I’m Not Very Good At The Friend Stuff

I’m not very good at keeping friends. My sister is still very close to people she went to school with, lifelong friendships which have stood the test of time. Throughout her life she has added to this list, managing to keep in touch with everyone. At the last time of checking she was friends with half of Northern Ireland and on nodding terms with the other half. She’s a social butterfly, not like her weird, awkward, older brother. That’s me by the way in case you were wondering.

I’ve had friends and am capable of making them. It’s just they tend to slip through my fingers like a bar of soap, swirling down the plughole never to be seen again. When I went to university I lost the friends I had at school, and when I moved to work in Belfast I lost the friends I had at university. And on it goes from job to job and year to year. I know people, I have acquaintances, but beyond my family there’s not really anyone I would regard as a ‘best friend.’

I’ve had drinking friends, church friends, running friends, whatever my particular ‘thing’ is at that given period. Some of these have been intense, consuming friendships that burn fiercely for several months or years. They have never lasted, however. Eventually we will drift apart. Sometimes it is amicable and sometimes there is bad blood involved. I am not always blameless. There is fault on both sides.

The loss of some of these friendships sadden me, while others were a lucky escape. I’m not a very good judge of character so I’ve made some spectacularly bad choices down the years. I sometimes wonder what these people think of me now, do they share the same regrets or rarely give me a second thought? Am I just a walking, talking self-destruct button when it comes to forming and maintaining lasting human connections, beyond my wife and kids?

Maybe I just don’t have time for such distractions in my life. I have so much on my plate and my family come first. When you add my work and writing I don’t have time for a lot more. There’s also a degree of contentment. I don’t want to make the effort anymore, I’m too long in the tooth to start all over again. There are also trust issues. I’ve been let down and hurt by supposed friends in the past. Once bitten, twice shy.

This applies to so many aspects of my life now. Lockdown has accentuated the drawing up of bridges and reluctance to engage and interact with others. I don’t even enjoy telephone conversations and am happy in my little village, staying at home with my family. It will be weird when the world opens up again. Many will go crazy but I don’t think a massive amount will change for me. I won’t be running out to nightclubs or house parties. Been there, done that.

I’ll go to work and I’ll come home, do not pass go, do not collect £200. The only thing I truly miss is watching the kids play sport. It’s tough that they are not even allowed to do that. But, even then, I tend to find a spot alone on the touchline. I’m not good at small talk, whereas everybody else seems to do it with ease. I’m awkward, I say the wrong thing, I put my foot in my mouth with consummate ease. Then worry for the rest of the weekend about how my comments have been perceived.

It’s how I am, it’s how I’ve always been and I doubt very much that I’m going to change now. Besties and BFF’s are an alien concept to me, you’ll never find me at school reunions or hanging around old haunts. People tend to move on or I move on, I’m discarded and left at the roadside. It’s how my life was mapped out for me and I’ve accepted my lot. I have all the people in my life I need right now. The others are maybe, what if, who knows…it’s too late to turn back now.

Published by Fractured Faith Blog

We are Stephen and Fionnuala and this is our story. We live in Northern Ireland, have been married for 17 years and have three kids - Adam, Hannah and Rebecca. We hope that our story will inspire and encourage others. We have walked a rocky road yet here we are today, together and stronger than ever. We are far from perfect and our faith has been battered and bruised. But an untested faith is a pointless faith. Just as a fractured faith is better than none at all. We hope you enjoy the blog.

66 thoughts on “I’m Not Very Good At The Friend Stuff

  1. How well I understand this. I am an over thinker and tend to be slow to make new friends. Like you, I have many acquaintances but few real friends. My son, he makes friends with any and everyone. He is one of those outspoken people who will get into a conversation with any who will speak back and some who won’t. If the friendship forms and carries over, so much the better. If no friendship forms, oh well.. time to talk with the next person. He doesn’t let those who move on bother him and I wish I were more like him.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. At the ripe old age of 67, I find that as I journeyed through schools, marriage, parenthood, jobs, ministries, and living in different cities, I’ve made a lot of acquaintances/friends, and out of every bunch one or two were strong, lasting friendships. Now my circle of friends is made up of the relative handful of people out of the thousands I’ve met along the way – the cream if the crop💕. I pray that I am that kind of friend, but I guess it’s also OK to be one that God places in someone’s path to be a blessing for that particular season. The important thing is to make oneself available to be where and what He wants, and see what He does with you. (It’s been an adventure!)

