I’m going to be eating cake this weekend. By myself. I don’t usually eat cake, make cake, or buy cake. But this morning, I went to the local farmer’s market to buy cake. Pieces of cake, actually. I bought a great selection: cheesecake, coconut flan, raspberry torte, bread pudding, and a couple other little things. Two of each – one for me and one for a good friend. You see, it’s her birthday tomorrow, and she asked if she could come over and spend the day hanging out with me. I was excited that she wanted to share this special day with me, and I said, “Of course.” I just messaged her to confirm and found out that she “forgot” and made plans with two other friends to go to the movies; she asked if I would like to join them. I politely declined and said, “No thanks, I’ll be busy at home eating cake tomorrow.”
Maybe she did forget. Or maybe the offer with her other friends appealed to her more. Either way – I’m eating cake and I am trying not to feel sorry for myself that it’s been the year of being disappointed by a few friends. For some reason, so many of them have been too busy for me or had unexpected things happen to cause them to cancel plans. I’m trying not to take this personally. I really don’t think it’s about me. I think it’s the way society now offers so many choices, within so little time.
I must say, the busier the friends, the better chance I have to get some of their time and attention. It’s actually quite strange. I’ve had friends who can’t see me on a particular day because they are busy for a couple hours and others who are busy all day but available for a couple hours and make it work. Seriously – one great friend says, “I’m working from 8am until 3pm, then again at 6pm, so I can see you between 3:30pm and 5:30pm if that works.” And if she says she’s too busy to see me, I absolutely believe her.
So here are a few pointers from my experience on how good friendships should work:
The first rule of a good friendship is to be honest, loyal, and available. Honesty is essential in any relationship, of course. Really good friends will be honest even when it’s not easy or convenient. They will go beyond telling you that you’ve got something in your teeth to letting you know when you’re going astray. Even though they may not always be available, when you truly need them, they will make time for you.
Don’t think that a Facebook post is sufficient for good friends. I had a good friend whose Dad was ill a couple years ago. I went to the hospital to visit him. When he died, I drove three hours to attend the funeral. I was with her when she scattered his ashes. A couple years later, my Dad died. Although I didn’t expect her to go to the funeral, I did think that a phone call would be the least she could do. All I got was a Facebook comment, “Sorry for your loss.” I’m sorry, but from a good friend, that’s just not enough.
Don’t put out-of-town friends before local friends. I understand that company coming sometimes changes things and that windows of visiting time are often limited, but please be courteous about ditching your local friends. I’ve heard this reason a few times and was understanding, but at least reschedule time with the local friend.