Friendships come and go and there are few that will truly stand the test of time. I’ve listed some of the reasons you shouldn’t be my friend here but it needs to be said that what you see on the outside isn’t always what’s going on inside.
To those who think I’m a crap friend, you may be right. There are reasons for the way I am. The friendships that withstood the test of time are with the people who ‘get it’, but it seems one or two need a little more explanation. Here it is:
I don’t reply to your texts – sometimes ever
Texts, messages, Whatsapp – they’re all the same. I am aware that this is supposed to be the age of instant communication but really, it’s not. Sometimes I see messages are waiting for me and it takes hours to get around to even picking them up. Once you see that I’ve read them please don’t think it’s a guarantee that I’ll reply any time soon because it’s likely I won’t. Sometimes it’ll take days. And sometimes I won’t reply at all because I either think I already have and have forgotten that I actually haven’t or I’ve planned to do it later and later never seemed to have arrived, by which time you’ve messaged me about something else already and the conversation has moved on. My life is busy and I don’t always get there on time. It’s not you, it’s me.
Or your calls
The truth is I hardly ever answer my phone at all. I’ll only do it if it’s one of my kids or my parents and I think it’s an emergency. If anyone else’s name or number flashes up, chances are I won’t answer. It’s nothing personal. I just hate phones.
I’ll ruin your diet…
…because I will feed you. And it’ll be delicious food most of the time. And filling. But it won’t be part of your diet.
I won’t pander
I won’t tend to ‘do’ emotions unless the circumstances are exceptional. If you want to moan, groan and offload every part of your life to me, there will come a time when I probably won’t respond with pandering, not that I’d have pandered much to begin with. I’m a practical helper – not a panderer. If you come to me with a problem I’ll try to help you work out a practical solution. I’ll suggest places to go for help or advice, or I’ll even Google something and direct you to it. I’ll pick up shopping if you need it or I’ll make an extra meal for you. But if you want constant attention and reassurance from me, forget it. If you’re of an exceptionally needy character in need of ongoing ego-soothing the chances are we’ll probably grow apart. Put it this way, I have 13 children – 11 of whom are at home and still needing my attention. I’m constantly worrying about the oldest two and trying to negotiate the fine line between still being there for them and not bothering them more than I ought to because they are adults now and need to fly alone. But I’m still their mum and I still worry about whether they are eating well and whether the company they are keeping is good for them and if they can pay their rent okay. There are 15 of us in this family alone needing attention, ten of whom are under 12. You’re a grown person that I didn’t go through the pain of birthing and who has their own support network – something I don’t have. My attention quota is limited when the demands are often limitless and the returns are non-existent and sometimes I’m simply spent. Please show some consideration and don’t get annoyed with me (and gossip about how crap I am), if I can’t give you the attention you crave.
I won’t come to your party
I prefer small-scale dinners or coffee-and-cake meet-ups with a select few rather than a party with a busload. I don’t like parties, I don’t like being in a room filled with people I don’t know. It’s this reason I’m a pretty crap blogger as well as a pretty crap friend. It seems you’re only ever an accepted blogger if you attend the blogfests and take part in blogrings – most of which are comparative of school playground cliques and leave me uncomfortable. Socialising is not good for introverts as it appears the only acceptable socialising one can do is on a full-scale, in-yer-face type of environment that I just don’t do. But let’s meet for coffee instead one day, okay?
I will cancel on you
Because I never know what will be going on at any given time. I can’t make arrangements with you too far ahead of time and guarantee that they’ll still go ahead because things change and in this house, there is always something going on and it’s quite likely a kid comes down with some kind of illness at the last minute. Sometimes, my plans have to change because of this. I’m sorry.
I say ‘no’ to you
You might ask to meet up or want me to do something for you but I will say no. Crap friend, right? Well, let me explain. If I am going shopping and you ask me to pick up some groceries for you, I’ll happily do it. I’m there anyway. But sometimes you might ask me to meet with you or do something and I just can’t and here is why: there are 13 of us in this house. That is 13 people to cook for, clean after and do laundry for. That’s on top of teaching them ourselves, working to earn our living and getting myself through my third year of my degree. Our grocery shopping takes an average of two hours and three trolley-loads. It then takes at least one hour to unpack it all and put it away. I cannot have a conversation with anyone without someone else interrupting. Our days are packed, I mean packed, from the minute we get up to the moment we go to sleep. We have to schedule in shopping days in advance. We have to plan days out ahead of time in order to give ourselves a good couple of hours to get ready before we can actually leave. Sometimes I can’t think for the noise and sometimes my head feels it is about to explode. Sometimes I feel I’m on a treadmill going backwards and going nowhere fast. Sometimes the last thing I need is another commitment. It’s nothing personal. I need to say no sometimes because I just can’t do any more. Sometimes ‘yes’ is the last thing I need, even when you need it from me. I need to prioritise. That priority will always be my family and, if there is anything left on those horrendously tough days, it sometimes needs to be me. I’m sorry.
I don’t coo over photos of your kids having tantrums
Or of pictures of them when they are ill. Do you know how many tantrums I see in a day or sick kids I have to deal with over the course of the year? No, it’s not nice when they are ill and I hope they feel better soon. It’s a pain when they are throwing a fit but why, oh why, do you think you need to send me a photo of it? The chances are that a minimum of three of my kids are kicking off right this second. I’ve had to referee something twelve times during writing this thing so far and I’ve asked the same kid to stop doing something else – the same thing – four times and they’re still doing it. This will continue with one child or another (or several at once) until bedtime, at which time I’m desperately trying to do the ‘aren’t they so cute when they’re asleep’ good-mother-thing rather than the ‘thank God they’re finally in bed’ not-so-good-mother thing. They’re driving me bonkers, my patience is wearing thin and I’m at breaking point and you think I’m suddenly going to say ‘how cute’ when you send me a photo of yours doing it? Seriously?
I’ll be honest with you
I’m a sucker for playing devil’s advocate and trying to bring forward ifs and buts of a situation. This means I might not always support you if I don’t think you’re right about something (although I’m pretty damn loyal in your defence if you are). If you want the truth about something, I’m the one. If you just want to be told you’re right, perhaps I’m not.
I won’t confide in you
And this potentially poses two problems: 1) you think I don’t trust you because I won’t tell you what’s going on in my life and, 2) you think I want to hear more about every detail of your life because mine is obviously so great.
With regards to the former, the truth is that I don’t tell many people anything at all. I prefer to work through things myself and, for the very few times I really can’t, I have a teeny-tiny number of people to go to. It’s nothing personal if you aren’t one of the teeny-tiny few. But remember, just because I don’t tell you about the nitty gritty in my life, it doesn’t mean that there isn’t any and sometimes I’m dealing with my own stuff. I don’t need to publicise it. Just be aware that everyone you meet is dealing with something that isn’t necessarily focused on you.
You won’t hear from me in ages
I have a small handful of friends that I have known since my schooldays. We rarely speak or message – even with the convenience of Facebook and social media – but when we do it’s like picking up the same conversation we left behind. We’re still close, we are still there for each other but we’re just busy. There have been some friendships that didn’t manage to survive life getting in the way and others that didn’t deserve to – those who gossip or lie are shown the door pretty swiftly. But to my friends who have put up with my practicality, my lack of pandering, my over-feeding tendencies, my aloofness, my straight-forwardness, my introversy and my lack of communication, thank you. I’ll see you sometime next spring, maybe.
Coming soon: “152 Reasons Why I’m a Crap Wife” followed by “57-Billion-Gajillion Reasons Why I’m a Crap Mother”.