So Close But So Far

22 May

I’ve spent a lot of time in the past couple of weeks thinking about what other people are thinking. It sounds complicated, but it’s really something I’ve struggled with for a long time now. While I’m generally a confident person, my largest insecurity is feeling like I care too much, that I’m giving more than I should be. It’s been my experience that the work in relationships is very rarely shared 50/50, and that in almost all of mine I’m the one putting in the larger share.

Maybe I should back up and explain.

As most people do, I have a group of people in my life that I would consider to be my “best” friends. Of these friends, there are several who live and/or work out-of-state that I just don’t get a chance to see, or even speak to on a regular basis. I know that long-distance friendships are, in general, hard. It’s difficult to find the time for a “How’s your life?” email or a “So, do you have any big life updates?” phone call. By the time my work day is done, my son is put to bed, and my papers are graded, I pretty much just want to sit on my ass. It takes effort to keep in touch, and effort can be exhausting.

The smaller things are easier. The texts to say we heard “our” song on the radio, or the Facebook comments about how funny a picture is. But it’s not the smaller things I feel like I’m missing. The smaller things don’t keep me in the loop about the things that matter. I’ve had friends break up with or gain boyfriends without me finding out until months later. Hell, I’ve had friends move without telling me they were even looking. I find out later, after the fact, like it’s not a big deal.

I’ve never understood how to function like that. If something important is happening in my life (husband, house, baby, job, etc.) I want to tell everyone. No, scratch that. I want to tell everyone that matters. I want them to be a part of my life. I want them to share in my joys, and my pains. You take time to share the things in your life that are important to you, with the people who are important to you. Right?

And then, of course, the more I think about it, the more I start to wonder if maybe I’m overreacting. Not everyone feels the same way I do about keeping in touch. Not everyone would agree with me on the things that do or do not warrant a phone call. Can you really be close with someone without knowing what goes on in their day-to-day lives? Maybe they think so, and who am I do disagree?

But, after the self-doubt fades, the anger kicks in. Maybe it’s not worth it. Maybe I shouldn’t be putting in the extra effort. If it’s not worth it to the other party to stay in touch, then why should I put in the time? But that is the emotional equivalent of an ultimatum. And that cuts right through the bullshit to my real fear. That if I don’t put in the effort and the time, then we’ll drift apart and lose contact altogether. And the other party might not care; their lives might go on, but it would absolutely break me.

I think that’s really the heart of the matter. When all is said and done, it comes down to what these relationships are worth to me. My circle of friends is preciously small, and I value each of them more than they can possibly know. They are worth the time, and they are worth the effort, because they do mean the world to me. So even if it means that I’m always the one reaching out, I’m going to  keep doing it. Because to me, they’re worth that extra stretch to hold on to.

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9 Responses to “So Close But So Far”

  1. Ali Trotta May 22, 2012 at 1:17 pm #

    God, this was beautiful — and something I can relate to very, very much. I feel like you do, here, a lot of the time. And I have a heap of thoughts on it — let’s chat about it, next time we talk, ok? Sending you love, chica.

    • Andrea May 22, 2012 at 3:06 pm #

      Thanks! I had a feeling that if anyone would understand, it’d be you. I miss you lots! Let me know when you’re available to chat and I’ll be there.

  2. Dan May 22, 2012 at 2:29 pm #

    Get back to work. Just kidding, I love you, you are amazing.

    • Andrea May 22, 2012 at 3:07 pm #

      Umm, I’ll have you know that I wrote this blog last night; I just had it scheduled to publish today. You think I’d have time to write this during my first hour? Hardly. 🙂

  3. Laura Iverson May 22, 2012 at 9:17 pm #

    Andrea, I miss you terribly and reading this makes it worse. Living 1500 miles away from eveyone that I know and love has been difficult and I do everything I can just to keep tabs on my nieces and nephews, worrying they’ll forget who we are the longer we’re away. I just want you to know that I still consider you a dear friend, even though we (as teachers especially) rarely have time to catch up with each other. Nate, Duke, and I will definitely be home at Christmas time and if it works out with that busy time of year I would love to see you! And of course, if you’re ever in the New Mexico area, you and your family are always welcome in our home. Take care of your self, and know you are loved (and your Christmas card is still displayed on my living room wall) even though I’m in Albuquerque. 🙂 Laura

    • Andrea May 23, 2012 at 11:13 pm #

      Awww, thanks Laura. That really means the world to me. For the record, you won’t ever be forgotten no matter how long you’re gone, and you are very much loved yourself. Also, Dan and I will be here all December, so you name the date/time and we’ll be there. We swear, Jack has gotten better at restaurants since the last time you were here. 🙂

  4. patrice May 24, 2012 at 10:15 am #

    Oh Andrea this sums it up well. I hate not having you in my life EVERY DAY. you are such a beautiful bright light. missing you SOOOOO VERY MUCH and think of you and Dan and Jack whenever I watch one of our (gazillion) TV shows. And during Mad Men I toast to you with one of my retro cocktails (or more often, glass of wine that I drink with a straw because you grandmother is right – we must protect our teeth!!!). xoxoxoxo

    • Andrea May 24, 2012 at 12:32 pm #

      I miss you too! I was starting to wonder if you were still alive since I hadn’t yet responded to the email I sent you. I think of you during every episode of Mad Men, too! We MUST do a happy hour soon! We never did celebrate my birthday together…

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. A Little Bit of Self-Evaluation « prettyandink - September 22, 2012

    […] lately about what kind of friend I am. I know I’ve blogged before about my own insecurities (case in point), but blogging about it doesn’t make it any easier to wrestle with. I still feel like I care […]

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