Monday, 7 December 2009

What does it mean to be a friend?

The other day I was apologising to a friend for having to cancel our much-anticipated, long-overdue get-together. The children were ill, hubby was away working and well, it just wasn't going to happen.

The thing is, she wasn't surprised.

"Oh, you're always cancelling", she said. "I never expect you to keep a date these days".

I should have been affronted, possibly even hurt. But I wasn't. Because it's true and she's right. I am always cancelling. I do always let people down. And despite endeavouring to make more of an effort every time it happens, I still don't seem to be able to do anything about it. I promised one friend I'd make plans to see them, ooh, about a year ago. I keep meaning to call another friend who's had a baby, but can't quite find the right moment. The list is, unfortunately, endless.

My friend went on, obviously having already spent time thinking about the likes of me.

"Pearl Lowe once said that you can only ever have two out of the three - friends, family and work. I'm still trying to challenge that and have all three."

"Crikey", I thought, "I'm struggling to have one..."

But it did make me think. Can we really have all three? Once children enter the equation, isn't it too much to ask for? Why do I always let people down? Why can't I keep a date? Is it just me?

And then it got me thinking about friendship and what it all means anyway. What does being a friend mean? Does it mean always being there for someone when they need you (not entirely practical when they're curled up on the sofa in an emotional mess needing a hug and you're a two-hour drive away wiping bottoms and changing nappies)? Or does it mean having had shared experiences? Knowing someone inside out? Enjoying their company? Or loving someone despite all their faults?

I'll tell you why I'm asking.

A very good friend of mine, (not the one above with a penchance for quoting Pearl Lowe) - Edie's godmother in fact, has recently decided that she doesn't want to be friends with me anymore. I know, I know. She's obviously completely crazy.

When I pressed her on her reasons why, she said,

"You're just a crap friend and you've cancelled the last four times we were meant to meet for what I can only see as a better offer".

A better offer? Well, possibly if you count having ill children, an absent husband and complete and utter exhaustion as better offers, then she may have a point.

I apologised, told her how sorry I was, offered to drive the hour and a half it takes to get to her house once my husband was around so he can pick up the children from nursery and school, but no. It seems I've let her down once too often.

I am, obviously, gutted, but given my circumstances, I really don't know how to redess the balance.

Here's the sob story.

My husband works away more often than he is at home. I never know when he's going to be away until a few days before. I have two small children who are 100% dependant on me. I have no family in the vicinity who can help out with childcare even in an emergency. What this means in terms of friendship is that even the best laid plans have to be cancelled if the children need me.

Does this make me a 'crap' friend?

I like to think it doesn't. And that when I do see friends I'm genuinely pleased to see them. I'm happy if they're doing well, caring if they're not. I'll offer advice, cake, cups of tea, just an ear. I'm interested to hear what they're doing. But I can't be there all the time. And that is no indication of how good a friend they are.

That's just the way it is.

And I'm sorry if that's not enough.


And just as a quick endnote - apologies to those of you who have commented on my previous two posts - I have been ridiculously busy at home and haven't had time to reply. But, I will do.

See - I'm a crap blogging friend as well.


I will make more of an effort. Just as soon as my children have grown-up and left home...


  1. This year I have been a poo friend. I haven't been able to answer the telephone, in fact I still have to summon up courage to do it.

    But, that doesn't mean I don't love people, like I say it just means sometimes it's too hard. For me depression and a baby have been my friend foes, but I'm begining to get back in the loop and am lucky to have friends who have stood by me, even though they don't have kids.

    My best friend is someone I know no matter how long we are out of touch we are always the same in touch.

    Either you will be friends again, or you will make a new one. No friend would want to be put above your family.

  2. (((HUGS))) I've discovered that it's next to impossible to be a *good* friend to my friends who don't have kids. It's no one's fault we just have different priorities. My friends with kids are a lot more forgiving about us suddenly pulling out of things due to illness, babysitting falling through etc. So as a result my best friends tend to be now people with kids - which is something I never ever thought would happen. It makes me incredibly sad, but I can't really see a way round it now :( So I know how you feel xx

  3. But darling, it's you being such a crap friend that has kept us together all these years!
    (Well, that and me being a crap friend too.)

  4. I've been a crap friend for years. I'm nearly 50 and have only just realised it. So I'm starting to make amends. But it's true, family and work has always got in the way for me before. Now I'm trying to get the balance right. It's also something to do with being the doted-on youngest of five. I think the world ( = friends and siblings)owes me a living.
    But if a friend can really say 'I don't want to be friends anymore', they haven't evolved from the spats in the primary school playground.

