Deep down this isn’t exactly breaking news but a couple of weeks ago the fact I’m not the greatest friend in the world was hammered home in a very dramatic fashion. I can have no complaints about it but it is quite something when you sit there, look at yourself and realise you just aren’t that great. Always a painful moment that.
It starts like many tales do in the days of yore, oh no wait, university. At university I hung out with several people on my course for the majority of my time there. Since uni, we’ve met up a few times but as I’ve gotten older, I’ve become less sociable. Considering I didn’t exactly start off as the life and soul of any party that is saying something. It is not that I’ve become even more curmudgeonly as the years have gone on, it is more that I’ve found it harder to fit in and as I continue to do so, the less I’ve tried bothering.I wouldn’t go as far as calling myself a loner but if people were to call me that, I couldn’t put up the fiercest of defences to that type of comment.
Another aspect is at some point you fear that a person you see as a friend but haven’t spoken to nor seen in a long while won’t want to know of your existence any more. I suspect it is something we all deal with from time to time, you drift apart from someone due to various circumstances and then instead of just picking up the phone, dropping them a line on social media or whatever, you just wonder if they even want to hear from you. It is something I know I’ve faced on numerous occasions over the years. So of course even though at times you think of someone and wonder how they are getting on, you don’t reach out and you just carry on your own little life.
This leads us to when it really hit home. One of my friends from university got married a couple of weeks back. Good for him, nice guy who had long been searching for the right person. Clearly they’ve found them so good times. The fact I wasn’t invited to the wedding is no biggie, I’m very rarely invited to such things, I hate not looking like a bum and being happy along with comfortable in such social scenarios isn’t exactly my forte. What hit home was that I didn’t know about it. It wasn’t just that I missed all the talk on social media et al about it, I’d been soft blocked so I was purposely kept out of the loop.
In this social media age, you can still feel somewhat connected to those who you were once close to. A comment on a status here, a like there and you are still even though very tenuously, linked and up to date on their lives. It also leads to the awful situation of social media etiquette. If you decide someone you are connected to on social media isn’t someone you care about in life but still might have interactions with in the future, what do you do? Often the answer is soft block and just remove them from sight (and remove yourself from their sight) and should the need to interact with them again, take off the soft block like nothing ever happened.
The thing is this isn’t an isolated incident. Not often but every so often someone reaches out with me for a chat but I’m busy doing something else, so I think, ‘I’ll reply to them later’ but then a day goes by, two, three, a week and then suddenly it is too late to really respond without coming off like a complete douchebag. So you leave it. For example anyone who knows me well knows I hate typing on anything but a computer keyboard, so I don’t like phones/iPads for that type of thing. So if someone messages me and I’m not by my PC, it is unlikely I’ll reply there and then.
I can’t blame friends for basically giving up on me. I truly can’t. I rarely leave the flat for social engagements and even when there is something I have interest in doing, often my body lets me down. As the years have ticked on the issues with my legs and fatigue issues have slowly worsened. They aren’t really bad, not by any means but the idea of travelling several hours, doing something then travelling several hours back I know will take me days to recover from. When I moved in here, I spent a month clearing out and packing all my stuff from my old flat, I suspect it took me two months to fully recover, for about three weeks I had to nap every single afternoon.
When I was younger, I thought the biggest thing to be a good friend was to be there when someone needed you. As you get older though the just being there bit becomes far more important. We all lead different lives as we move on from teens/young adults into the relationship/career/settling down phase of live. Often it takes time and effort to keep in touch with people who have drifted and if they don’t make the effort then why should you?
Growing up has its pitfalls, you can’t just ring up a mate after school or on a Saturday and expect them to be available to play FIFA or go to the Cinema or whatever. Now things take planning and even then, more times than not something pops up late and that means you can’t go or at least one or two of those who said they’ll be there have to cancel late. It is rather sad in a way but that is just part of the journey of life I suppose.
So anyway to wrap up, this isn’t me taking umbrage about being cut out of someone’s life. They have every right to do such a thing and if I have made no real effort to keep up such a friendship, well that is what happens. It is just a blog post about how as you grow older, friendship seems to become harder. Time is more squeezed and when you are taken away from the natural social events such as school, university or the office where the friendship formed, it takes a lot of effort to keep up a genuine friendship doesn’t it?
Lastly in my life I’ve lived with 12 different people who weren’t family. As far as I’m aware nine have gotten married. No-one invited me to their wedding and I think only three I still had Facebook friend permissions to know that they were even engaged/getting married. I think that says an awful lot about me doesn’t it?
I hope you enjoyed this blog post. Please leave any comments or contact me directly via the E-Mail Me link on the Right Hand Nav. You can stay in touch with the blog following me on Twitter or by liking the blog on Facebook. Please share this content via the Social Media links below if you think anyone else would enjoy reading.