I've been doing some reflecting lately. I sat in a coffee shop observing everyone coming and going from the cafe with other people. I mean, there are a few people alone, but at least half of these people passing through are in multiples.
People are chatting, laughing, and socializing their way through the order line. There are people at tables talking and working together on their laptops. People hugging hello and waving goodbye.
This has been something I've observed for a few weeks now. Nothing really registered with me until recently; Why am I always alone?
I can be an introvert, but I'm an extrovert, too. I love my time alone, especially when it comes to doing work, at the gym, or grocery shopping. Although I really enjoy being around people, I just like being alone and in my own headspace most of the time.
But this realization truly hit me. I started to analyze my life, as all of us over-thinkers do. I began to think about how many friendships I've pushed away, arguments I may (or may have not) gotten in, and moments of selfishness I embraced.
I thought about how crappy I am at handling situations where any sort of confrontation is involved. About how stubborn I am when it comes to making decisions. About how closed off I am and how scared I am of being vulnerable.
All of these things and MANY more has led me to the conclusion: I have been a bad friend.
And first, let me start by saying this article is not a pity party. I truly am disappointed by the way I have handled some situations in the past, but realizing your weaknesses is a step in a good direction, right?
Well, in realizing this, I didn't know how to make up for it. I don't think you can. I've been hurt in the past by bad friends, too, and there's nothing you can really do about it. What's in the past, is the past. I am sorry, but I really don't believe "sorry" is going to fix anything.
Actions always speak louder than words, and if you can't go back and fix what's already broken, you might as well use what you've learned to fix your future friendships.
To anyone reading this that I may have hurt in the past or that consider me a "bad friend:" other than the fact that I agree with you, I hope you know that I've realized this.
I can be selfish. I was taking my "me time" a little too far, sometimes canceling our plans just so I can do what's best for me and my mental health. I need to remember to sacrifice for friends sometimes, too.
I don't know how to handle my emotions. Sometimes I wouldn't know how to say "I'm not okay, I need help." In return, I'd lash out and push you even further away. I need to learn to be vulnerable and let you in.
I'd wait for you to reach out, and then get upset when you didn't. We're both busy, but I always felt like I was the only one putting in the effort with the friendship, just because you didn't call me. Well, it turned out to be the opposite.
I would rather be alone most of the time. And lately, I'm realizing how lonely "alone" really is.
So I may have been a crap friend to some in the past, but I'll be working on becoming a great friend now. I have some wonderful people in my life currently, and I'd really rather not disappoint them.
And I'd also like to add that if you're in a toxic friendship or your friend is starting to rub you the wrong way, say something. Tell him/her how you are feeling. Vocalize that. If they care, they'll realize and work on fixing it.
It may not be immediate, but they'll soon understand and work on it. Most times, they really do care, they're just sh*t at showing affection or handling their problems. At least that's one of my biggest problems.
And if you are the bad friend, understand that this does not diminish your worth. You are still human, and we all make mistakes. It's the moments where you realize you need to work on some things, finding those resources, and starting to fix it, that really shows your worth.
I'd end with an apologetic statement, but as I said, actions speak louder than words.
A good friend of mine recently said to me, "It is absolutely incredible when you recognize your weaknesses and what you are willing to work on because that's always the first step to change."
She is absolutely right. I've recognized it and willing to work on it. Being a better friend.