  5. I have tried very hard to be a good friend to all my closest friends but it's so hard when you have tons of other stuff going on, and particularly when you're a busy mum. I try my best, I really do, but it's not always possible. That's why I love facebook - it only takes a few minutes to write on someone's wall. I know it's not the same, but at least it shows you care.

  6. I'm a crap friend too. Sometimes it's worse when you want to cancel seeing a friend but don't and see them anyway. Your heart just isn't in it and they will be able to tell. Don't beat yourelf up about it, we all have things going on that take priority.

  7. Are you a crap friend? Reading your post my immediate thought was - why can't your friend come to you? It's a two way street, no? If a friend of mine rang to cancel because she was home alone with poorly children I would go to her....

    Just a thought!

  8. Once again I can really relate to what you are on about - I lost one of my two 'best friends' about 15 years ago for the same sort of reasons - to be honest I didn't even feel so bad about it at the time because I thought if she really was like that then maybe she wasn't the person I thought she was - and it made me realise that friendships are like any other relationship - they change, people change and we can't beat ourelves up about it - it's just the way things are - some relationships are meant to last forever and some aren't. I honestly don't think you are a crap friend - you have priorities aand your friends should see that - oh, and you are a top blogger!!!! Oh and BTW my other 'best friend' has been exactly that - an understanding, patient friend through the years despite us being in different countries and living different lives - and now I will go and phone her to tell her!!

  9. Your not a crap friend your just a mummy and wife...which unfortunately has to come before anything else. I'm exactly the same as you and try as i might always end up letting my friends down at the last minute. Thankfully my true friends accept me for who i am and roll their eyes at my flakieness ( i know it's not a word but...).

  10. This is a tricky one, I've just cooled a friendship with a friend who's a serial canceller. She has two children the same age as mine. She's an hour and a half drive away and last cancelled when I was stepping out the door with two little ones (and 5 months pregnant) to drive to meet her. It is hard with little ones and I do cancel too for that reason. I think it's fine as long as you give as much notice as you can. In my friend's case it just p*ssed me off too much the last time. At the moment I'm a rubbish friend because I'm a week away from having a baby and feeling like a recluse. The really good friends will always be there whatever you go through, when the children are older it will be easier to socialise again (I hope anyway!). And as I'm writing this I've remembered a few calls and texts I haven't returned yet...

  11. Personally I think 'she's' being the crap friend!!! AND...and not only is she a crap friend to you, she's renaging on her deal/promise as Edies Godmother for goodness sake (by the way did she send Edie a birthday card? eh?) Sorry, I'm in a bit of a 'ranting' mood today. Yes you've let her down on meeting up once too often, but as a friend she should have understood, THAT'S what friends DO! You function for all intents, as a single parent (sorry JP!) But please stop feeling like its only your fault. You're right, the amount of time spent with a friend IS NOT indicitive of how good a friend you are. If that were the case, we both should have phoned each other up years ago and said "I don't want to be your friend anymore" (I had an almost irresistable urge to put "Ner ner ner ner ner" at the end of that sentence).

  12. It's a toughie. I'm getting a really strong impression that your friend is not at the same life stage as you are right now though - or that if she is, that her husband is around a lot more than yours is. All I can say is that maybe a letter saying you'll be there for her if she changes her mind might not be a bad idea, but frankly, I wouldn't waste any more time than that on it. Empathy is clearly not one of her key attributes.

    Of course, since I'm in almost exactly the same situation that you are, you might expect me to say that!

  13. Very difficult. Like Potty Mummy, I feel that she doesn't have children (or at least children who are not easily transportable just yet). I think you are best just to take a deep breath, leave it a while and maybe drop her a line to see how she's doing in a little while if you feel like it.

    I've stopped feeling stressed by people who say - you haven't called me, you haven't been to see me. They obviously haven't called me or been to see me either. It is a two way street.

    I have only ever deliberately dropped one friend - nothing to do with kids, but a lot to do with her always needing everything to be about her and I was always in the wrong for not having called her enough.

