The first time I thought the words “I’m not a good friend,” I was 12. My best friend chose to exclude me from plans with one of her other friends, and I told her my feelings were hurt by this. Her reaction and the reaction of others told me that I was a bad friend for admitting my feelings to my friend.
The enemy planted a seed in my heart and head that day. The thoughts started to grow that I was not a good friend and that I was not worthy of having friends. 14 years later, and tonight, those words are ringing just as loud as ever.
The last few months have had a clear line of events that have dug these seeds up to the surface (and I can’t even begin to touch on each one). Every time each of these events happened, although seemingly small, I felt the roots of these now well-grown plants wrap a little tighter around my heart.
I knew the thoughts were festering again when a friendship ended approximately 10 months ago.
But then I had confirmation.
My friend didn’t know what the words she said did to my heart.
The friend mentioned in one of our conversations that at an important life event she had all of her close friends involved….I hadn’t been involved. Her words cut me and she didn’t even know it. I literally replay them at least weekly, when something reminds me that I’m not a good friend.
It has double meaning for me. I’m not a good friend, as in I’m not anybody’s Tier 1 (Hope in the Hard Places ) go to person. I’m not a good friend, as in I’m not the friend you depend on because you know I’m not a good person and I fail as a friend, and I fail terribly.
These words tug at my heart. Sometimes daily.
When I don’t have an inner circle at work.
When a friend writes about how they spend so much time weekly catching up with their besties, and I considered them one of my “besties” but I’m never the one they call or text.
When I realize there are people who have lifelong friends, and I can barely maintain a friendship for a few years before it falls apart.
When (as much as I love him and our time together) my spare time is spent with my fiancé or alone, not with friends like other people my age.
Sometimes, I’m still the 14 year old sitting by herself during lunch for her entire fall semester of freshman year.
Sometimes I’m the college girl who was betrayed by the group of people she trusted to love her, who felt a hurt deeper than she knew existed — that still runs deep today.
I tell myself there are reasons I’m not a good friend.
I guess we can call them my excuses.
My autoimmune disease wears me out.
My anxiety is crippling.
My depression is exhausting.
The two combining mental issues overwhelm me more days than I would ever tell you.
I legitimately forget to do things frequently, including responding to texts, calls, and social media messages.
I sometimes have to cancel plans because I’m in too much pain.
I’m busy planning a wedding.
I’m busy working a job that requires more hours than I get paid for.
I’m busy completing graduate school.
I’m busy doing all of this at the same time that sometimes I forget my name, my age, and what day it is.
I have RBF so people don’t approach me.
I’m too outspoken, so people don’t agree with me or don’t know how to handle me.
I’m really weird- look at my mind map for my thesis sometime and you’ll understand.
But what this all comes down to is…I’m not a good friend.
I don’t call.
I don’t text.
I don’t check on people.
I fear rejection so I don’t try.
I talk too much. So other people don’t get a chance to.
I stay busy and I don’t try to make time in my schedule because then people will realize what a bad friend I am.
I’m not a good friend.
I don’t know that I ever will be.
I’ve read endless blogs, devotions, and articles about how to be hospitable, loving, and a better friend.
It doesn’t stick.
I’ll never be the friend demonstrated in the Bible.
I’ll always fall short.
And I think that’ll just always be my struggle.
I want to cut the weeds but I think they might be too strong.
I hope one day to be better. I pray for it. I wait anxiously for it. I fall short. But I hold hope that every morning holds new mercies. I thank God for the friends who love me through my weaknesses and pray he gives me the ability to love them as a friend should. Because Heaven knows this torn heart needs the help.