I’m a person who throws myself 100% percent into every relationship I have. Friends, family members, coworkers, etc. I will drop everything for the people I care about. You want to talk tonight? Great, I’ll stay up as late as I need to in order to make that happen. You need my help with something? Okay, I can finish my work later. You need to reschedule the plans I based my week off of? Okay, I can rearrange my schedule to make something work.
In my mind, these are just things that good friends do. These are things you do for the people you care about.
Many of you know that I have been extraordinarily frustrated with a lot of people around me. People who I considered to be my best friends, my family. Here’s the thing. I moved to Nashville at the end of July. Officially. As in, I’m not going back to St. Louis except for occasional visits. Because of this, it was crucial to me that I saw everyone in St. Louis over the summer before I left.
Let me just give you a summary of how my summer ended up going… The day I got back into town, I sent out a message to everyone I wanted to see before I left. Some friends, some family. I explained when I would be working, when I would be out of town, and any dates that absolutely would not work for me. A few people responded saying things like “I’d love to get together” and “let me check my schedule and I’ll get back with you ASAP.” Then a month would go by and I wouldn’t hear from anyone. So, I sent out another message with the same information. People said they’d check back in by a certain date with their schedules. But they didn’t. I saw three people (all in the same family) on my list of almost twenty.
I made excuses for all these people. Boy oh boy did I make excuses. I spent hours defending these people that I care so much about. Saying things like “well, she’s working so many hours this summer” or “I bet she has a lot going on.” The truth is, that most of these people had time to spare. They were constantly on social media. I even had one friend who posted a multi-paragraph essay about her life on Facebook, but couldn’t send me a text stating whether or not she could meet up.
Here’s the thing: I don’t get mad or hurt or upset over someone telling me they can’t hang out or don’t want to. You had a really busy week at work and would rather just relax? Great, you totally deserve that! You made plans with your other friends? Awesome, have fun! You don’t have any set plans so you can’t commit to anything? Okay, just let me know if you have time to meet up! However, when someone constantly says they’ll get back with me and then never do, I get a little frustrated.
I feel like being a good friend is pretty simple. Only make promises you can keep, remember that communication is key, and love each other unconditionally. It’s not that hard. The problem is, when the first two of these three things are broken, the third one gets questioned. All summer, I had people who I truly trusted and cared for break promises and stop communicating. Which made me question their love for me.
The people who have hurt me most in the last few years are people I have known for my whole life. So, the bottom line here is that being friends with someone doesn’t get easier over time. It’s not supposed to. Being friends with people is a full-time job. It’s a job full of understanding, caring, love, communication, honesty, and respect. And it has to go both ways.
Being a friend is a full-time job. It’s my favorite job in the world. A job I take seriously. So I want to be the best at it that I possibly can be. So, this is my invitation to anyone reading this: if you feel like I have not upheld my own standards of being a good friend at any point in time, please talk to me about it. I want to make sure I am being the best friend I can be. Because the people who have stood by me as good friends, 100% deserve the best.
To those of you who have been, and continue to be, amazing friends, thank you. My world wouldn’t be the same without you.