My dear friend. I love you. I think the world of you, and I enjoy talking with you. But I need to be honest with you.
Sometimes I cannot deal with your anxiety….because I have a lot of anxiety of my own.
I don’t mind getting texts or phone calls from you. I love our conversations. But when you send five, ten or twenty texts one right after the other about the same issue that’s bugging you out, sometimes I can’t deal.
I know you need someone to talk to, someone to listen to your fears or concerns. Sometimes, you just need to vent or talk the issue(s) out with a friend so you can get reassurance or advice. But when I give you reassurance and you keep going on and on and on, some days I have to walk away and tune out for a bit. I either don’t respond to you anymore, I change the subject, or I text you with, “Hang in there! Got to go–one of the kids needs me. Talk soon!” or something similarly generic.
I am here for you, really I am. But please know that I have a ton of anxieties of my own that I’m dealing with on a daily basis. I worry about whether my husband’s plane landed OK this morning. I worry if I’m a good enough mother and wife (and friend). I freak out because I’m sure I’m not going to get to an appointment on time. I get nervous when I haven’t heard from my mom for a week because I’m sure I must have said or done something wrong.
We all have crap we are dealing with. As much as I want to be there for you as a friend, my crap needs to take priority.
When you send me text after text worrying about why your sister hasn’t called you, or your voice message freaking out over whether or not your son made the soccer team, or the after-work calls asking me over and over if I think your boss is mad at you because you got to work late again…and I don’t respond or I change the subject, it’s not that I don’t care about you.
It’s that my plate is pretty full of anxiety-producing problems today and I can’t really spend the day listening to and focusing my energy on all of what’s on your plate.
When I have cleared a little bit of space on my plate, of course I’ll take you out for lunch, go for a walk with you, or grab a glass of wine one evening so you can throw all your anxieties out there. We are friends, and I care about you. Just know that today, I might have to many of my own issues to be able to handle yours too.