Monday, January 14, 2013


I have decided that I am not good at this thing called friendship. What’s worse, is that I feel like I am at a point where I don’t really want to try anymore.

In my local relationships, I am really tired of feeling like I am the one who does all the work. If I didn’t call, there would be no calls. If I didn’t stop by, there would be no visits. Basically I am the “friend” people call when they need something, otherwise I don’t exist. Heaven forbid that I actually want or need support as then these so-called friends appear to vanish. There are always excuses, but after awhile they don’t wash anymore.

There is no reason to not even give a simple reply to a text. Since I am not married to my phone, I don’t expect instant replies. In fact, I am really good at leaving my cell phone places, which is why I have two! One of them is just for my car so that when I am doing my driving rounds, I have a phone if I need it. I feel like I drive too much to risk not having a phone with me. My other one may or may not make it into my pocket. Actually my Facebook friends would giggle about this because I lost that stupid phone in my bra not long ago. I actually searched around for it before leaving the house. Dave looked a bit too. I gave up figuring I have the other one in the car . . . only to realize a few hours later that it was in my sports bra. I do that a lot if I don’t have pockets, but it was an odd choice since I was wearing jeans. I think I must have stuck it there before I fully got dressed.

Anyway, all that mumbo jumbo is partly to say that I see where I am not the easiest person to reach. If I don’t recognize your number, I won’t answer. If I am at home, I prefer people to call the “land line” as that I can usually find. If I am driving, call my car because it is hands free. If I am out but not in my car, call the cell phone that I misplace daily as I am just not a phone carrier. But if you text me, I will generally answer within 24 hours if it is something that should have a reply. If you email me, I answer quickly if it is simple, maybe a few days if I really have to think and get emotional about it (I have run support listservs for over 15 years and I try to be careful about how I reply to emotional discussions). If you call me, I generally call back if there is something I need to answer or if there is concern – though timing is challenging because of the kids. I am a bit obsessive, so sometimes if I am in the middle of something I won’t even answer the phone if my husband calls – but he knows to leave a message because I will pick up if he actually needs me then.

One of the things my father used to say is that he didn’t get hurt by people because he didn’t have expectations. On some level it doesn’t make sense to me, on emotional level, but logically it makes perfect sense. If I never expected someone to return my friendship, I wouldn’t be hurt or feel let down by people. But would I put as much effort in? Would I constantly offer support? Would I loan my stuff? I think I would really have to be stupid to do all of that and not have expectations. But, maybe my family was right about me being the stupid one because it has to be kind of dumb to keep reaching out to people who seek me only when they want something. It seems like it has been this way since I was a kid and stole money from my mother’s wallet so I could buy candy so kids would hang out with me. It seems like people are perfectly nice and friendly when we are together or when they want something from me, but when I go through a spell of wanting to talk about stuff, like the post I made about my father’s death, people vanish. I know people don’t do grief well, but if I wanted to celebrate the snowmobile, they wouldn’t be there either . . . unless they wanted a ride.

I also if I have an unrealistic expectation of what adult friendships should be. Maybe I do. All I really know is that it just doesn’t feel worth the effort. If I didn’t invest in people, maybe I wouldn’t care so much that most people don’t invest much in me.


Melissa R said...

What I have found, in my recent life as a wife and mother, is that friendships have changed for me. I am best at long distance friendships and those local friends who I only see a handful of times a year.
Long distance friends = deep stuff. We talk about feelings, thoughts, ideas about the world. We don't talk about our chores, our to-do list or borrowing things. We help and support each other on a very meaningful level.
Local friends who I don't see too often = wonderful fun catching up! We can usually chat for hours about our lives and then get into deeper stuff.
Then I have all my local friends who I see often. These are mainly friends of convenience. We are at the same place multiple times a week and so we do more "surface" chatting. Even when it's about deeper stuff it's not really the same as with my other friends. These aren't women I necessarily choose to spend time with. They are around me, and I do like them.
There are also my friends who I have known since childhood and I would trust with my life. I rarely see or talk to them but I know I could call them and they would be there for me.
These friendships fulfill my needs. I get something I need from each type of friend.
I have been there, the friends that you give and give and give and realize you are getting nothing in return. Not that I want anything, but like you said, it ends up being a one-sided situation. I have recently let go of some of those friends. Quite a lesson learned for me!
You are a wonderful person and anyone who you bless with your friendship is lucky and should realize it. It seems that you friend underdogs. I understand. Maybe you need to find some peers and see what happens. :)

Bec said...

I agree that friendships are different, and there are friends who are not local who are way more support. I just really wish I had someone local that I felt that I could call and know they would support me the way I have rearranged my life to support them. I am more inclined to get a comment such as "I would love to help, but I have an ingrown hair. Check with me next week."

Melissa R said...

That is sad. Maybe look in new places? We are actively trying to do some of that ourselves.