Ah, 2013 was a rough year for friendships. I could subtitle this “The Year I Was A More Terrible Friend Than Usual.” Looking back there are plenty of things I’m not proud of. I nearly imploded a few friendships of 7+ years…thankfully they have way more grace for me than I deserve, although I know in some ways things will never be the same. I could sit here and justify my behavior although the further away I get from the issue the less capable I am of doing this. I know at the time I felt righteously indignant about the whole thing but you know how time gives you a better perspective and I end up wondering what the heck my problem was. There were a lot of extenuating circumstances but none of them really excuses me for behaving like an ass.
I’m not really good at friendships. Thank God for Glennon Melton at Momastery…when I read this post http://momastery.com/blog/2013/11/26/somebody-help-figure-good-friend-others/ I felt such relief that I was not the only one who is not good at being a friend. So much of what she said resonated with me and my relationships with other women. I get so easily offended, I compare myself, I try and win arguments that don’t exist inside my head, I don’t answer the phone, don’t return the call, don’t text back, look for excuses to be busy. I know that hanging out with friends is valuable and necessary and yet when I make plans I am constantly looking for ways to get out of them but I don’t like to lie and so I end up going and I end up happy and thrilled and thinking “God we need to do this more often!” until the next time I make plans and I think “Oh man I just want to stay home.” I feel like I’m constantly undermining myself with my friendships. I look back at my life and I see a string of friends in my wake…friends who I keep in touch with but I’ve lost that intimacy with. It makes me sad when I take the time to really think about it.
Even if I wasn’t so self-injurious with my friendships, life just sometimes makes it hard to keep up your friendships. I feel like when we first moved to Maryland I was really intentional about getting together with my friends, old and new, for coffee, lunch, drinks, whatever. It was exciting to suddenly be around all these people I’d known for a long time, and not have the constraints of a short visit. It was so easy to do at first. And then…life just started picking up steam. The kids got involved in more activities, making nights and weekends busier. Bill took a new job with lots of travel. And then I worked…over the summer for the first time ever, and picked up another day of work this fall. Combine that with a mentoring program I’m a part of, and suddenly I only have 1 day free during the week, and I typically use that to get stuff done that I need to do, grocery shopping, stuff around the house, etc. I need to do mom things, I need to do wife things, I need to do me things like exercise and suddenly…where’s the time for friend things? And when a day comes with nothing on the calendar a lot of times I just want to stay home and not go anywhere or see anyone but my family. It’s such a tough thing to balance. And next month I’m starting this class which will add more things to my “to do” list…it’s discouraging.
Anyway…looking back on the year it was a tough one for me and friends. Some things are better. Some things…well, they need a lot of work. I totally withdraw when things get hectic and it’s a lot easier to withdraw from your friends than your husband and kids. Friendship can take a beating by life, even if you’re good at it. And I don’t think I’m all that good at it.
I guess that gives me something to work on next year though…