Maintaining friendships when you’re struggling

This is a difficult subject to talk about. Not one of the most difficult subjects to other people, but one of the most difficult subjects for me. Friendship.

The definition of friendship is as follows: ”The state of being friends” [1]. Not exactly the easiest definition to get your head around, but it is something that most people know about. They know how to describe it to themselves. They know what it feels like. A friendship, a companionship. A mutual bond between two people which makes them both happy and benefits them both. Unconditional, unselfish and entirely remarkable to each and every individual.

No two friendships are alike. For example: The friendship of great literary classics; Harry, Ron and Hermione, Hamlet and Horatio, Frodo and Sam, and who could forget Sherlock and John?

No two friendships are the same. Each are a mixture of various different things thrown into a cauldron, and the end result is something great.

Or so we wish it to be.

Friendships can be that way, although both individuals have to work hard in order to make such a thing happen. Often, I feel as if a friendship is one sided. I put so much hard work into it, and get nothing in return. It leaves you feeling useless, unwanted, uncared for and abandoned. I try in my own style of trying, but I never feel like it’s returned.

There are only a select few people that I would call friends. Whether that’s because I’m fussy, timid, or because I don’t regard friendships the same way everyone else seems to do.

When I call someone a friend, it is the highest title I can appoint to them (Bar best friend – that is reserved to one). I don’t trust many people, mostly because I have learned not to. I put my hopes into something and get excited, and a ‘friend’ would come along and dash those hopes and that feeling of excitement.

For the last few years, I have been feeling completely abandoned by my friends, bar a few. I have spent two birthdays on my own; completely miserable and upset. To describe the feeling is difficult. I made plans to go out, and the ones I planned it with all dropped out, one by one. ”We will do something another time” – That was stated a few years ago and nothing has happened yet. It only makes matters worse that I wanted to be swallowed up and for existence and pain to stop.

This year was better. I started an internship at work, and here is the wonderful thing – I can actually call them friendsThey actually give a damn.

Now when I write that, I don’t mean it all applies to my old friends (The lack of caring, the unfriendship behaviour). On the contrary, I have had  select few wonderful friends. Ones who make an effort and treat me like a friend. A human. However, I have had others who I worked so hard to maintain a friendship with, only to get nothing in return. Of course, I wasn’t perfect as a friend, but I did try. I was always waking up at 4 in the morning to comfort a friend when they were upset. Also, if I wasn’t suffering a lot and hiding from the world to try and forget that I exist, I was looking out for them and comforting them. I was going out for most of their birthdays, I was trying. I was trying so hard to pretend to be normal and try and act well, only to get even more unwell in the process.

I put my life and soul into trying to be a good friend. Yes, there were many times when I would disappear off the face of the earth, when I would stay silent and have my phone turned off. Or avoid nights out. Although, I never did those things to be malicious. I did it because I was suffering and hurting, I didn’t know what else to do except pretend not to exist. I never meant to hurt those friends or disappoint them and it tears me up inside with guilt to think I have.

I was, and am, a rubbish friend. But fucking hell, I try.

I try so hard that when they abandon me on my own birthday, or don’t bother to message to see if I’m alive or not, that it breaks me hard inside and makes me feel like I haven’t tried hard enough.

Not all of them do it, but the ones who have hurt me. They’ve made it so that I reject new friendships and don’t trust others, because I don’t want to be let down again.

They’ve hurt me, and they still do. They do with everyday that they do not bother to even message and see how I’m doing, despite having told them how I’m struggling, or even pop-up to say hello and ask about work – even acknowledge me or treat me like a friend.

I have made a point of telling my friends that I am struggling. I think that talking breaks the stigma and opens opportunities for them, and others, to talk too. I don’t want sympathy, or overcrowding. That’s not why I talk about it. Although, it does hurt that, even though I’ve told them, they haven’t bothered to even ask how I am, or even ask to go for a walk for a catch up.

I hid for years, as I mentioned above. Maybe it’s my fault. Maybe I drove them away. But I did explain that I needed time to myself. Or that when I wasn’t feeling bright, I disappeared. It’s too difficult to describe the pain, as well as the confusing mix of emptiness that I feel inside. You would need to describe it as a black hole, which sucks all motivation and happiness from you. Which makes you want to disappear and stop feeling. I don’t know how to describe it. Although, I did feel it.

Which makes the feeling of not being cared for, for being abandoned and unwanted even worse.

If any of them even bother to read this, I’m sure they will give off for me being honest and point out all my flaws, but fuck it. I need to say it. This is not aimed at anyone in particular. Although, to those (I’ve not left any names) who have hurt and abandoned me, and I only hope they realise who they are. I see them as friends still, because I can’t let go, but I know even bothering is futile.

