11 Reasons Why I’m a Crap Friend

Teamwork

 

 Teamwork

 

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”.

62 thoughts on “11 Reasons Why I’m a Crap Friend

  1. I’m reading this thinking yep, sounds completely justified to me, absolutely no apologies needed, until… ‘I will feed you, and it will be delicious’. I’m sorry, how can this sentence EVER come under the heading ‘Why I’m a Crap Friend’? This is an essential criteria for me; I’ve ditched friends over the years for their lack of dietary compatability :) Fancy a coffee sometime?

    1. I’m sorry you feel that way, Kali. I hoped it would make people realise how difficult it to juggle limited time and unlimited demands as I realise people may not always realise how much there is for us to contend with on a day-to-day basis as it is. If you’d like to share how you manage with your large family (how many children do you have?), the business you run (what do you do), working, home educating eight of the kids and studying for your degree (which one are you doing? How is it going?), along with the usual demands of running a home and still not be selfish to maybe expect someone to perhaps consider the kind of friend they are to you instead of what you can’t do for them with all that’s going on, I would be more than happy to have you guest post!

    2. My point is not that you’re not busy and not that you don’t have a lot going on, or even a good reason to be out of touch, but much like your comment above, the blog post seemed written with a selfish tone and words, almost with an entitlement and a sense of owning the monopoly on “busy”.

      I too don’t get to text/call/visit as much as I’d like, so I understand, but it’s so important to try for the people who try for us. I wasn’t trying to be mean or offend, so I apologize.

      I don’t have many super close friends for some of the reasons you mentioned, and I’m not perfect but I try every other week or so to send an individual text or quick phone call/message (some times it helps if you know they’ll be working and you can leave a message) just to let my friends know I love them and I am thinking of them, no questions, that way it doesn’t have to be a super long convo you don’t have time for, but just a I’m thinking of you text/message is nice for them to hear.

    3. I don’t own the monopoly on ‘busy’ but I certainly do have more than people with no children/one/two children have to deal with on a daily basis, and I do remember how it was with one/two children and it’s nothing like it is now, so incomparable. That’s without working, the business, home ed, studying and doing talks. I have asked how you cope with it all because I’d love some tips on feeling less overwhelmed with everything that’s going on. I never said I don’t keep in touch. I do – just like you do. I was explaining why sometimes a message might sit for hours or sometimes days before I get to it so the ones that keep following up with ‘did you get my message?’, ‘Did you get my message yet?’, ‘DID YOU GET MY MESSAGE?’ for something that really isn’t pressing/is just an anecdote/a funny pic etc, understand why sometimes I don’t get their message or I don’t feel it’s important enough to reply to *right this second*. Yes, I’m going to be selfish sometimes because I need to. There is only so much time and so much of me to go around and my family and own commitments are going to come way before someone else who might make continuous demands on them without realising how much different things are here. The truth is that some people simply don’t try for us because they’re too wrapped up in themeselves, and others just don’t realise how ‘normal life’ is for us and compare it to their own, much quieter and far less busy lives. That was my point.

    4. I totally understand what you are saying and again I wasn’t try to be unkind. My only point was we have to remember in life it’s all relative. What is busy or overwhelming to some is normal to others and vice versa. I wasn’t saying you don’t keep in touch or even that we don’t all have the right to be selfish sometimes. You did make some great points, I was only trying to say if the point is truly to get others to understand us, and I say us (people with large families) I feel like it is best done with words that are kind, considerate the understanding and I personally felt this one specific post, while having great points was written kind of like an I don’t care attitude, which could make some people miss the point. It may have come across that you think because of the number of kids you have your life/days/schedule is more important than others, which I know is not how you feel. Honestly I meant all with love and hope it was taken that way. Am I making sense at all?

    5. Wow! You need to lighten up! Maybe slow down on the ‘blogging’ as you sound rushed off your feet already??

      Ok so you CHOSE to have a super large family, run a business & still find time to write blogs to tell everyone on FB about it, that’s great!
      But to be rude and get on your high horse and attack people who question or don’t agree with your approach to ‘having and engaging with friends’ is very OTT and I am not in the slightest bit surprised you see yourself as a ‘bad friend’
      Also 2hrs to grocery shop??? Really?

    6. I see what you’re saying. The way I write is with a dry humour which I understand is lost on many. You can’t please everyone all the time so all I do is write in my own voice and my own way. If anyone doesn’t like what is on here they really don’t have to read.

    7. Gotcha! I didn’t know it was humor, but glad to know. I just wanted you to know, because you are able to reach so many and honestly you’ve helped other people see large families in a better light :)

    8. Thanks, Kali. I appreciate what you have put forward. We have a fair few readers (six, I think, at the last count) and if everyone worried too much about how anyone would interpret every word we wrote, nothing at all would get written, anywhere. And sometimes there is going to be discomfort or disagreement about what or how something is written. That’s life in a world with so many different people!

