A few weeks ago, one of my best friends broke up with her (horrible) boyfriend after almost seven years. When I found out, I obviously did all of the supportive things a best friend should do – I asked her if she was okay, I told her she deserved so much better (she really does), and I called him a jerk during every appropriate moment of her story. Then I told her she could call me any time if she needed anything. I planned on texting her a few days later to ask her how she was… and then I totally forgot. A full week went by before I remembered.
Thinking about the fact that it took me so long to get back to her makes me cringe, because it pretty much makes me feel like the worst friend ever. How could I forget about my heartbroken BFF for an entire week?! Sure, I had work, a boyfriend to think about, I was in the middle of buying a new car and taking my little sister off to her first year of college, but I think my friend still should have been in the back of my mind. Not only that, but before I finally sent my check-up text to her, it took me a good 30 minutes to figure out exactly what to say.
This isn’t the first time I’ve felt like a bad friend for a) not being “there” enough for someone and b) being totally awkward when it comes to dealing with a sad/angry/hurt friend. Sometimes, I honestly just don’t know how to handle those situations. When a friend gets dumped, do I text her asking her if she’s okay every day? Do I insist on coming to her house with ice cream and funny movies? Or do I leave her alone and wait for her to text me asking me for help?
A similar thing happened when another BFF got in a bad car accident. She totaled her car on her way to visit her long-distance boyfriend, and while she was okay, her car and long-awaited weekend were totally ruined. When she told me, I was out with some other friends. I asked her if she was okay, told her how sorry I was and added that if she needed anything, she could call me. Then I managed to completely forget to text her the next few days to see how she was doing. Looking back, I feel like I did the wrong thing. Maybe I should have offered to come hang out with her since she was so miserable. Maybe I should have texted her the next morning to make sure she was still okay. Maybe I totally failed.
It’s not just my forgetfulness and kind of awkward way of dealing with a sad buddy that make me feel like the worst BFF ever, but it’s also the fact that, um, I kind of talk about my friends behind their backs. I know that if most people are being totally honest, they’ll admit that they do the same thing. But I feel like I do it a lot. Whenever a friend is bugging me or does something I can’t stand, I automatically go back to my boyfriend, family, cousins and/or other friends to start talking smack. Also, I’m honestly a huge gossip. I don’t think I’ve ever kept a secret completely to myself before.
There have a few other times when I’ve felt pretty awful about my friend abilities. Like the time I ditched a friend’s birthday because I just didn’t feel like going out. Or the time a BFF bought her first house and I didn’t even buy her a housewarming gift (everyone else did). Or the nights I choose to hang with my boyfriend instead of my friends.
Sometimes I have to wonder if other people do the same stuff as me or feel the same way as I do. And while I do sometimes feel like a good friend, I usually feel like the majority of the time I’m too busy with work/boyfriend/family/me stuff to put a lot of my focus on my besties. Is that totally selfish?
In the end, I feel like it’s not that selfish. Nobody is perfect, and we obviously can’t all be the best friend ever every single day. I think that sometimes you do have to put yourself first, and it’s fine to make yourself your number one priority. Once in a while, I get things right with my BFFs. I say the right thing, I comfort them in the right way and I’m loyal to them if I need to be. I guess that, some of the time, that makes up for my “bad friend” moments.
Do you think I’m a bad friend? Do you ever feel like you’re a bad friend? Do you ever talk about your friends behind their backs or comfort them the wrong way? Tell me in the comments!