    Liked by 2 people

  3. You are so terribly honest and I can relate. My 55th high school reunion is approaching and will I be there?….heck no, I have not been to any of them and don’t care to stand around comparing accomplishment notes. My longest lasting friendship is 40 years. I feel blessed for that. He was my 1st sponsor in recovery. I haven’t had a social life in decades, so this covid lock-down and social distancing is not a problem.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Yep, know the feeling and you have pretty much written the way life is for me as well. It is nice to know that I am not alone in how I feel or choosing to not get caught up in the “friends” of the moment lifestyle anymore. Retirement really changed my perspective on life and how I choose live the time I have left. 😁

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I relate. It’s harder to make new friends, and harder to maintain old friendships, the older we get. It doesn’t help in my case that I’m such a homebody. My idea of a good time is being in my quiet house working on personal projects. I’m fortunate, however, that an old college friend and I have somehow managed to stay friends even though we talk maybe twice a year. We just know that we’re friends and that’s that.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I have the exact same issues. But with me, I have had a few friends that were not loyal to me so when that happens I do not keep them around just to keep from being lonely. I am not afraid to walk away from someone that hurts me or doesn’t have time for me. I guess I feel I deserve better and I am comfortable being alone. In fact, I’d rather be alone than having someone in my life that doesn’t fulfill it in any way or tries to hold me back. Try not to feel bad. Your spouse is your best friend and that’s how it should be. Good friendships will only come if we are willing to put forth a lot of effort to obtain them. I guess sometimes I just don’t trust people enough to put forth enough effort.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. We only have room for so many people in our lives. I choose to not have a social life…..not that I am not social…I am…I can be. At the time of life I am in now…I choose what matters most to me….God….family…and then my hobbies. Yep, my hobbies come before friendships because they are mostly superficial anyway. My hobbies do more for my soul and spiritual. The best friends for me to be around are my Christian friends. They are forever. Weeks and months and years can go by and they still have a genuine love for me. Don’t feel bad that some of your friendships have fizzled. If they were deep….you’d be hearing the phone ring on your end….from one of them getting in touch, or a note in the mailbox “TO YOU”, from one who thought so dearly of you. Take time with the ones you have. Love God the most!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. This is a very relateable post.

    I think you’d find that some of the other spectators on the sidelines are overanalysing their comments too, despite appearances – you are definitely not alone.

    I think it’s awesome when we come to a place of acceptance of who we are and who is important but I also think it’s good to keep yourself open to any new friendships that may just arise.

    Great post

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I love this post it is so relatable and I completely understand. I feel I am a little socially awkward and although I care a lot for my friends when I have them, in the past they have all gone off and found different friends but that’s ok.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I can relate to u I try with all my might to maintain friendship but destiny always breaks my friendship I lost my bestie of 10+ years after a minor argument ,one drifted apart and now I have learnt that friends are not for me…so I don’t even try. Yes it does hurt when you see people having reunion and trips and bday parties but we shud try to devote time to our hobbies and family . I wish u all d best my FRIEND

    Liked by 1 person

  11. If you’re happy with who is in your life and it brings you peace then you are good to go. I consider you an online pal as I love to hear what you have to say. You seem to be an introvert (as am I) and we tend to be good at deep conversations and kinda suck at small talk. It’s ok. It’s just who you are 🥰

    Liked by 1 person

  12. This brings to truth the strain lockdown has placed on both personal and professional friendships. Being the “Mr. Fixit” the only time I’ve heard from my small circle is when something breaks.. I’ve entered the world of blogging and, there’s a satisfaction writing. I think I’ll leave the laptop opened.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. To me it sounds life give arrived at a good set of priorities for you. Your wife and children sound like the best friends to have and it always sounds like they’re blessed to have you too. 😊

    I’ve moved through different passes of my life life you have. School friends and I drifted apart, though I do maintain one amazing friendship from school. University was a time that came and went, as did most of my friends there – in a natural way. Ultimate frisbee players come and go, including me, and people nice through our church too as it’s close to the university. Sometimes I put in heaps of effort before I realise it’s a friendship I need to relax into and where I need to pull back from. 🤷‍♂️

    I’m looking forward to being married and spending my time with my best friend (we may not have found each other yet, but we will).

    Peace to you and your family, Stephen. ♥

    Liked by 1 person

  14. This resonated with me. I’m the same and have walked away from many friendships and watched many others dissolve all for.one reason or another. It’s a sad process but one that’s become such a big part of my life that I now expect it. And I enjoyed isolation with my family as well. Best wishes to you on your journey.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. I can so much relate to this post ! I have handful of good friends , but I am not the person who will pick up the phone to speak to anyone and keep in touch. Friends who know me for what I am are still in close circle! For others , I just moved on …..

    Liked by 1 person

  16. That’s relatable, I think we are all different with making friends, and personally I would say being close with a few people, be it friends or family, is more important than having loades of friends.


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