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.