A few weeks ago, I saw a post on Facebook that really annoyed me.
It was just one of these ridiculous posters that people share without thinking. Or maybe they did think about it, maybe they really meant it. Either way, It annoyed me so much that weeks later, I’m still furious. Here’s what it said:
“People make time for who they want to make time for. People text, call and reply to people they want to talk to. Never believe anyone who says they’re too busy. If they wanted to be around you, they would.”
Whoever wrote this has clearly never been a working mum. Or perhaps they have. Maybe the writer was a working mum who fits her hours around her children.
She might have had two children, two dogs and husband who has been unable to walk for the past four months. She could be someone who works until 3 am on many nights and gets up at 6.30 with the children.
Maybe she has suddenly found herself having to mend fences, fit radiators, move furniture on her own and lay carpets. But I doubt it.
I’ve never been a person who has lots of friends. In fact, I’m fairly anti-social. But since my husband’s accident, I’ve been completely unable to make time for the few friends I do have.
They message me and I rarely reply. They ask if we can meet up and I just can’t find the time. People stopped asking me if I wanted to go on a night out long ago. But nowadays, a chat by text or a coffee are just as difficult.
Every hour of my day is accounted for. Very occasionally, I might manage to find a spare half an hour. I might even manage a day out, but you’d have to be willing to muck in and help me with the children.
At the moment, things are really difficult here. It’s safe to say it has been the hardest few months of my life. So am I worried about the friends that I’m losing when I don’t reply to messages or make time to chat?
Of course not.
If you genuinely believe that true friends will make time for you whatever their circumstances, you are not the sort of person I need in my life.
A real friend will know the score. They’ll understand that right now, I’m going through a tough time and they’ll put my needs first. A good friend will know that I need them just to be there – at a distance. Just knowing they are there makes everything okay.
Because however difficult things are now, this time will come to an end. My husband will get better, my children will go to school and one day, I will have some time for myself.
And then, I’ll pick up the phone. And my true friends will still be there. There will only be one or two, a handful at most. And what if there’s nobody left at all?
I will have learned a valuable lesson about not allowing my happiness to depend on other people. Then I’ll book myself into a spa for the day, on my own.
And I’ll quietly celebrate the end of the toughest time of my life, and raise a toast to new beginnings.
What does friendship mean to you? Can you always make time for the people you want in your life?