thinking about friendships quite a lot right now. various situations, varying types and degrees of painfulness. and the thread that weaves through it all is something like this:
what if they can’t be there for me in the way that I need/want? a friend is just a human being, with lots of limitations. sometimes it’s practical limitations (like time constraints, or geography, or not having a car) and sometimes it’s limitations in the sort of person someone is: one person may be better at showing empathy when you need a shoulder to cry on, and another might be a lot better at making you laugh, or giving you good advice when you need it, or helping you fix your car. No one person is going to be good at all the things you might need. And no human being, with all the good intentions in the world, can always be there for you at any moment, day or night.
One of the times when it’s particularly painful is when you’re thinking of a particular friend and how you feel they haven’t been being there for you in a while now and you’re trying to be understanding about it and remind yourself that they’ve got a lot on their plate, but it’s difficult to hold on to that thought and the pain is very much there, and then that person offers you something completely different as a gesture of friendship – like, I don’t know, say you were dying to meet up for a coffee like you used to and spend several hours chatting, and this friend phones up and you think “yay” and then they say: I can’t talk long, I’m due in a business meeting in two minutes, but I want to treat you to something special for your birthday so can I put you through to my secretary so you can choose which spa you’d like to go to? But I don’t want a day at a spa as a treat at your expense, you feel like screaming, I want time with you.
But if you’re me, you somehow survive through the conversation and then you put the phone down and collapse in a heap and cry.
And you don’t say it. You never say it, because you don’t want to seem needy and demanding and clingy and all those unappealing things that make people want to have nothing to do with you.
And also because part of you is being sane and saying: you know people do have their limitations, and no one can really be there for you at any given moment…
And yet, it hurts because you’d like to think that they’d also be really wanting to spend time with you. That’s it really, that’s the bottom line, that’s where the pain comes from – from thinking that maybe you’ve been mistaken and this other person doesn’t like you as much as you like them, maybe you thought of this person as a close friend but to them you’re just an acquaintance, and oh, that thought feels so embarrassing it makes me want to crawl into my snail shell and hide.
Going to hit Publish before I lose my bottle. No editing. Raw.