Wednesday, April 11, 2012
No matter what the reason is, the feeling I get from not being there for a friend is a bad feeling. So I've been feeling bad lately. Real bad.
I had a couple different reasons, neither of them good. In the first recent incident, my reason was....well, my reason was that I didn't wanna. I mean, it wasn't a life-or-death thing and I didn't realize for a while how much my friend wanted me to do the thing she wanted me to do. Or maybe I did know but I was in denial. Because, as you know, I didn't wanna. Oh, I did parts of the thing. I even did some of the parts that I didn't wanna do. But I didn't do all the parts, and certainly not the part that she wanted me to do the most and the part that I most emphatically didn't wanna do. See, she didn't wanna do the thing, either, but she did it. And she did it without me. Because I didn't wanna.
The second recent incident involved another friend. She called me, needing me. In the morning. Some of you know how I am in the morning, and if you don't know how I am in the morning, I'll tell you...I'm NOT HAPPY IN THE MORNING. So, she called me, and I was sleeping, and I rolled over, saw who was calling me, thought, "She knows I am NOT HAPPY IN THE MORNING," and I settled back into my sleep. Now, in my defense, I didn't know she REALLY needed me. I listened to her message later, it didn't sound particularly desperate. Or maybe I was in denial. Because she did need me, she needed me right then, and she needed me a lot. And I would have wanted to help her, I even would have wanted to help her early in the morning...if only I'd answered the phone. But, I didn't wanna answer it.
How many more friends have I let down, just out of laziness, or inattentiveness, or denial, or just plain spite? I don't want to think about it, because I know I'll come up with more examples. I've faulted friends for needing help, because they've taken on too much in their lives. I've delegated needs to other women, because they seem less busy than me. I've even justified not helping a friend because it's not my 'gift'.
Let me pause a moment and say this, though, before my friends start testing me by saying they 'need' me. Do you really? Are you sure? Is this just something you don't feel like doing so you figure misery loves company and tell me you need my help? Is it something you have to do at all? Or is it that you don't think I do anything so I should come help you do all the stuff you want to get done? Because that's not needing, that's using. And yes, sometimes I can be used. Sometimes I like to be used. Sometime I will want to use you, too. Because we are friends, and being there for one another sometimes means we can use each other and we can have fun doing it, too. But don't get mad if you want to use me and I say no. Because sometimes I don't wanna. But sometimes I do.
Anyway, both my friends forgave me. The first one didn't say it straight out, but she always does forgive me when I let her down, and this wasn't the first time, so I can't imagine it would be any different.
The second told me she forgives me, and she was able to find friends who actually did answer their phones, probably in chipper voices, and then went on to help her in their cheery way, because that's just how those annoyingly chipper, happy, helpful morning women are.
But even though both things did end up ok, I realized how important my friends are to me, and how not being there for them is a pretty rotten example to them of how much they mean to me. So, I'll resolve to do better.
Because the only worse feeling than letting down a friend who needs you is the feeling you get when a friend lets you down.
Posted by Ruth Ronk at 3:36 PM