I’m starting to wonder if there’s something wrong with me, because no one else in my life ever seems to feel that way. Or maybe they just don’t talk about it, I don’t know. I find myself so wiped out by my daily life that I either completely forget to check in with people or I really don’t want to because I’m already so wiped out.
Am I so self-centered that I forget to think about other people who (apparently) love and care about me? How can I stay in touch with all those people who really deserve to be kept in touch?
Out of reach: So let’s start with the bad. You can not maybe stay in touch with all those people who really deserve to be kept in touch. I am sorry.
If your group of friends is as strong as you suggest – and congratulations on turning 30 and still having friends at every stage of life – the physical universe we currently inhabit simply doesn’t have enough. hours a day to work, rest and train and eat and hobbies and consume and love and then stay connected with 20 best friends.
Also, since your friends come from separate places in your life, I assume there is a separate dynamic within each group as well. Like maybe, for example, your relationships with your friends from college – whom you met as an adult – are different from your relationships with the friends who have known you since you were in third grade. Just thinking about the work and bandwidth required to be mindful and mindful of all these distinctions within your friendships makes me tiredness.
But here is the good news! Well, it’s not necessarily good new. But it gives food for thought, at least. No one else can either! All your friends – at least those who have as many friends as you have – are also struggling.
Sure, their struggles might not be as noticeable, but you can probably attribute that to our strange cultural commitment to the performance of ease, where we offer the world snapshots of our lives that project supinity instead of supineness. reality. Most of us, however, barely hover in place, just like you, but pretend to swim, as you wish. That doesn’t make you a bad friend. Just, unfortunately, an adult.
I have two tips for you. First, you need to do a rating on each of your friends. Not to measure their “value” as a friend, but to know what is necessary to maintain the relationship. For example, in my (many, many) small group of close friends, there are some with whom I communicate several times a week, some with whom we speak perhaps once a month, and one with whom we let’s see once a year. Not all friendships can survive once a year, but no relationship is unique, and I think it would be helpful for you (and them) if you made adjustments to the frequency of interactions based on who has. need what . (Also, do each of these friends make a constant effort to connect with you? If the answer is no, that doesn’t necessarily make them a bad friend. Just someone who walks like you. As we we all.)
Before you even do anything, though, I want you to give yourself some grace. The fact that you have so much anxiety about whether you are a good friend means that you are a good friend. And I hope your friends cherish your relationship with them as much as you do.
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Do you have an uncomfortable question? Seek advice from columnist Damon Young, who is comfortable with the uncomfortable.
He is the author of “What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Blacker: A Memoir in Essays”, which won the 2020 Thurber Prize for American Humor. He is also co-founder of the culture blog VerySmartBrothas and has contributed opinion writing for The New York Times and columnist for GQ. He has written for Atlantic, Esquire, NY Mag, The Undefeated, Ebony and Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Young is the creator and host of a podcast with Crooked Media.
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