What Makes Me a Horrible Friend

Horrible Friend

Photo “Two” courtesy Nils van Rooijen, Creative Commons

I’m a horrible friend. I only want your friendship for your kind words so that I can feel affirmed. I only want your friendship for your favors so that I can do less work or spend less money. I only want your friendship for those one-sided conversations that make me feel less lonely as I completely neglect your goings-on.

I’m a horrible friend. I hate texting you and calling you and otherwise trying to squeeze you into my weekly self-absorbed schedule. I’ve ignored your texts and calls and bothersome voicemails. I only want your friendship when it’s convenient, which might be once a week or once a month or maybe even once a year.

I’m a horrible friend. I forget your birthday and I forget your special event you kept bubbling about and I forget to pray for your personal thing I promised I’d be praying about. Additionally, I get really upset and angry when you forget about me and my many ongoing issues.

I’m a horrible friend. I’d rather not get involved with your messy life because my own life is messy enough for me to handle. I’m an introvert, after all, so I can only take so much of you. My innate introversion is always my excuse to distance myself.

I’m a horrible friend. I don’t know how to fix any of your problems, so I’d rather just ignore you and ignore them and pretend none of it exists. Our friendship is just so much easier that way, don’t you agree?

I’m a horrible friend. I judge you for all your questionable decisions because I’m quite certain I’d never make those same mistakes. I’m stronger and wiser and better than you, and you should follow my example some time.

I’m a horrible friend. I’ve abandoned you before you could abandon me. I’ve assumed the worst in you. I’ve felt sure you’d be an awful person.

I’m a horrible friend. If I’d been there for you, none of this mess would have happened. Instead, I fled. I couldn’t take it. I couldn’t take you. When you needed me most, I was nowhere to be found.

I’m a horrible friend. Looking back on my fault-ridden life, I know this to be true.

I’m a horrible friend. And I’m so sorry. More than anything, I don’t want this to be my legacy.

  • David Martin

    That’s right, you horrible friend you. Good thing there’s grace because I’m pretty sure I’m no better. Thanks for being an unhorrible friend.

  • I’m pretty sure this is why God created the act of forgiveness. Our relationships, no matter how great they be, are still inherently broken because our relationship with our creator is broken. So what you’ve described in this post is what I think most people feel in their relationships. I know I feel pretty inadequate when I see a Facebook reminder of a birthday of a close friend and I realize for the third time I wasn’t proactive and honestly forget their birthday was quickly approaching. Or when I don’t call my best friend for months just because the phone makes me anxious. Relationships, I think, are meant to challenge us in the best way possible and while they can make us feel crummy, they can also help us step up to the plate, lean on God, and do our best to be the friends and brothers and sisters we’re called to be.

    Your friends extend you grace and forgiveness, Tom. The ones who don’t? Well, unless you kicked their dog or left a severed horse head in their bed, I don’t think they are probably the type of people who are ready for real friendship. The best (and worst) part about relationships is the constant call to forgive and extend grace.

    • Solid thoughts about forgiveness and relationships. There’s so much relational brokenness out there, and I’m experiencing it hardcore right now. Placing hope in the “real friendship” you described. Thanks so much for sharing, Katie. You’re awesome.

  • This post really struck a chord with me. Truth is, I’m also a horrible friend.

    My friends (God bless their generous, exaggerating hearts) would insist I’m not a bad friend, but I am. I like friendship when it’s convenient; otherwise, it’s a chore. I sometimes resent giving up hours of my schedule to spend with people, and I’m almost completely out of touch with many friends.

    I care deeply for my friends. I would like to think I’m not completely disinterested or incompetent when it comes to friendships. My friends are scattered across various faraway places, and I’m totally an introvert. It’s okay that I’m not the most outgoing guy in the world. Right? Right?!

    Notwithstanding my excuses, I’m a lousy friend. Take heart, Tom. You’re not alone.

    • I feel ya, Adam. Can definitely resonate with that feeling of friendship as a “chore.” Not always, but many times, yes. I also have friends scattered everywhere, so it makes it challenging to stay in touch sometimes.

      And YES, it’s okay you’re not the most outgoing guy in the world. Way okay.

  • Marshall R

    Tom, as I said elsewhere, it is good to face facts and admit where your friendships fall short, but don’t lose hope. As a Christian, you have the Spirit of Christ living in you, so I am praying your friendships will be characterized by Christ showing others His love through you. 1 Cor 13 describes that love: unselfish, forgiving, patient, enduring, full of hope. Real love motivates genuine acts of spiritual service and sacrifice. I am looking forward to hearing how God redeems this!

  • foglight11

    Thank goodness for some of my horrible friends. They have often been there without meaning to just when I need them. I am a terrible friend. I am far more concerned about taking care of myself and being friends on my schedule. I hope I have been there for them in the way that they’ve been there for me, too.

  • Jack

    Ouch.

  • I’m a horrible friend, too, Tom. As some of the other comments have suggested, thank God for grace. Thank God for horrible friends who struggle together to learn how to be better friends. Thank God that He shows us how not to be horrible friends. Thank you for this dose of reality and conviction.

  • Pingback: What Makes You an Incredible Friend | Thomas Mark Zuniga()

  • Bryon

    I’m a great friend. In fact, I always thought so and that others should get a clue. If I could advertise with a billboard, it would say, “Greatest friend in the world; PLEASE call me!” Over the years, I found out people don’t want a friend that gets upset that they don’t see what a great friend I am and that I expected something for it. Truth is, most people are lousy friends SOME of the time, and some people are lousy friends MOST of the time, but everyone is a friend a one time. I don’t take people’s shortcomings so seriously and I’m not so needy any more, which helps. I think as we all grow in our minds, attitudes and generosity we can model what being a good friend looks like, which I try to do and invest when I can. I don’t rely on those who can’t and I find those to rely on who can. I think friendship is the toughest part of relationship, because it is the building blocks of all relationships and it starts when we are very young. I remind people all the time though that being shy and being an introvert are two totally different things. Just as being selfish and being busy are two different things. The joy comes from giving what you know someone can’t give back. Perhaps you are a receiver in this time, but now…a year later, things have changed. I would love to hear how your road trip changed things for you.

    By the way, I’m terrible at making paragraphs. Hope it doesn’t drive you crazy. I also hate proofreading.