When friendship takes a backseat

When friendship takes a backseat

I am a terrible friend.

I don’t say that for pity or reassurances but out of an honest acknowledgement that I’m just really terrible at friendship.

The truth is that I’m not a very good friend in general. I don’t do a good job of maintaining friendships across the years or miles, and I never really have.

But add in working full time, homeschooling, and living in the boonies, and I’m not even a very good friend to the people in my community that I see on a semi-regular basis.

It’s not because of lack of desire. There are women in my life who I’d love to be close to. Women I connect with and enjoy talking to. Families who share a lot in common with our own family.

But in a season where I barely have any free time, I struggle even more. I’m terrible at returning calls and text messages. I can’t attend social events or spontaneous playdates. And sometimes even when I have a free moment, what I really want is to just crawl into bed with a book.

As an introvert, scheduling this time to be by myself is super important. Without it, I can’t make it through a morning of homeschooling while juggling babies or an afternoon of meetings (while still juggling babies). And because I want to spend time with my husband and children as well, making time for friendship actually takes me away from my people in a very real way.

We’re also trying to prioritize our relationships with our extended family—our parents and siblings and beyond—which means some of our free time is already spoken for as well.

My best friend, who lives several states away, is patient when I disappear from our daily chats and flexible about where we continue those conversations (whether on Skype or Facebook or Snapchat or text), and I prioritize those chats even when my natural instinct is to hide from everyone. But I just can’t seem to make time for other friendships, and I hate that that probably makes people feel like I just don’t want to.

I’ve struggled with loneliness and feeling like I don’t have any friends in the past, and I’m afraid that by the time my kids are a little older or life slows down a bit (ha!), the people in my life will be tired of my nos and I’ll find myself very lonely once again.

But in this season of babies and homeschooling and working and living so far out of town, I’m just not sure how to make a change.

There’s no life lesson here, no takeaway to help you, just an honest assessment that this is one of the hardest parts of working at home and homeschooling. I don’t like it, and it makes me sad. But for now I’m choosing to give my family the time I do have and looking forward to a season that leaves more time for getting together with local friends in the not-too-distant future!

This Post Has 8 Comments

  1. I like this post. No sugar coating, no list of ways to make it better. Just acknowledging the truth and feeling the hurt for what it is but also realizing that it’s a choice.

  2. Yes and amen! Very refreshing to have a post that speaks what I feel too without a list of things to do that only sinks my overwhelmed soul a little deeper.

  3. Every time I read one of your blog posts it’s like reading something from a friend! Maybe some would say it’s a false sense of connection, but it’s a connection for many none-the-less, many across the miles reading, commenting, trusting, and sharing like we’re all friends. If any of your “real” friends follow I’m sure they feel that way, too.

  4. Just recently started following you and as I’ve been reading your posts, i feel like you are writing about me!! Thank you for sharing. It is so nive to read and relate to another person so well! Keep it up!

  5. I don’t live in the boonies…far from it, but I’m right there with ya! It takes a lot more energy than I have to invest in those types of relationships (esp having gone through many friendships that were more give than take from my side if you know what I mean). At this time, I am really enjoying some online friendships (with some I have met in real life, but just once or twice, but have known for years) because they have been more kindred and authentic if that makes any sense.

  6. This was a great post. I think a lot of us feel like we are failing at friendship. I am an introvert too and it really does take effort. At the beginning of summer I had several people on a list that I had planned to get together with, well here we are at the end, and I only connected with a few of those on my list. But I must say, I am glad that I made the effort with those I did connect with and trying not to feel bad about the ones I didn’t. Thanks for writing this, knowing you are not the only one is comforting!

  7. As an extrovert I still feel your pain. I work at home and have been part-time homeschooling my 17yo daughter. This year I start homeschooling my 7yo daughter full time. Even though I am mostly extroverted and NEED that face-to-face time with friends, I still have trouble with friendship. My late mother was so good at it. When she passed away last year at 94 years old she still had at least one friend that she had known since she was 5yo. I am a bit envious of that skill and haven’t quite figured out how she did it.

  8. Our work/parenting circumstances may be different, but I so hear you here! I spend enough time away from my kids working that prioritizing family time during non-work hours is essential – and it does seem to leave little time for intentional friendships.

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