    9. Well if I may, firstly Nikki, from what little I know, Tanyas business is online and from home, her income is “blogging” and also when she writes an article just trying to explain how there is no malice ever intended in not being accessable or available to others, in an attempt for people to understand and not feel upset if they are not immediately contacted back or Tanya has not made time in her incredibly hectic schedule to make time to see them. Then she is called selfish and so very politely defended herself. I think the word ‘selfish’ is probably the most innapropriate word you could ever use on a woman like her. Her ENTIRE day consists of prioritising her family. Teaching them, feeding them, spending all her spare time with them in whatever capacity they need her. Her article was very polite and both your comments are very rude in my opinion. A selfLESS person spends less time with friends and all their time taking care of their family. I have one child and almost all these things are applicable to me. Just because I have one child not 13, I personally am no more likely to go for lunch and leave my child than Tanya because that is my choice and way as a mum. That’s not being judgemental of others, that’s just how I choose to prioritse my day. Being accessable to everyone is impossible. Keep up the hard work Tanya, your a great role model :) xxp.s sorry about the one giant paragraph, everytime i press enter it posts :/ ? lol

    10. For the record Abbey Magee I never called her selfish, I said the article was written with a selfish tone and didn’t want people to get the wrong idea because I realize she is not a selfish person.

  2. i completely agree especially the il be honest part. iv been told by friends before if we want the truth we ask u, if we want somthing sugarcoating we go elsewhere lol

    also the feeding everyone thing, if im baking everyone who comes near me regardless of their diet lol. ur amaretti biscuits came to the school with me for my parent friends lol

    1. Those amaretti biscuits are to die for aren’t they? And what an easy recipe too. Too good not to share. Is it bad to be honest though? I don’t think so. It’s not the same as being mean. It’s something that can be done tactfully and diplomatically so why is that so bad? I don’t think it is.

    2. lol i dont think its bad, i was explaining this to our local bubbleman on my sons birthday, he went home with pizza, cupcakes, birthday cake because he was there with us i just had to feed him lol the more kids iv had the more iv found i want to feed everyone. Plus fat people are harder to kidnap so really im providing a safety service :p

  3. I was nodding my head all the way through this. People think that you have to be shy to be an introvert. I’m not shy of people, I just have a select few that I chose to spend time with.
    I love my big family and wouldn’t change anything, but I think people underestimate the work that goes into keeping a large family running.

  4. I love this post, I could’ve written every single point myself !

    People assume that because your not shy you can’t be an introvert. I am not shy but I’m defiantly an introvert. I don’t answer the phone or the door if I’m not expecting anyone.

    People really do underestimate the amount of work it takes to keep the wheels oiled in a large family.

  5. Wow wow thanks for writing this. I don’t often get on Facebook (I’m sure you understand why) and if I do it’s just to have a quick read. I rarely post. I’m worse with texts and phones. I used to be an extrovert now I’m an introvert as just prefer a few close friends and being with my gorgeous family.

  6. What a miserable moaner this person is! I wouldn’t want to be their Freind anyway. I’ve only got 6 kids here so maybe I can’t possibly understand the struggle?
    Thankfully I can juggle kids & friendships without it being such a chore

    1. Thanks for the English lesson haha.
      It was obviously a typo, as I’ve quite clearly spelt the rest of my comment correctly, including the word FRIENDships but if that’s all you picked out from my comment then enough said…….

    2. wow you homeschool all your children, never have babysitters and maintain many friendships?? good job nikki! plus still find the time to moan on blogs you hate about the people being nothing but blogging moaners.. phew tough job juggling all that.

    3. No I do not homeschool my kids, hell no! I actually want them to learn and make friends and survive in the world as independent adults without relying on me. I also have a toddler so how the hell could i teach teenagers as well as juniors different work effectively and run a home? Never gonna happen which answers your question Abbey (who I presume you’re a friend) I have time to reply to people’s blogs around work, family and friends.
      What does this person do for work around home schooling and running a home, I’m intrigued?? Please don’t tell me it’s making money from ‘blogging’ about being a busy mum of the masses???

      Oh and I never once said I ‘hated’ this blog I only commented stating that this person sounds like a right moaner and needs to calm down on things if she’s feeling so bad about being a ‘bad friend’ Something has to give!

    4. Hi Nikki, I can answer some of your questions and also address some of your concerns regarding home educators as it seems you might be a little misinformed. My husband and I run a copywriting business from home. I am also a freelance writer and have written for other websites, magazines, newspapers etc globally. We also make money through blogging including advertising etc, not just through this blog but several others with which we have no personal interest and are purely business. I also do motivational talks. With regards to home educating, our three oldest are working (insurance company), at university and the third completed her GCSEs a year early and got straight on with her A-levels at the age of 15. We travel extensively with the family as that is part of our work and our children’s educations too so usefully combined. We normally spend a couple of months away at a time so we can really absorb an area and this opens up a lot of learning opportunities where our children can learn about the world whilst actually being a part of it rather than stuck in a classroom. Only in the last few months they have had the opportunity to visit a real organic farm in Italy, were invited behind the scenes of a gastronomic food company where they were taken around the factory and given a full tour of how everything is made and marketed (again, in Italy), they learnt how grappa is made in a distillery, and had the chance to stay in and tour around a real working water mill that produces electricity in Germany. They learnt about Romans at the Colosseum itself, studied architecture and history at the Leaning Tower of Pisa and learnt about different animals at a park in Germany. They visited lakes all over Europe and in a few weeks our 16yo is off to Iceland to see the Northern Lights, the geysers and to go whale watching. I therefore have no concerns about home educating them but understand how you might. I hope that addresses some of the points you’ve made. All the best.

