Do neighbours count as friends?
I struggle to maintain friendships.
I *think* I want friends, sometimes I really crave having a friend that I can tell everything to and hang out with, but I’m just not good at it.
It’s not a problem. I’m not bothered anymore.
I’m old enough and self-aware enough to know exactly where it all goes wrong. The bit that’s tricky these days is managing friendships to make them sustainable for me.
I can make friends easy enough.
I’m not particularly outgoing but I can hold a decent conversation and give off the fun, smily friendship vibes. The problem is that to be friends with me you need to be a laid back person, independent with your own life, and have no expectations of how you think I should behave, otherwise you will accuse me of letting you down.
I’m the kind of friend who is 100% reliable in a crisis, I’ll drop everything for you and be there, but I won’t remember your birthday. And if you invite me over next week, when I say, ‘maybe’, it means a flat no. So don’t get your hopes up. And I won’t call, and often won’t pick up if you call me.
I can’t be friends with people who are needy because it’s too much, it’s too exhausting. I’ve had some wonderful friends historically. People who I really deeply care about, people I’ve had so much fun with. But it always ends the same.
They want more from me than I can give.
It’s like they don’t quite get it.
I might look like I’m winning at life — successful businesses, gorgeous kids, strong marriage, but friends don’t seem to listen when I say, ‘No, really I am an absolute mess. I have major daily anxiety, battle depression, am dealing with grief and trauma, am utterly exhausted with the daily grind of holding it all together. I know you’re mad that I didn’t make the effort to call you but it’s been taking every ounce of strength to get up in the mornings and feed my kids.’ All they seem to hear is, ‘I don’t care about our friendship enough to call you.’
Sometimes I see old friends on social media and feel sad that they needed it be to all or nothing. But mostly I’m relieved when these friends come and go…