You've got a ... friend?

Here it is - I'm a shit friend. I'm a shit friend in real life, and I'm shit in the virtual one. In my head I try, but when it comes right down to it, I'm lazy and far too scatterbrained to maintain the sense of dedication and loyalty that is required in friendship.

I'm sure one or two of you will emerge from the shadows to refute this to spare my feelings, but don't bother. We both know that you've sent me lengthy and important emails that I've either taken a year to respond to, or never bothered to at all. In some cases, you've been worried about me and enquired to others as to my whereabouts, concerned that one of my morose posts has lead to my self-imposed exile from society. The kicker is - I know about this worry and STILL don't take two minutes to let you know that I have not done a swan dive out my third story window. I am that filled with disregard it seems.

Don't worry, it's not the sheltered, hidden nature of the internet that encourages me. I've always been like this. When I was 19 and was going to college in my hometown, one of my best friends who moved away to a college a few states away came back to visit and never called me. I was offended, until she pointed out that I never really responded to her repeated emails, so she didn't bother contacting me. Fair enough. Eventually I made it up to her by emailing regularly, if only for a little while. Ironically, we find ourselves in this same awkward position these days - we're Facebook friends due to our 20 year history, but she ignores every attempt I make at contact. I get it, I've been fired. I've sacked others before, now it's my turn to be on the other side.

My family always trades tales of my complete inability to maintain any type of correspondence relationship. As you may imagine, moving 4000 miles away has not helped matters. I read the emails they send, then when I fail to respond, tell them months later that life was just so hectic, blah blah blah. Yes, my life is a touch busy, but no more so than anyone else's. I work full-time and have a kid. So do millions of other people. Not only do those people manage to do degrees, take tae kwon do, and cook delicious dinners, but they also email their friends every once in awhile in order to maintain long-standing relationships.

I do feel terrible about it all, though apparently not bad enough to modify my behaviour. I go through bouts of talking a big game, pretending that I'm on top of life enough to make more of an effort, but progress is fleeting. It's upsetting enough doing this via emails and phone calls, but I'm also dreadful at sending post as well. Birthday cards? Maybe, and most likely to be a month or so after your actual birthday. Present for the new baby? Ok. It will be for your toddler and not so much a newborn, but I'll get around to it. Eventually.

I do wonder what all of this says about me. In my head, I'm a good person. The Dude is forever telling me that I shouldn't think of other people so much, or be so generous. How these traits co-exist with my complete inability to not be an inconsiderate shithead, I have no idea. I think perhaps it's because it's all theoretical with me. I do feel horribly/fantastically about your difficult/joyous time. It will probably depress/elate me by association, and I'll tell The Dude how very sad/happy I am for you. The glitch, the immense stumbling block of insurmountable adversity, seems to be my ability to tell you that I feel that way. Even if I manage to get that out of me, there will be no ongoing dialogue, because I'll just leave it at that. The intent to do otherwise will be there, but....

I could go on and on with a lengthy list of those I've wronged in this way. I see your names every single time I look at my mounting unread feeds, and I'm sorry. I do wonder what I do to deserve such loyalty, as my inability to comment on your blogs and reply to your emails is not commensurate to your dedication to me. I apologise the use of "dedication", but other than the even scarier cult-like word of "devotion", I can't think of an appropriate, much more mild word.

So, to all of you, mea culpa. I'm not going to pretend things are going to change, because they won't. Well, when I put it like that I sound like a prize asshole, which is perhaps the whole point. Anyway, I am sorry. I would love to be an attentive, ever-thoughtful friend, but I don't think that is how I'll ever be, regardless of how much I want it.

Lest anyone think this reads like a suicide note, particularly bearing in mind my recent hysterical posts, don't worry. This is something that is always on the tip of my fingers waiting to be unleashed. In actuality, some good news has shined on these shores. Possibly. A bit early to say, but all will be evident in the next couple of weeks either way. Regardless of the outcome, you can then send me your usual fabulously supportive messages, and I will then not respond. That's just my way.


