I’m Afraid of Being a Bad Friend

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I recently went through a breakup with a best friend. Someone I’d known for more than a decade. Someone I thought about and still think about every single day of my life.

It was and still is one of the hardest challenges I’ve had to endure.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned over the past few years, it’s that our most painful experiences, our most triggering moments in life can either cripple us, or they can point us to what we value in life. Sometimes both. The two are not mutually exclusive.

Every time I feel guilty or punish myself for a real or perceived shortcoming, I let it point me toward my values. It’s really helped me reframe my struggles as opportunities. And the loss of this friendship exposed my deepest, darkest fear – that I’m actually a bad friend.

The universe has put me in the direct path of this person twice in the past two years of silence between us. After our last chance encounter at a restaurant (on her birthday, no less), I had a very vivid dream in which she told me all the ways I’d failed her as a friend.

Ouch. Not cool, subconscious. Not. Cool.

I’m the first to admit, I don’t always show up for my friends in the way I wish I could. I think that’s what ultimately ended my long-term friendship. I might never know for sure. But that wish is genuine, and I’ve come to accept that my evolution as a mother will forever influence my evolution as a friend.  

If you’ve ever been pregnant, you know the exhaustion and sickness that supersedes all else. If you’ve ever had a baby, you know the fog that surrounds you for sometimes over a year postpartum. You know the seismic shift that takes place in your priorities for the rest of your life. That can be hard to reconcile against your former independent, high-performing self. 

But if you can learn to forgive yourself and others for not meeting your own unrealistic expectations, that’s a good first step to being a good friend. 

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