September 16, 2013

I must confess to being an awful friend

My Home Truths

Possibly not what everyone is willing to admit to knowing about, but there you have it, today I must confess that I feel I am an awful friend. Perhaps even terrible. Not all the times, just every now and then. Though likely to be more now and less then.
I am probably not the worst friend you could ever have, though I have rarely  (if ever?) made it to the best friend status either. I am pretty sure that I fit into the good friend box, possibly even great at times. It's just that like the girl curl, when it's bad it's horrid. Which I guess at times might outweigh the rest.

Image from here

I have this friend. Actually I should maybe say I had this friend, because right now I am not sure if we really are still the friends we were. Which is pretty much what has brought me here today. Sometimes things seem clearer to me once I have written them out. (editor's note this has taken some pretty intense writing in order to get out as well, just in case you are wondering and sadly I am not sure yet whether I am any clearer. On the upside though I do have multiple draft posts on various aspects of friendship to slowly work my way through)
I met this friend, lets call her Franny, when Lovely was about four and a half. Franny's son went to the same pre school and since she was also pregnant we were kind of drawn together I guess. Actually our kids had gone to a 3 year old kindy together as well but I was way too shy to talk to her then. Instead I just kept asking the universe to bring us together in the hope that one day we could be friends.
Anyways fast forward seven years and by some amazing act we are actually friends and up until recently I thoughts quite close ones. The two eldest kids don't spend so much time together now, due to their age and the whole boy girl thing I guess. Though after an hour or two the ice has melted and you can see them enjoying each other's company immensely. The youngest children (of which there are four, two mine, two hers) get along like houses on fire. They are as thick as thieves and any other bonding euphemism that you want to use.
Only in the last few months I have done wrong by Franny. Well apparently more wrong than she can handle. Or prepared to put up with or something or other.
I know I am far from perfect. I run late, never know what I am doing, am almost impossible to make plans with unless it is the last minute and I have a tendency to ramble on and on and on.
Franny has a heart of gold. Franny never speaks ill of any one and has not mean bone in her body. Franny who is never late and always does everything she says she will.
It all started at the end of the school holidays. Lovely returned from her time with her other family and all I wanted to do was escape out bush and pretend that no one else existed. Which is exactly what we did and I loved every minute of it. In fact I think we all did. 

Only Franny thought it would have been nice if I asked her to come. And she is probably right it would have been nice for her. Possibly not so much for me though as it would have been an extra five people I would have had to consider at one point or another and that was the last thing I wanted. 

I could hear the hurt in her voice when she rang as we were already in our way. I felt terribly selfish and incredibly awful but I still couldn't bring myself to invite her along. 

Since then times have been more than strained. Particularly after the debacle at the local show that saw me decide to go with someone else and bumping into Franny at every stand we stopped at for the first hour. It all pretty much revolves around me being a terrible planner and not knowing what I am doing till beyond the last minute.
For the first month after the excluding camping trip I made an effort to call Franny once a week. Given that aside from Mr Awesome she is one of the few people I have known for longer than five minutes, the thought of her being cross or upset with me made me feel terrible. Knowing that I had hurt her as much as I did, whether I meant to or not greatly trouble me. Not knowing how to make amends only made me feel worse.
So I played on as if nothing happened. I mean she never really told me how hurt she was, I just assumed from the tone in her voice during our conversation and began the internal beating from there.
Last week Zany asked if I still spoke to Franny and would we please be able to see them again soon. I bumbled her off without any real answer. The thought of it all made my stomach turn.
Then in the week Franny called. She was in the neighbourhood but I didn't invite her in. Mr A was home from work, still coming to terms with his grandmother's passing. I was already feeling quite drained from whatever the day had so far handed me. I simply couldn't handle even the thought of a face to face conversation. Let alone one with someone I still expected to be reeling in pain from my actions (not that I am prone to over exaggeration or anything).
She then asked if maybe I might have time to catch up on the weekend. Under pressure I couldn't answer. I didn't want to commit and then not be able to make. At that stage there were no plans for the funeral or memorial or whatever. Aside from that I can rarely agree to make plans for the weekend on Tuesday.
Naturally my inability to answer caused angst for Franny and she was promptly reminded why it had been so long since we have seen each other.
As my stomach flipped and my heart pounded so hard I thought it was going to break through my chest, I called Franny and asked if it would be alright to visit on Saturday. The surprise in her voice once again confirmed the pain I had previously inflicted. My inability to commit to a time and I could feel her anger begin to simmer.
The better part of the morning was then spent in tears as I came to terms with the fact she has every right to be angry with me. Accepting that you have wronged someone, even with the best of selfish intentions for your own well being, is no Christmas party.