Calliope said...

I can't quit you.

Nic said...

I certainly can't quit when you leave us hanging like that. Bitch. ;)

Brigindo said...

I've always felt I'm the same way so I have no expectations whatsoever

Betty M said...

Oooh I like the sound of good news.

I'm not much cop at correspondence either I have plenty of friends particularly abroad where our friendship survives on one or two emails a year and a visit every 5 years or so. I'm not sure friendships have to be in each others pockets, emails, calls etc every minute to be great friendships myself. Anyhoo people don't get that from me.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for writing this. I am nearly the same. I've always been in awe of bloggers thinking they must not have this problem because they are getting themselves "out there". Guess I shouldn't assume. Good luck with the news. Now, I need to send some emails...it could happen.

Lut C. said...

The relationship blog writer to blog reader isn't necessarily the same as an off-line friendship I suppose.
You have readers because you write posts like this.

My blog posts are a lot like telegrams or post cards. Not much a readership catcher I'm afraid, but that's how it is.

Alexa said...

We've talked about this before--you know I am the same way. I MEAN to be better, I TRY to be better...but instead I just fail and self-flagellate.

I still love you, though am cross at not knowing this "news" you speak of.

nutsinmay said...

Yeah. I think I owe about nine million people emails right now this minute. I caved and left Facebook because of all the people demanding my attention. I couldn't deal with it. I play a solitary, hide-in-the-cave person in real life.

So, you know, I have no idea why I am commenting on your blog. I should show proper solidarity by lurking.

*Dances up and down on spot while awaiting the Big Reveal re: News*

rachel said...

This is an awesome post. I am exactly the same way. I always say that I'm terrible at the day-to-day of friendships but if you need to be bailed out of jail at 4AM three states away or you need a kidney? I'm your girl.

One of the major reasons I love email is because I can respond on my own time. I hate hate hate HATE the phone and the immediacy of having to have a conversation on the phone. I'd rather be with you in person, face-to-face if you want to talk. I get that this isn't always possible, so please summarize your thoughts/issues in an email and I'll get back to you. Eventually.

Does that make me a bad person? Maybe. I'm an extroverted introvert, which seems like a contradiction in terms, but think about it - I like people, I like interacting with people, but unless it's on my terms, I'm uncomfortable.


Anyway. Don't sweat it, Pru. I continue to read the blog because you are an amazingly hilarious and insightful writer. In an online world of "OMG Twilight is my fAvE MoViE EVARRRRRRRRRRRR!!!!!!11!" having your words to read is a gift.

Clover said...

I totally can't relate as I have several friends like you that I see once a year at Girl's Weekend who gush about how great of friends we all are, but then I never hear from them the rest of the year even when I've made it quite clear my life is falling apart around me.
That being said, you are funny as hell and you make me laugh and it is the Internets and not real-life, so I don't think you should stress so much about Internets friends. Real life, maybe, because someday you may need someone to bail you at 3 in the morning.
So I guess this means you won't call when you end up on this side of the Pond? Sniff, sniff.
And you are cruel to leave us hanging.

Kath said...

Dear Pru, boy do I recognize myself in what you write. Wow.

And I would like to hear more about your good news, please.. ?

Molly said...

Yes. And yes.

An I am such a stellar friend that I just finally read this fucking BLOG POST from a MONTH ago.


Flicka said...

I do the same thing which is why I have 35 posts of yours to catch up on. And will again, most likely.

Can I throw a theory out there? It's clear that you care an awful lot about us all to empathise to the degree that you do. We've all felt your love for us at some point, even if you couln't sustain it. And that's the real issue I think; you've made a metric ton of really deep and meaningful relationships through blogging. Sustaining them all through emails/blog reading/commenting/etc. is like a full time job--one you don't have the emotional energy for. It's draining to be that empathic all the time.

Give your mind a rest, Pru. You're doing just fine. Let others' expectations go and believe the Dude. You are a good person.