In my adult life I am finding that I’m struggling with how to juggle friendships more and more. I mean, when you’re younger things are fairly easy: who you spend most of your time with is usually your best friend. Following by those rules, I suppose a few months ago my brother would have qualified as my best friend. He is my roommate, we are forced to coordinate schedules and plans and he was the first person I debriefed with when I came home from work. But now, through no easy transition, the person who knows most about my daily thoughts, opinions and emotions as well as gets most of my time is JW. Do I consider him my best friend? Definitely! But where does that leave everyone else?
Letting Go of Luxuries
Here I am again, saying what no one else will ever admit or say: friends? Ain’t nobody got time for that! Of course I am only joking. I just believe that it’s not only nice but very necessary to have low maintenance friends. For whatever reason, I seem to be a magnet for the, “You didn’t respond to my text,” or “We haven’t hung out in a week,” type. Quality time = yay! but its frustrating to be categorized as a bad friend because I just simply can’t put in alot of facetime. The legitimate excuse is that I’m a single mother with a full time job, writing side hustle and relationship to maintain. Perhaps the illegitimate excuse is that more often than not in the free time I do get all to myself I just don’t want to be bothered with trivial things like putting on clothes let alone hanging out.
In my younger days I was that flaky asshole that disappeared from the face of the Earth for long periods at a time, then returned to the friend circle when I felt I had the energy to properly engage. Now I just tell people what it is straight up and make no excuses. I love you but I simply cannot give 100% at this time. It is not in my budget for dinners and movies and catching up and I am in the process of finding a larger place to live but because of space issues I don’t even feel comfortable having company at my apartment. In those rare moments when the stars do align and I find myself having sufficient funds, the energy to socialize and the free time, I do hit my friends up for a hangout and am immediately given shit for only contacting them for quality time on my schedule. Sighhhhhh, this is so confusing! Isn’t that what I’m supposed to do! I don’t know how to win and I’m losing friends left and right because of it.
I know that society as a whole is made up of a bunch of hardcore gangstas that continue to do remarkably well in highly intense emotional situations. I am truly impressed by all the Internet memes I see carrying a tough and calloused message about a past relationship or boasting of cutting off people you don’t fuck with. Kudos to all of you but I have to say for me personally, the past 18 months of watching my friends list dwindle down to the low single digits has been hurtful. My thirties have already been tough.
I’m smart enough to have learned that not everyone is your friend. The people who make you laugh and loan you $5 for lunch and the co-workers that you keekeekee with in the break room can be the same people that would refuse to spit on you if you were on fire. What I wasn’t smart enough to know or realize until recently is that sometimes you grow out of friendships or have to give it up because of unforeseen circumstances.
Not long ago, I had to make a painful decision to let go of a friend that was basically a sister to me. To the outside world looking in I am a complete douchebag for doing so but it was a decision I had to make for my psychological well being. I made a bad decision to be messy and became romantically involved with her close relative– that was a mistake on me. One rambunctious child and a whole world of heartbreak later I realized that a major reason I couldn’t break away from the depression the situation put me through is because I was too close to her (and his family) and I was struggling with the blurry lines and fuzzy boundaries. It is already a difficult task to heal or forgive someone that has broken you but I was making my life more tumultuous by surrounding myself with my ex lover’s biggest fans every single day. I knew too much information about his personal life and it was nearly impossible for me to ignore the position he had put me and my child in by continuing to lie and not taking responsibility for shitty actions. The tension within me began to build.
I eventually reached a breaking point and every time I spent time with this friend I wanted to scream, “HOW IS THIS OK? HOW CAN YOU CONTINUE TO LET YOUR FAMILY DO THIS TO ME AND MY CHILD AND YOU ARE SUPPOSED TO BE MY FRIEND? DOESN’T ANYONE GIVE A FUCK ABOUT ME?!” The painful answer to that is: sure, but only to a certain extent. Blood is always thicker than water for most people so when it came time to battle, draw a line in the sand and to choose sides I was out on a limb by myself. That’s totally fine, but it wasn’t something that I could cope with– I am on the side of my wellbeing and I choose to stand with people I know are rocking with me as well. I made the controversial decision to cut ties with her and the entire family. You can’t always get what you want…
Shout out to all of those people who feel nothing when they have to completely delete someone out of their lives for whatever reason. As for me, I feel the pain of it everyday.
No New Friends
As a whole, I don’t think anyone is really aware of just how much friendships change and grow over the years. Furthermore, I don’t think people understand that this is ok. The days of slumber parties and all night talks are pretty much gone and juggling life goals, dreams, CHILDREN, etc. adds in extra complications. I feel like I spend the majority of my time with friends apologizing for not being a better friend and this may sound terrible but: I don’t want to do it anymore. I narrow my friends list down to those that understand that I love them very much and am willing to bend in times of need but for the most part I can’t be a Gayle to anyone’s Oprah until I achieve a little more balance (and/or the kids grow up and move out of the house!) I don’t know if this is the right way to handle things but I’m not sure of how else to go about it.
I am thankful for the people in my life that understand that I am simply doing the best I can to achieve balance. I pay it forward as much as I can, I’m just too exhausted to do much more