I’m sorry I’ve been so distant…

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.




About Madeline Scribes

A writer with a sense of humor. If anyone can laugh at life, it's me.
This entry was posted in All kinds of Advice and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to I’m sorry I’ve been so distant…

  1. Enough says:

    Glad to have you back! I’ve been thinking along the same lines lately.

    I too try to give people slack because I know how challenging life can be (like you said, scrambling to pay the bills and keep a head above water).

    However some people I think should be there for you no matter what. I put my oldest dog to sleep a week ago. He was my constant companion for the last 11 years, an island of respite in an ocean of chaos and sadness. And yet when I expressed my heartache to several family members, their response was. “Sorry for your loss.” That’s it, like they were a strange police officer standing on my doorstep informing me of a death. No elaboration, no are you taking care of yourself? Nothing that would indicate true sympathy or empathy. And some people didn’t respond at all.

    It doesn’t take five minutes to pick up the phone or write a nice paragraph (my dad managed to, and he never writes–let’s my mom do it–and keeps his emotions pretty tightly wrapped). I know talking about death and loss is hard for some people, but it should be overcome for those closest to us. So, I’ll be cutting some people loose. I don’t have the time or the emotional energy to make excuses anymore. I’m a better friend/sibling/daughter than most people are to me. Time to circle the wagons a little tighter and focus on those people who did come to my aid in a dark hour.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I agree! Friends should take that extra step to comfort another friend during times like this. Wouldn’t they want the same? Those few precious ones that actually do show you how a friend behaves are the ones to hang on to. I had to start watching myself a few years ago when I tended to focus more on the bad friend and trying to make the bad friend be a better friend, while ignoring the ones that treated me like gold no matter how I behaved. Now I treat folks the way I’d like to be treated and once I figure out (it takes me a while because bad behavior just never occurs to me) I’m being treated badly, I move on now. I stopped sticking around for more of the same.

      I am so sad to hear about the loss of your friend. Furfriends are angels sent to us when we need them most. I hope you’re doing better and know that your pup will be waiting for you on the other side when you’re old and gray and ready to cross that rainbow bridge too.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m the friend that always feels like I’m being a bad friend, even though I’m always there. I’m the “needy type” which is why I feel like I’m such a bad friend at times, I’m always bugging and asking and texting and calling. The annoying one for sure. I typically find myself coming in contact with the “I’m busy” friend, they never have time for me and my needy self can’t deal with that. After so many times of saying you dont have time for me, I mention it and then if they continue to not have time then I cut them off. I understand if they lead busy lives, work hard, blah blah but when you’re my age (16) are we really that busy? All through the year? Or is it because you are hanging out with other people and cutting me off while blaming it on being “too busy”.

    Sorry that seemed rant-ish! But it’s happened to me several times haha.



  3. Jacquelyn says:

    I have just felt pangs of guilt. And I believe, well deserved ones. I realize I have become that bad friend over time and not to one specific person, but to most.
    And when i dig deep, to pull out my excuse, this is what i find: I have let the actions of some friends collect and stick in my mind and determine how I respond to Everyone.. You see, I have found that when I express anything But pure happiness- which gets hearts and smiles galore, i either do not get a response, Or I just get an e-moji, a sad face, OR! I get No comment on My issue, but a full blown conversation about THEM!! And This is what has put me into Silent mode, because i feel as if i share with you the good, the bad and the ugly, i expect or expected some sort of meaningful response to all, Not just the good…For example, ( me)” I just found out that I am almost in liver failure…” And the response, “OMG, i have lumps in my neck and my back is bad ” or ” uncle Bob has the same problem” and there goes the conversation. All about them! And it doesn’t seem to matter whether it’s about health, family, a pet – they instantly share all of their problems, which, by the way Dominate the whole conversation, and Never once do they ever ask about my feelings on my issue. So, This is why I have buried myself and disconnected. I fear the one sided conversation…. And now as I put this on the table and dissect it, I realize That I’ve shut down on the few but Great True friends just because Most of my friends are insensitive, inconsiderate jerks!
    So, I’m going to try and forgive myself and of course apologize to those who have done nothing wrong… or maybe not apologize, but simply Be a better friend.


    • I was reading along in your comment and thinking to myself that this is someone with a strong and eloquent voice. This is someone that knows who they are. Then I realized how familiar your story sounded and that I not only know you in person, but I am also your friend.

      I hope you know how much I dearly love and cherish you and anytime you need a friend that will hear you, I’m here.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. tracy says:

    You’re forgetting those that truly love the people they’ve always surrounded themselves with, but simply fell off the deep end…psychologically; I mean not getting out of bed, & needing therapy, etc. I have recently lost my job and suffered from the loss of multiple family members. The combination of those life changes, along with a pandemic which has thrown us all in a whirlwind, has left me unable to speak to friends and family. I have become an introvert to the tenth degree and am sad every day. The desire an ABILITY to speak to even people I love has disappeared. Friends from work must hate me because I have completely severed those conversations, emails, texts. Psychologically, this is the roughest time I’ve ever had in my life, but it DOES NOT MEAN I AM NOT A GOOD FRIEND. I simply can’t open up, or even muster up small talk at this moment, it’s just too difficult. I hope you have readers that understand this.

    Liked by 1 person

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