It is a feeling I have gotten quite accustomed to of late. You see I have this other friend who has a best friend who asked me to suggest some names of beauty salons for a facial massage voucher for our mutual friend's birthday. Do you think I could manage it?

I could come up with a whole range of pathetic excuses but at the end of the day I am sure the real reason lays behind my forgetfulness.

How do you rate yourself as a friend?


  1. I think I can feel where your friend is coming from but maybe if you spoke to her more it would help to bridge the gap.
    Maybe explain about Mr A's grandmother and why you couldn't invite her in that particular day. Can she do spur of the moment things ? Do you find that you sometimes have an hour free ? Could you phone and her and invite her to coffee ?
    Maybe you just need to make a date and then find a way to make sure you keep that date. I always think that if someone stands me up I was obviously not that important to start with but maybe that isn't the case at all.
    I don't think you should feel guilty about not inviting her camping with you - that is very different to 'come over for a cup of coffee or pizza night' !
    Having said all of the above, I'm probably not the best person to be giving advice / asking the questions because I don't have many friends - mainly because of my lack of social skills that sees me running for the hills at the thought of meeting people (most of the time !!)
    I hope you can resolve this because good friends are hard to come by but realise that they do take work to keep.
    Have the best week you can !

  2. Hugs Rhi, I really know how you feel. I have a close friend, basically my BFF for the last 20 years and the last few times she's tried to organise things to catch up I've kind of blown her off. I blew her off again yesterday and have felt sick since. I'll probably have to give her call and explain that I've had a few anxiety issues and that is the main reason. But I still feel sick about making the call. Sigh.

    I'm also hopelessly disorganised and forgetful. Being like that and having 3 kids isn't easy. I don't always remember important things regarding my kids, so you're probably not that bad.

    Another thing is that because I'm so disorganised and find socialising hard, I really can't do the whole inviting people over and entertaining, bbq's dinner parties etc and consequently I've lost a few friends because of that but I came to understand myself better and accept it when I found I have Asperger's a few years ago.

    Anyway, I really don't want to lose my BFF so I will be making that tricky call. Hope it all works out for you and don't torture yourself, you're not the only one. Sorry for writing an essay here!xo

  3. It can be so hard to juggle friends with everything else in your life too. I know I am not the best friend I could be - I have a number of good friends but I've never really had a best friend - and usually I am too busy with my life to be a very proactive or supportive friend to others. I hope you can work things out with your friend - hopefully you can both cut yourselves a little slack and recognise the longevity of your friendship rather than concentrating on the little niggles...

  4. Hey there, female friendship bonds can be tricky things because we are so willing to trust and believe and confide in each other. Your friend Franny sounds a sensitive soul and one that may be easily slighted by others. This isn't a bad thing.

    The difficulty with all relationships is that from time to time, you need to have uncomfortable conversations. If you want to have lasting friendships, you just have to have honest conversation. You will feel so much better for having cleared the air.

    Maintaining friendships into adult years is tough, especially as family, work etc get in the way. We're not teenagers anymore! Some friendships will go their separate ways. Don't worry, you're not a terrible person, not by any means! But if you want to keep Franny in your life, talk to her. Before it's too late and she leaves your life out of frustration, and you'll always regret that.

  5. I'm not the perfect friend. I run late, you have to remind me several times of things. I forget to return calls and I'm comfortable on my own. But I don't worry. We are all just on our own train journey called life, sometimes I'm on a different train to the rest.