An Apology to All the Friends I’ve Failed

I’ve been writing a lot of deep posts lately and this one definitely falls into that vein. It’s something I’ve been contemplating about writing for quite a few weeks now yet have always found other posts to write, instead.

Well, here goes nothing.

Some backstory is in order before the actual apology happens. I’ve always been the introverted extrovert/extroverted introvert juxtaposition, where one day I am completely re-energized when I have ten events planned and am surrounded by hundreds of people, yet the next day, the very thought of interacting with another person makes me want to crawl further down into a hole where hopefully no one will notice me. I think both sides of my personality are awesome and I embrace them. I love getting to know people and having hang out sessions where we talk and snack for hours on end. Chilling like this rejuvenates me. Yet some of my all-time favorite things–reading, writing, playing videogames–are all very solitary activities. And I’ve found, as I’ve grown older, that I am more prone to leaning towards my introverted side than embracing my extroverted side. I’m not sure where that switch happened, or why, but that’s true now. And it’s important to recognize, especially as I think about the friends I’ve had and the ones I’ve lost.

You see, I’m at a point in my life right now where I really don’t actually have that many friends. And that sort of scares me. I’m 23, graduated college a year ago and just started a new job, about to move out of the ‘rents house and into my own apartment. It’s not like that is a recipe for not having friends, but the friend groups that I did have–and I was lucky enough, in most stages of my life, to be part of an actual, close-knit group–have all sort of fallen apart, for various reasons (the usual culprit is us moving on from one milestone in our lives to another). And I don’t think, in many of these situations, that I am at fault or they are at fault for the friendship to sort of dissipate away. It happened and that’s okay.

But I do want those people who have impacted my life so deeply to know why, at least on my end, the friendship disappeared.

And the reasons I’m writing this out and posting it on my blog instead of reaching out to these individuals falls into my veins. I have become way more introverted. It’s more comfortable to stay in my own shell and write this to a wide audience and then those who want to talk about it can reach out to me. Is that selfish? Perhaps. But it’s also a protective thing. Because as I start writing out my apology to each group of friends, there are specific people I have in mind; specific people I wish I was brave enough to reach out to and, in the frankest sense, ask them if we could rekindle our friendship. But I also fear rejection. I fear that they might not miss our relationship as much as I do and thus are okay with just being acquaintances like we are now. Because there are also people who will fall into these apologies that I am actually totally okay with not renewing our closeness. Because sometimes, friendships do fade and there are no hard feelings regarding that fading. And that is totally okay. Yet I feel like all the friends I am talking to below deserve an explanation and an apology for why my switch to being more introvert than extroverted might have cost us our friendship; or why I think our friendship ended and yet I’m okay with that fact.

That explanation is here.

High School Crew: Damn if we don’t have some amazing memories. I can’t listen to Tobuscus’s LITERAL trailer for Assassin’s Creed without thinking of us singing it all from memory at the zoo. I still have letters you wrote me saved in a memory box. You guys were some of the first real, true, raw friends that I ever had. Our group started in middle school and expanded as we grew older and I loved you all. Once we got to college, we all pretty much went our separate ways and had our separate adventures. And the group fell apart naturally, despite remembering how adamant I was to my Mom, a few weeks before high school graduation, that we were too strong for that. We’d beat the odds and stay as close as we then, forever. That didn’t happen. And that is okay. But there are a few of you, in particular, that I wish I would have tried harder with; texted more often, wrote more letters when I said I would, commented on more photos, anything to keep that friendship truly thriving. Three of you, in particular, I wish I still had as a constant presence in my life, to this day. You are such amazing and inspiring women that I look up to, still; women that I compare myself to and find myself wanting, and not in a bad way, but instead, I want to improve myself and be the inspirational, Godly women that you all are. And I wish I would have given you more priority, when it really mattered, so perhaps that closeness wouldn’t have been lost during our new adventures.

To all of you, however: the memories I cherish, the friendships were some of the best of my life and I wish you nothing but happiness, always.

 First Year of College Quartet: You four were lifesavers freshmen year. People say they have friends they couldn’t have survived without and you four were it. I struggled a lot that first year of college, between figuring out who I was, dealing with an alcoholic roommate and trying to adjust to the coffee life. And you guys were there for it all. You let me come chill in Ellsworth so I could escape from my own dorm. Meeting up for dinner and catching up on the day’s events together are some of my fondest memories. I’m not sure why I let you all drift away; why I didn’t hold onto you tighter as we moved up the ranks throughout college. And again, I regret that I didn’t do a better job balancing everything and keeping you four a priority. I miss you guys, but I know you all are doing well and doing great things and that is enough.

My RA Circle: So many people made my three years as an RA an amazing time. I miss all of you a ridiculous amount, especially as I’m back working at KU and many of you are gone. It doesn’t feel right. But oh man, the memories. The late night basketball-court-soccer-matches. The rant sessions regarding our residents. Study parties, movie nights, dinners at E’s and college basketball camping. My college experience was great because of you all. Again, I follow the trend of letting friendships slip away instead of putting the work into them that I should have. But as we got older, I started valuing my writing more and started putting that first. And I didn’t always do a good job explaining why that was so much more important to me than going to watch a movie with everyone. Or why I had to get eight hours of sleep and go to bed at midnight instead of going to that study party that lasted until three a.m. Usually, everyone was super understanding, but friendships were also lost because of these–and other–quirks and choices of mine. And I apologize for not communicating well enough to make you understand my choices and still keep our friendship intact.