    5. No not a friend nikki just somebody who really enjoys the page and the info tania shares. She’s not ‘moaning’ about ‘feeling bad’ she’s just clearing things up for people to spare them ‘feeling bad’. I think I speak for the whole home education community when I say it’s probably a very good thing that you choose to have somebody else educate your children for you given your hideous narrowminded opinions and rudeness.

  7. It will be the people that don’t get this that don’t have as many children. I have 10 (18-1 year who are all at home) and I am pretty busy. I’m single, Ive just started doing a degree, I home ed 3 of my girls (was all of them until September) and life in general takes a lot of effort. To be honest I’m surprised you found time to write it!!

    1. It was in the planning since summer! It took four hours to finally write it. I made a cottage pie midway, had a Shrodinger’s cat discussion, a Minecraft discussion, killed two dozy wasps and marked several pages of work in between putting sentences down. What degree have you begun? How are you finding it? I will have one more year left if I pass this one. If I don’t get this assignment in I won’t even get that far! Hat’s off to you, Katy – I’m sure you’re doing great!

    2. I’m doing a degree in childhood studies so I can be a teacher or social worker in 3 years. It’s not too bad, but as I say I’ve only just started!! I’ve left my job to do the course as it was too much being single/working and studying.

    3. That is completely understandable – it’s an awful lot to juggle and something that takes dedication too. think I definitely underestimated the commitment and time it would take to do but am so glad I made the decision to do it. Good luck with it all!

  8. I only have three children and can relate to this! I totally admire those with much larger families – my busy must pale into insignificance compared to your work load. Great piece! Thank you x

  9. In reality I have tonnes of spare time lol however i understand lots of this and since having my daughter I have definately become more introvert!! I only have a handful of close friends, I hate it when the door goes and I’m not expecting anyone and often forget to message people (just bad memory lol) LOVE your honesty!!lol love the way you do things and selfless life youve chose, very refreshing in a world of selfish people. you keep doing what your doing-if your doing what everybody else is doing..your doing something wrong ;)

    1. Thanks, Abbey. Yes, I don’t like people turning up unannounced either. I like to have time to prepare – normally food – before visitors arrive! Not only that but I need to ensure certain things need to be done each day and an unscheduled visit can throw even simple things right off! Often people don’t realise that.

  10. This is a fab blog! Anyone with a big family will relate to most points. I for one am crap at keeping in touch and probably way too honest and tbh if I’m in need of a reality check I’d rather someone tell me honestly. Life isn’t like the movies especially once you have kids it doesn’t make you a crap friend it means we are human and right now our family is our main priority:)

  11. reading this post made me smile :) kept thinking yep I do that, that too, yep that’s me… So I must be a crap friend too :) Most of the time if I don’t get back to someone it is because I genuinely forget but if I am honest love spending time with my family rather than going out.

  12. Good post! This sounds like me too! (9 kids all at home.) I don’t even bother trying to make friends any more. I am polite to people, I help out when I can and I will go out of my way to help someone genuinely in trouble, but I don’t go out of my way to make friends because I know I don’t have enough quality time to put into a real friendship – my kids, the housework and a long term sick 15 year old with endless hospital appointments take up all my time and if I do get any “spare” time then I’m usually too shattered to go out anywhere or do anything. I know I’m not going to be a good friend so I don’t waste people’s time. Maybe one day when the kids are grown up, but for now my family is all I need.

  13. This also sounds very similar to me in many ways (hence finding this post a month on; I am not able to read my handful of favourite blogs as regularly as I would like.) I find that people, family included, expect everyone to think and act/react in exactly the same way they would… anything that differs is “off” or “not right” or offensive to them. I try my best to be accepting as to where they are coming from but this can be tougher to do somedays than others! I posted something not quite similar, but it included a quote that sums up how I try to approach consequent clashes of nature: http://oaksgrow.blogspot.co.uk/2015/05/remarkably-different.html All the best to you: being a good person is better for the world, surely, than being a “good friend” according to a specific individual’s particular criteria? x

    1. I think you’re right. Being a good person is better than being a good friend according to an individual’s criteria. Some people are ‘needier’ than others and these tended to be the friendships that didn’t last, because what I could give to them, given all I had to focus on myself, wasn’t as much as they needed according to their point of view.

      1. I have the same trouble! I truly would like to save everyone’s ills but not being Superman I can only do as much as I can without causing illness in myself. It can feel sometimes like there is nothing left to give… too many chunks have already been chipped off! Sometimes people can forget that we are all fallible beings when they feel entitled to your time and attention on a particular occasion. I realise it was a while ago you posted this, so thank you very much for the reply and I hope the issues it the post dealt with have settled down in the meantime x

Leave a Reply