Sometimes I find myself thinking about the people I’ve let down over my lifetime.
There’s one guy in particular that crossed my mind one night recently when I couldn’t sleep. I was friends with him probably seven years ago, but we’d talk on and off for years past that. He would call and text me and we’d catch up about our now entirely separate lives. He had an exciting career, and had a really funny way of telling almost every story that kept me giggling and engaged throughout our conversations. Plus, keeping in contact with someone from that part of my life warmed the nostalgic bit of my heart.
Then the conversations got more and more in-depth. I learned all about his personal life, his relationships, his struggles with his body and how it affected how he interacted with women and people in general. He confided in me because he trusted me and we had build that confidence in each other slowly over time.
I was his sounding board, and he was mine. He came to me over and over again with the same problems. He told me details of his life that I would never have expected, nor do I believe he told many other people. Our conversations began to turn from sometimes addressing our problems to being entirely riddled with his personal issues. I couldn’t get a word in unless it was weighing in on his reality. I was exhausted from repeating the same, depressing conversations.
I was sinking under the weight of my own bullshit, and his problems anchored me underwater. Drowning under the weight of our collective needs, I cracked.
I stopped responding to him.
I ghosted my friend of years.
When he popped into my head recently, I searched my phone so I could look at our texts. I had deleted a lot of them (deleting the evidence makes it easier to ignore), but the ones that remained were him asking why I wasn’t responding, wondering what he did to bother me and if everything was okay. It’s painful looking back at those messages now. I bailed hard on him.
I consoled myself by saying that I was young when I abandoned him. We all make mistakes as we learn how to be fully functioning adults. Then I checked the date, and — well, let’s just say that it was only a year ago. I have no excuses. I knew I wasn’t handling my concerns with the turn of our friendship like a mature human.
I considered reaching back out to apologize about ingratiating himself to me, opening him up and then ignoring him. I feel terrible about it. But then I didn’t reach out to him. I might one day, but selfishly I ask myself:
Am I ready to help him carry his baggage?
Do I really want to take on more water right now?
Is now a good time for me to deal with more drama?
And the answer to that is: no.
If I’m going to be a friend, I don’t want to be a shitty one. And in this case, I couldn’t be a good friend. I ran out of energy, and after a year I still haven’t replenished my drive to emotionally support him. I like to make a world in my head where he’s forgotten all about me, he’s severely happy and everything he confided in me about has resolved itself. Yes, I’m lying to myself and I know it.
I hurt someone and I have to live with that. And that’s tough to swallow.