There is another group, within this group, that actually inspired this post in the first place. I’ve always wanted to apologize to you all and make it clear that while we are no longer friends, there is no hard feelings on my side. I still appreciate all of you and I still cherish the times we did have as a group. I have also recognized that it is over. The drama of my senior year was something I didn’t expect and didn’t know how to handle. When one group split into two and you want to stay impartial and still be friends with both groups, that’s hard. It’s even harder when you’re freaking out about graduating college and realize you have no plans after walking down that hill, despite preparing for that moment your entire life. I tried my best to split my time between both groups and stay friends with both groups. But, at the same time, when one group has a new nickname that consists of a number that represents the number of people in that group–and I realize that number isn’t large enough to include me–it’s hard to keep putting in that effort. Instead, it was easier to just let go and avoid the drama. I was just so tired of drama. So that’s what I did. I never explained my rationale to any of you and I should have. I should have communicated why I suddenly stopped communicating. Why I stopped hanging out or going to events with you all. But in the moment, I was tired. I was struggling to figure out where to go next in life and I couldn’t do both. I just couldn’t. And I’m sorry. But I also hold nothing against any of you. I’m glad you have each other and I’m glad you’re still surviving as a friend group. That is awesome (and I know this is through writing, so it’s tone deaf, but I mean that). I wish you all the best.

The Friends That Have Stuck It Out: And finally, the few brave souls who have stuck it out with me. My longest friendship (whaddup 3rd grade). My truest soulmate (I love you, girl. You’re everything). The few gents I became friends with in college and for some reason, still put up with me. I admit this upfront: I’m not an easy person to be friends with. I’m weird. I have weird quirks. I’m nerdy. I’m emotional. I’m wishy washy, meaning that sometimes, we can go days without talking and I’m totally cool. Other days, I need you to text me multiple times a day to ensure that everything is okay and I’m not suddenly going to be friendless and live the rest of my life alone. I have close ties with my family, which is obviously not a bad thing. But I swear to something sacred, within this group (who are all pretty much separate people whom I hang out with individually, not as one collective group like the groups above), no matter what, when one of you asks to do something, so has everyone else. Or I have an event with my family. Or the one day of the week that I have actually made plans is the same day everyone else wants to hang out. This won’t stop happening, which makes me feel like I am shortchanging all of you, by constantly responding to invites with, “Sorry, I can’t, X, Y, Z EXCUSE.” Also, not going to lie, sometimes, I just can’t socialize when you ask me to. I have to be alone. And that’s not you. It’s totally me and I will try to be better.

This group, I just have to say thank you. Thank you for sticking it out with me. Thank you for inviting me to things that 90% of the time I can’t/won’t go to. Thanks for being understanding when I choose to write instead of be with you. Thank you for not taking it personally. Thank you for talking to me. And please, please continue to do these things, despite my difficulties and my failures as a friend. Continue to text me, talk to me, check up on me. Continue to invite me to hang out. Please, continue to let me be a presence in your life and you will still be a presence in mind (though I do need to amp up my game in that department).

Because looking at the past, at all the beautiful friendships I’ve been blessed to have, and looking where I am now, I’m scared.

We’re in the stage now where careers are starting. Engagements and marriages and, dare I say it, kids, are becoming more the norm than the rarity. This is the true moment where friendships are tested, as we move away from one another, get “real” jobs and start families. Just like I wish I could bring some people back into my life, I don’t want to lose the people that I have managed, somehow, to keep. Despite how busy we are. Despite how much everything is changing and how stressful this new stage in our lives are. I may be an introvert. I may cherish alone time and be counting down the days until my schedule switches to where I will be completely alone for longer than I am with people each day. I may be difficult, confusing, bad at communicating and fail often.

But dammit if I don’t need you.

Cheers.

PS: I know there are many of you who don’t fit into any of those categories. At the end of the day, if this apology touched you and you want to talk about it–whether you’re angry about how I’ve treated you or want to reconnect–don’t hesitate to reach out. My number is the same as it was in high school (though I’m definitely lost yours) and I check Facebook regularly…ish. Thank you for reading.

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About Nicole Evans

Nicole Evans is a writer of fantasy and science fiction. She is currently unpublished and is working fervently to get the “un” removed from that statement. She has five completed manuscripts: a trilogy about destined heroes that fail anyway, a science fiction standalone that pits the natural desire to love against the natural instinct to kill during the extinction of the human race and a new series about a writer who can't get published and gets the chance to live a life that all writers dream. She also has two scripts done. Currently, she is about to start writing the second of a nine book series while planning two more. (If you can tell, she really likes this whole writing thing.) Considering she has run out of space for putting rejections letters up on her wall, Nicole now uses her spare time doing the typical things that nerds do: blogging, dying repeatedly during video games (which she believes is retribution for the characters’ she’s killed), wishing she was the character she is currently reading about and trying to fight off the real world by living in her own head, with varying degrees of success. Nicole has a degree in Creative Writing and a minor in Film and Media Studies, and works part-time as a supervisor in a library at the University of Kansas. View all posts by Nicole Evans

2 responses to “An Apology to All the Friends I’ve Failed

  • Joyce C

    Sometimes I feel like you’re living in my head! I’m going through the same thing as you, and your post summed up what I’d like to say to the friends I’ve drifted apart from. Sometimes, it’s not that – it just simply is that we’ve all changed. Our needs have changed, our temperaments, the way we categorise the people in our lives, the way we divide our time and prioritise our things. And because of that, we drift apart from certain people – not because they failed us or we fell out. It’s just neglect that has accumulated over time, where each of us changed in our own ways and eventually became strangers. We can only be thankful for the times we shared, albeit brief.

    • inkstaind13

      I loved everything you just brought up. I’m sorry you’re going through the same thing, but at the same time, I think it is a natural process that happens, especially from the 15-30 age range, because so much is changing, like you said!

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