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Feeling Like a Bad Friend


#1

Lately, I’ve been feeling like I’m not good enough for anybody in my life.

I went and had coffee with an old friend the other day and someone I was once close with felt incredibly distant. There were frequent awkward pauses in conversation, and I was just stupified at how I just couldn’t find anything to say to someone I once shared a majority of my time with.

Besides that, I feel like a horrible friend to everyone else in my life. I’m at a point in my life where I know what I feel and can rationally think it out and talk it out with myself, but God forbid I try and talk to anyone else about it. Whenever I attempt that, I almost instantaneously feel like a burden and a bad friend. I’m supposed to be the listener and the one who helps. The one who has his shit together. Not the other way around. I lift those around me up all the time, but whenever I share how I feel, I can’t help but think that I’m just yanking them back down to a level they shouldn’t have to deal with. They have their own struggles, they shouldn’t have to be bothered with mine.

There are times where shutting up and just burying it sounds more appealing than putting it out there and potentially ruining someone’s day. But, when I do that, I shut down and close myself off, which makes me distant to the people I care about which in turn convinces me I’m a bad friend. I’m not there for those who need me, at least not at that moment. The worst part is, I know it’s bad for me but I can’t seem to break out of the cycle. I always just say “I’m good!” or “I’m fine!”. I don’t want to hide from my friends. It’s just that I don’t know how not to. It’s impossible for me to share my feelings without having an anxiety attack. Just the other week I opened myself up to someone and I had that tight feeling in my chest and the shakes. Even typing this out, there are tears welling up in my eyes.

I want to stop living like this and hiding. I just don’t know how.


#2

Hey Ryan!

Sometimes people grow apart and it hurts - I know. My best friend of 13 years turned into someone I couldn’t associate myself with safely, so I had to cut that relationship off. The first meeting after a while of not seeing each other can be a little rough - try not to look much into it.

It’s okay that you’re struggling and unable to be that solid support for other people, I’m still learning that it’s okay to put my needs first too. You say that you can’t talk about how you’re feeling or share on your thoughts, yet, here you are, doing exactly that.
The fact you KNOW it’s bad for you is good - sometimes we don’t even see that far. You could try and copy what you’ve written here into a message to your friends? Write them a letter? There are other ways of communicating if talking to them in person is too much. I do that with my best friend - we don’t get to see each other often, but I find it easier to communicate through text, and she understands that. If you guys are going through similar things, you can help each other, rather than it having to be a one-way thing. I’m sorry I don’t have anything better to suggest to you right now, but I hope this helps you even a little bit to know you’re not alone, and you’re not stupid for feeling this way. You’re loved and you’re doing the right thing by being honest with us.

Hold Fast
Kayla


#3

Ryan,

Thank you so much for your post. Made a short video to give you some encouragement. You are so loved, and I am incredibly proud that you found the courage to post here. Hold fast friend.

Matt, from twoguys1couch


#4

Well said Matt. Ryan hope you are able to find a way to talk more open with your friends! You matter and your friends will understand.


#5

Hi Ryan,

I just want you to know that your post really hit home for me. Just recently I had dinner with one of my best friends, and it felt so awkward. I was struggling because she is my best friend, has been since we were 7. But it felt like I was talking to a coworker. I felt fake and forced. And for my situation and your situation it could be one of a couple different things. First maybe your friend knows you’re struggling, and doesn’t really know what to say to you. Maybe your friend thinks something is up, but thinks your mad at her. Or maybe you guys are growing apart. People do change and make new friends. All of those things are possible. But what I don’t want you to do is to generalize that relationship into all of the other relationships in your life. Because the people in your life who are there love you and don’t see you as a burden at all. They love you and they want to help you. Trust me, I am so good at pretending everything is OK.
I remember being in high school and I convinced myself I didn’t need help because one of my other really good friends was struggling. My depression told me that her life was worth more than mine and I just needed to help her and I wasn’t worth being helped. That was such a messed up way of thinking. But it’s what my brain told me. I remember talking about how I felt with Nate a long time ago in a really old post of mine. He told me something that I think you should really hear too. Opening up and being vulnerable and saying you are struggling does not make you weak. It will not make those who love you and who confide in you to not want to confide in you anymore. They won’t stop seeing you as somebody who can help them, who listens to them, and he loves them. Yes, some things might change, but when you open up and are honest with them, they will be encouraged by your honesty. They’ll hear your story and possibly be encouraged to get help themselves. I can’t promise that every single friend will understand, but I can promise that there will be people who surprise you. And I can promise you beyond the moon and beyond the stars that being honest and talking to your good friends and the people who care about you is better than keeping that all inside. Because when you keep it inside it will eat you from the inside out.
But what about feeling like a burden? What about the feelings of regret after you open up to someone? That’s actually a thing in psychology. I’m not exactly sure what it’s called, you could probably look it up. Because I actually have the same thing and I talk to my therapist about it and she said that it’s anxiety. I wish I could remember what it’s called but there’s actually a term for it. Honestly, what helps is just being honest and open and proving yourself wrong. Does that make sense? Like opening up to your friend and realizing that in the next conversation she’s telling you about being depressed after a break up. Or it’s talking to your other friend about what you’re struggling with and they work to find ways to make you laugh. It’s all about rewiring and reworking your brain and it sucks and it’s hard and I know you’re probably going to read that and be like “well that’s good for you but it’s not for me!” But your brain is lying to you because it is meant for you. Like I said, your post really struck home for me because I have been avoiding talking to my own friends and your post kind of put a mirror up to my own situation. So thank you for opening up on here. You are strong. And you are loved.


#6

I agree what @IAmCassie said. Especially avoiding friends. I don’t want to be a burden to them. That’s not true. They do care about me. I need to open up and share of what I am going through.

@RyanSummers Thank you for sharing. I can relate too. I want to be the guy who has everything figured out, but that’s not okay. I am putting too much pressure on myself. Neither should you. If you feel like you are distant with an old friend, maybe you should take time for yourself. There’s nothing wrong with it. Once you feel better, you can talk to your friend of what’s going on. Take it easy, my friend.


#7

Hey Ryan.

You are good enough.

I understand these feelings a lot. Just know they are not truths.

You are valued. And loved. And important.

-lys