect me to make any more investments in a future as your boo.
I know life happens at warp speed and I can forgive and overlook a lot of mishaps in my friend’s lives, as I would hope they would do the same for me, but what I can not abide is someone that continually feels the need to shun me and then apologoze for shunning me.
Life is hurtful sometimes for all of us and yet, I have never felt the need to cut anyone out of my life that I love. And that’s the way a real friend behaves.