    I think you'd be a great friend. xxx

  14. You need to give yourself a break my sweet! You are not a crap friend. Since having kids (and my friends too), it's become almost expected that there are going to be cancellations. Does that make you a bad friend? Of course not. Actively ignoring or being horrid - that's a bad friend. I too know how tough it is with no family around to help out, and with your husband being away so much I can imagine how hard that must make it. Hugs to you x

  15. As one of your other commentators rightly points out, friendship is a two way street. It's up to both sides of the friendship to make an effort. I don't get to see a lot of my friends as much as I want to - not because I'm being rubbish but because sometimes, real life gets in the way. It's not something that can be helped. If you have sick children, they must come first. Any friend should understand that.

    Don't beat yourself up about it. A true friend will understand and try and help you solve the situation.

  16. I tried hard to be a good friend and keep in touch but life does get in the way sometimes. Strangely myself and my best 3 girlfriends at uni have all moved down from the North East to various parts of the South East and we now have the kind of friendship where we may not speak to each other for months but we are always there when we need each other. And that's my definition of friendship.

    I also love this You Tube video from Notebook Babies. Ami my daughter loves it too.

  17. i think she is the 'crap friend'!! How dare she say she doesn't want to be friends with you anymore because you've cancelled a few times? why can't she come to you and have a quick chat whilst the children are ill? she has to understand that children can be well one moment and ill the next and that we mummy's have no control over that!

    I have lost touch with many friends but my one great friend is mummy B. We know how hard it is to arrange stuff around the kids, we understand eachother if we have to rearrange because either me or her have to work or the kids are ill. we don't speak every day but we talk at least once a fornight and text more often. You need understanding for a good friendship not someone who abandons ship because you've cancelled a few times.

    I hope you can move on from her rudeness and you are not a crap friend you are lovely :) xxx

  18. Your so-called friend is crap isn't she? You've explained why you are always cancelling (I do that a lot too, moreso when the girls were smaller) and that's not good enough for her. Well, that's a shame. I acknowledge that some friendships run a natural course and the friendship slowly vanishes, but that doesn't seem to have happened in this case.

    You're not crap, just incredibly busy. Life happens, and your friend should be a bit more supportive. A real friend is someone who sticks with you no matter what. We all go through tough phases and that's when you need friends the most.

  19. It is sad when friendships don't seem to work - high expectations, other commitments (ie children!) can take a large toll. Even more so when the commitments & obligations only fall on one side of the equation. I find my child-free friends see me less for this very reason.

    It isn't that you are a crap friend, more that what you expect of others and they of you are no longer compatible. In those cases, sometimes it is better to say goodbye.

  20. I've been wondering about friends recently too. My number one priority has always been family, and I try to fit the other two around it, but as you discovered, sometimes that doesn't work.

  21. You are a great friend, we only get together occasionally but it is lovely when we do. You are funny, caring and a great Mum. Look forward to seeing you again when you are free, even if it is 2015!!!!! lol. Sorry you still haven't made it up with 'said' friend, I am sure she will come to her senses soon. Claire K x

  22. I think a good friend needs to understand and appreciate your situation and trust you when you explain why you have to cancel. I'm not able to get out much because I am a single parent with no childcare whatsoever, so occasionally friends come to me, they would rather go out but they understand it's not possible for me. I also think good friends communicate and listen. Friends do grow apart, maybe that it was has happened with your friend. If the friendship is worth it, I'd work at it, but of course friendship is a two-way street. It is always sad when friendships end, but sometimes they do.

  23. Oh lovely - good friends are those who understand the changes that occur in our lives and support us through them not that judge and walk away

    The events of the past 6 months have taught me that whilst I may not be doing so well getting all three of those, I'm trying - its just some of my friends that aren't and quite frankly they can bugger off

  24. Since i joined mummyhood, one 'friend' has proved that actually she's a pretty shit friend who doesnt understand at the moment I would rather spend time with my tiny baby and my man who has only just got to be based back at home after 18 months away. Apparently I am shit for not keeping in touch and contacting her enough. When I was 8 months pregantn, she moaned coz I wasnt ringin her and stuff. Tssk, whatever. Friends aren't like that.

  25. It does sound like she's at a different life stage than you or at least, in different circumstances. I wouldn't take it too much to heart. Real friendship will endure and if she can't meet you halfway, literally and figuratively, then maybe she's not that much of a friend.

  26. friends like that bah ... better off with better friends, methinks.

    in my book, a friend is someone i don't speak to for a year and then we just start up again with the conversation we last had when we met.

  27. Canceling or postponing because of family obligations doesn't make you a bad friend. It's not as though you're purposely avoiding or being mean - now that would make you a bad friend. But you're not.

