20 May 2010

Bad Friend = Good Friend?

Yesterday I narrowly avoided a "Bad Friend" moment. This situation occurs when there has been no contact on my behalf for over two weeks, and most nights end with the thought "Oh bum, I meant to phone.... but I forgot. I'll do it tomorrow." Not so drastic as it might have seemed at the start, but when you live very far from your close friends, strict rules need to be in place to avoid such moments.

It is very easy to creep into Bad Friend territory. A hard day at work, followed by a late dinner. Then the tv goes on, and before you know, its 10pm and much to late for a phone call (unless you are happy to start your conversations with "its ok, no one has died")

Or there is the ever so subtle, "I'm not going to phone him/her. He/she hasn't phoned me in ages" In certain circumstances, this is an adequate reason (i.e. all contact in the past 12 months has been made by you only, and when you do call, 10 minutes is needed to remind them who you are and how you know them) But it is very likely that your friend is equally getting caught up in Bad Friend moments of their own, so it would be very unfair to blame them for something that you are not able to manage yourself.

Bad Friend moments are only applicable to certain friends. Within groups of friends, there are some that will carry a Bad Friend potential and some that will not. And with those that do, the length of time before you hit Bad Friend will vary. (This seems to be my experience. Friends, please correct me if I am wrong!) So long as you can maintain the right level with each friend, and they with you, then it doesn't really matter if you speak to friend A every week, friends B & C every two or three weeks, friends D, E & F on a monthly basis, and everyone else when you manage to come together for the requisite amount of time.

As an example, I recently went back to where most of my friends belong for a few days and saw my really close friends twice, my family twice and some other friends once. I also managed to see two old school friends; one who I had seen at Christmas, and one I hadn't seen for two years. By the time the end of my visit had arrived, no-one had said "Why haven't I seen you since so and so", but lots of people had said "It was good to see you"

So, in conclusion, I find that the stricter I am with labelling myself a Bad Friend, the better I am at maintaing my status of Good Friend. Not "Best, most fabulous friend" maybe. But there is certainly nothing wrong with being a called a Good Friend.


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