I’m not feeling the best to write a happy post about friendship, rather, I am feeling the same cesspool of emptiness and loneliness that I feel so often. (And no, just going out doesn’t make it go away)

Nevertheless, I do feel that I owe it to a few people who have made my life better. Those who are helping me recover, those who make me feel a little better and feel like they care for me. I owe it to them to write an unnamed thank you.

To the interns at work: Thank you. Before meeting you all, I felt worse than I do now. I was just going through the motions, and I still am. However, our chats at work, our random nights to a bar, our tea breaks, our lunches, and your wonderful caring messages help me to get from one day to the next. You all wished me a happy birthday and even came when nearly all of my other friends left me. Even just being there and having a laugh has made life somewhat more tolerable. I will never be able to repay you for caring, for being there and for being yourselves.

To my friend, and fellow sufferers, who messages me to say hello and check on how I am: Thank you. You truly don’t know how much your hellos and inquiries into how I’m doing make me feel. You take time out of your day to talk to me and to make me smile. You make me feel cared for, supported and I can never repay you with all the kindness and support that you’ve given me.

To my fellow blogger: I haven’t even had this blog a month yet and you’ve shown me more support than most of my friends have in years. You read, you like, you comment, and you let me read your posts on your own struggles. You’ve inspired me, and while I constantly feel like giving up blogging or writing at all, it’s your posts which give me the courage to speak out and help me feel some clarity when I need it most. Thank you for writing, thank you for following and supporting. You really are wonderful.

To my favourite young mother: I don’t want to mention names to act like I’m singling people out or attacking anyone, because that is not my intention. My intention is to admit to how I feel and how devastating it feels to me. You might never even read this or my blog, but if you do, I want to say thank you. You have two children of your own and you are still a wonderful friend to me. We don’t speak as often as we should. Sometimes we can go months without talking, but when we do, you are one of the most caring people and so kind. You have children, yet, you take time out of your day every so often to talk and to invite me out. I don’t always go, mostly because I don’t think I would be welcome with the others. However, you try to include me and you ask about myself and others, this shows how kind and loving you are.

To my university friends: You are brilliant. It’s hard to put into words how much you’ve helped me to appreciate things. We’ve known each other since our first day of university, and even when summer comes, we still chat. We’ve gone out on some adventures together, whether it is to eat lunch at Four Star Pizza, going to the Christmas market, or eating it outside the castle near the university, or perhaps even our odd nights out. You’ve given me advice which has helped a lot, supported me and gave me tips. You’ve even asked how I’m keeping and removed me from situations when things were getting too stressful. You’ve reminded me to take breaks (maybe too many!), as well as provided a lot of laughs, which always makes the day brighter. Thank you for being there, especially when I need you most.

To my best friend: She knows who she is, I hope so anyway. I’ve told her a few times that she’s my best friend.I never appreciate this lady enough. Never taken a moment to realise how brilliant she is to have in my live. If I made a list of important people to me, she would be there. She’s very clever, tries to be unbiased, and she is very wise. That’s only a few things out of a thousand good things which she is. When I think of all of the literary best friends, she would have been mine. Even though she lives away for university, she is always there. Especially when those at home are not. No matter the time of day/night, no matter if she is out on holiday or just at work, she always takes time, especially when I need her most.

Perhaps, in the darkness around me, I’ve never taken time to truly appreciate what a brilliant best friend she is. I know I am not as good to her as she is to me, but she does inspire me to be a better person, even if she doesn’t think she is one herself. She is one person that I will never be able to repay; a person who has helped me survive. For that, I will give you a terrible thank you and let you know that I might never be able to repay you all the wonders you have given me.

To my readers: I need to mention my readers. This is not some attempt at boosting about readers. In fact, it’s a time to thank them. My readers are reasons that I keep my blog of self-expression online. If I didn’t have readers, I would feel like I wasn’t helping anyone out there. I wasn’t relating to anyone. When I log on and have a look at the views, it makes me feel heard, listened to, and even human. My readers are one of the people to thank because without even knowing it, my readers have supported me, they have helped me to express, to feel like I’m helping someone out there. They made me feel human. This is something I won’t ever be able to repay. Thank you. You moments of time which you took to read have helped more than you know.

There are a few others who I haven’t mentioned, but I do feel gratitude to. Maybe one day I will get to personally thank you all. For the moment, I have mentioned the ones who have impacted me most and have helped saved me and showed kindness, and humanity.





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  1. Such a good read, I had no idea about any of this, hope it’s better now.

    Liked by 1 person

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