Does My Friend Kind of Suck?
Papi, I don't want to lose them, but they're a flake
This column is for paid subscribers to ¡Hola Papi! As a paid subscriber, you can read all the columns, leave comments, and send me a letter with a better chance of being answered! Either leave it in the comments or send it to firstname.lastname@example.org and note up top you are a paid subscriber.
I have a small circle of friends, and a particularly small part of the circle (me, N, and M) have been each dealing with our own problems. I do tend to play therapist for my friends, which is not exactly imposed by people, it just organically happens (I’m not very good at setting boundaries).
For the past year or so, N has dealt with a pretty intense situation with a former colleague. I have supported them a lot (and was happy to do that), by which I mean 3 am calls, typing out a case with our workplace’s HR, walking from building to building (or staying on the phone with them while they walk) to make sure they felt safe. I’m not going to downplay the situation. Iit was pretty traumatic for them, and there was a serious question of safety.
As things resolved with HR, and their colleague is no longer allowed at their workplace, they’ve been reemerging socially. However, it feels like N is not making a lot of effort to follow through with plans they made with M and I. They have a long history of bailing on plans, and over the past year it was understandable, especially in terms of actually going out due to their safety concerns. They’re definitely a workaholic, and over the past few weeks have gone out with their coworkers multiple times to get shit-faced, texting both of us about their night the morning after. M and I haven’t seen them in like 5 months, and N has bailed on plans (some they’ve even initiated) several times. The plans have typically been very low-key hangouts, which makes it even more frustrating.
Overall, I feel like I’ve built some resentment towards them for this. I’ve known them for so long, and I don’t think this is necessarily worth throwing away a friendship for, but I also don’t know how to approach it. It’s difficult and a little painful, because I don’t want to resent N, and honestly I’m feeling pretty lonely. What also sucks is that N’s phone is constantly on Do Not Disturb. They take days to text back and never answer their phone. It just feels like they’re never there when I’m dealing with my own shit and need someone to talk to. It sucks, and I have no idea what to do.
Any advice is appreciated.
Ditched & Deserted
Hey there, D&D!
Do Not Disturb is so funny to me. Like, I know you’re on your phone. All of you are always on your phone. “Delivered quietly” is so silly. Are you doing surgery? Are you at church? I think I will turn mine on just to cultivate an air of mystery. I know some people “have jobs,” but still, it tickles me.
Regardless, it sounds like you need to have a conversation with N. I can understand dropping the friendship ball. Sometimes I get so hyper-focused on a project, or I get depressed, or I just can’t muster the energy, and I go quiet. I don’t reply to texts, and I bail on plans. I think I’ve been N many, many times to many, many people!
But I also know that regardless of my reasons, friendships require communication and effort. Not watering my plants because of my chronic depression is understandable, but the plants are still going to wilt. If N doesn’t put any energy into your dynamic, then the dynamic will peter out.
On your end, though, you could voice all of this to N. You are very clear about what’s bothering you in your letter. Your friendship with N matters to you, but you feel neglected at a time when you’re already experiencing loneliness. You don’t want to resent or lose them. What’s keeping you from articulating that to them?