How not to be a friend.

I have always blithely said to people I have met in my life ” I’m rubbish at keeping in touch.” I let people fall out of my life because they are not geographically close enough, or because we don’t have much in common ( let’s be honest here, they don’t knit or appreciate knitted things), or -and this one mainly- because I don’t think I’m cool enough to be thier friend. I still have that hang over from school of there being grades of cool and the tough thing is that no one tells you what grade you’ve made. In the real and grown up world friends are all ages sizes, levels of cool and if someone is happy to spend time with you then don’t write yourself out of thier life because you’re second guessing how they feel about you.

I have been a rubbish friend on every level and this week it has been brought home to me what that can really mean.

One of my mates from uni has passed away. When I knew him he was such a cool guy. We both loved archaeology and we would sit up for hours chatting over the interesting things we’d read recently, and how some new cool thing had been found under Rome, or in the Temple of Dendra, or wherever we wished we were digging that week.

Then life happened and he and his wonderful wife, also a great friend of mine, had children and grew up whilst I was still living in a garage and dreaming of adventures I’d never make happen because really I’m happy being an armchair archaeologist. I watched thier social media feeds fill up with the thousand joys and struggles that come with a family all of your own, and even though I had time I didn’t visit and rarely got in contact. Then I had a family and I didn’t have time but still I watched, I rejocyed with them in good times, and broke my heart for them when some news of the hard times they were having leached on to the squares in my Instagram feed. I metaphorically jumped with joy and felt not a little pang of jealousy when my mate got a job as an actual real life archaeologist after years of desk jobs and that’s as far as it went. I was busy, so busy, new baby, toddler, moving house, less time on my hands then I thought possible – is minus time an actual thing, am I actually so busy I’m also using up a bit of my life from the future, when I get there they’ll be a sign up saying ‘all used up in 2017-18 – and then I get a call. Very kindly his wife didn’t want me to find out on social media and I am beyond grateful that she thought to call me because I didn’t deserve it. He had gone. I hadn’t be there for either of them in the last few years other then sending useless messages through Instagram, stupid little heart emojis instead of, calling, writing, doing something human and now I wouldn’t get the chance again.

This then is my self indulgent justification of my own crappness, and my injunction to you if you’re like me and reading this, send a message get an address, write a real letter, make a real phone call, cause if you were friends, you are friends. Friends are more than pictures in a phone and they need to know that. Keep in touch cause one day you might get the chance for a big adventure and the one person you knew who would love hearing about it the most is no longer there.

I am not going to advertise this post. It is in no way about knitting so it won’t be of interest to anyone who made it here because of that. In some ways I don’t really want it to be read, but I do want it to be out there in the world. If you have read it thank you for your time, now (in the politest possible way) get away from your screen and go and do something human.

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How not to be a friend.

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