One of the many things I hate about myself is how bad I am at keeping in touch with all my friends.
Every day, I try to be a good, kind, helpful person. I see the positive side of all people I know because we are all human (I think!) and none of us are “perfect” whatever that is.
My best friends in “real life” are my family, who naturally, because of our living arrangements, are around me every day.
My unrelated best friends are people that I have just gelled with straight away and immediately feel comfortable in their company and can talk to them about anything, or sit with them in silence, anything goes.
If you ever read Anne of Green Gables when you were younger then think of these friends as my Kindred Spirits or “those of the race that know Joseph.”
I find it difficult enough to spend as much time as I would like with all of these lovely people, but I know that whenever we meet up, it’s like we have never spent any time apart and there is never resentment over it (thank you for that, I love you, I really do!).
Then, there are the hundreds of friends (from school, college, uni, work, gigs etc) who I love, like and admire, but may not meet up with in real life for long periods of time. These friends I generally only see on my Facebook time line or bump into while out and about.
However, I still think of them as friends, and love keeping up to date with their lives. I know that for the most part they are busy with partners, children, family, work, other friends and social activities, so do not expect anything from them apart from the occasional wave in the car or chat when we meet.
I assume that my real friends understand why I’m not one for keeping in touch “formally”. I really wish I did have time to “make phone calls”, write catch up cards and letters and organise meet ups. However, at this point in my life that is just not me. I’m sure I’ll make up for it in years to come.
I really hope that my friends realise that like them I am genuinely busy and not just ignoring them. The majority of my time is spent looking after my family. I love my four children but of course they are time consuming, especially when one child has a disability and serious condition, and well, toddlers are meant to keep you busy aren’t they?! The reality is, they all take up my time. I am never alone, as when the big kids are in school, then of course, I still have Izzy and I have to spend a lot of time at Danny’s school.
I also love to spend quality time with Dave, but never get enough. We have been planning to go out for a meal on my birthday just the two of us for about eight years now and haven’t managed it yet. We had our lovely weekend in Cardiff, but that has now been a year ago.
I had to give up my nine to five teaching job, as with medical appointments and school call outs that wasn’t possible. I work from home, which is great, as it means I can be there on call for the kids at any time, but in reality means I can be up all night catching up on work while they sleep.
Like everyone, I need to cook and clean (sigh). I read a quote which sums up our house recently, “Our home is full of endless love and laundry!”.
Evenings are often full of children’s activities, practises (for Dave) and then the things that pop up from week to week like hospital visits etc if a relative or friend is ill, or someone just needing a favour.
Even if I did have the time to go out every weekend then that’s not the way I would choose to spend my money whilst there’s a house to heat and bellies to fill.
If someone takes the effort to reach out to me, then I do my best to meet them and really appreciate them asking (I let one friend down on Boxing Day as I couldn’t get my over excited kids to sleep at mums, then I ended up falling asleep myself instead of going out- I am useless!), but I never think badly of the people who like me are getting on with their lives, so I hope they don’t of me.
I made an effort last year to start meeting for coffee with a good school friend. I managed to go twice. Then Izzy was ill, then this and that came up, before we knew it somehow it had been a year since our last meet. However, we like going to the same places and town events, so I love how we can count on seeing each other often with no planning involved.
Another barrier to my friendliness can be my shyness. In some social situations, I just can’t relax and enjoy myself and chat openly. I also hate talking to people on the telephone. I’m a far more visual than auditory person so find it quite difficult just to hear a voice and respond to it. Interestingly, I have a lot of friends who feel the same way, so we tend to text each other instead, whereas I know others hate this.
My good friends and I have found ways that work and enable us to meet up more often, playdates with the kids in the woods, coffee in a flask on the beach. Dogs and kids can come too, it’s free and we feel happier in a lovely stress free environment.
I need to make the most of this precious time I have with my children, and they will always come first. However, if anyone ever needs a chat, a text, an e-mail, a letter, a meet up, I will even phone them when only a phone call will do ;-), then please let me know. I will drive hundreds of miles, at any time of night if I am needed, and if I have offered you help or a favour in the past, it is genuine- please take me up on it!
Please remember, that just because I can’t always meet for coffee or go drinking in the pub*, that I am still your friend and thinking of you.
*When I do finally make it to the pub, or any outing with adults, then I will most probably make up for lost time, get over excited, drink/talk too much and once again, completely embarass myself. Apologies in advance for that, I did warn you I was a bad friend.