    Since I've had kids (and my friends too) it's become almost a given that any arrangement may fall through at the last minute. No big deal. Sorry you're feeling down about it. x

  28. I have been the exact same way since having a little one. It is very hard with no family around to rely on.
    Most of my friends have so far, luckily, been very patient with me. Don't worry. A true friend (especially one with a child) will understand.

  29. That's so sad. (Big Hug to you). Does this friend have kids? A true friend would not judge in that way and understand that your children have to be your priority. I have some friends who I don't see that often but it doesn't mean we love each other any less. I'm sure you're sad about the loss of that particular friend but try not to be. And your bloggy friends will understand about not replying straight away... life just gets busy sometimes! We love ya! xx

  30. hi there, would you mind emailing me if you get a chance at

    i felt really sad for you reading this post, specially as she is edie's godmother.

  31. I can be pretty crap like that, too. But I am lucky that the husband is around a lot.

    I think I understand your friend, too, though. I would give up after four times. I think it would make someone feel like they're not a priority at all, if you cancel on them four times in a row. Maybe next time you could have them come over to your house, or you could find a babysitter.

  32. Oh why do we put ourselves under so much relentless pressure to be all things to all people? A real friend would totally understand/forgive you for the cancellations and would drive to you to make it a little easier on you. I don't speak to/see a lot of my UK based friends for years at a time. Then a wedding comes along and it's like we just left Uni again. That's a true friend. Big hugs from over the water. x

  33. As ever this an evocative, brave post full of feeling and emotion. I feel for you but nothing is for ever and I am sure that once there has been a 'cooling off' period you may be able to kiss and make up and have many happy years together as friends. I wish you the very best.

  34. Oh :(

    I just wanted to come give you a hug really. I sorry you're struggling to juggle everything right now and that your friendships are suffering. Surely true friends would try and take the time to think about why you are struggling to maintain your friendships? Instead of taking it so personally they should recognise that maybe it's YOU that needs the friend and take some time to be patient and nurturing of you.

    Much, much love. If I were closer I promise you could cancel on me as many time as you like and I would still bombard you with friendship and probably cake too.

    Try not to cut yourself off though. I think it's easy to lose your confidence, especially when you spend so much time with children and have little support. Here for you always.


  35. Well, if you're a bad friend then I am off the scale. I am rubbish. I do not know the meaning of the word 'commitment'. The inside of my head is chaos and this reflects on the way I live my life.

    But. My very best friend in the world and I probably see each other two or three times a year. We might speak about once a month. We regularly fail to phone each other, reply to texts and have panics about where the hell each other is.

    And I wouldn't change that for the world. A proper friend is someone who 'gets' you as you are - chaos, cancellations and all.

    Now go and drink some gin xxx

  36. Oh crap. You are not a crap friend and for sure not a crap bloggy friend. Does you friend have kids?
    I have been thinking a lot about friend recently, too. Particularly with one not getting back to me at all since almost a year (I have absolutely no clue what I have done!) and the other living childless on a completely different cloud.
    xxx D

  37. Siani Biddlecombe8 December 2009 at 20:28

    Everyone has already said what I wanted to say, and probably much more eloquently than I could! I was the first of my friends to have babies; most visited once and never bothered with me again. It hurt so much, I tried as hard as I could but at the end of the day, they just didn't get it. The new mummy friends I've made have literally saved my life. A good friend forgives things like this, compromises, offers help... Perhaps she will understand one day what she has thrown away. If I was closer I'd have your back :)

  38. Seems like a popular post. Guess it touches a nerve in a lot of us. Having kids and stopping the career ladder has changed the relationships with a lot of my friends. What I have loved the most are the ones who have reacted so positively to my children and accepted them as new friends to them.

    Ignore those that fall to the wayside and look for those that have raised their game to enjoy this new episode in your life. It must be disheartening when you felt the relationship was so strong you asked her to be a godmother, but at least you know now.

    I know that I have let friends down, but I only have so much to give. The friends I have now are fewer, but the quality has definitely improved!

  39. Surprised - Yep best friends are definitely the ones you don't see for an age, meet up and then feel like no time has passed. I can definitely see how depression and a baby can get in the way of glad you're getting back in the loop x

    Liz (VP) - You know what? I feel rubbish for not having made my post clearer, but my friend who now doesn't want to be friends does have children!!! Two of them. Unbelievable I know. And she has definitely surprised me because I thought she'd have more empathy, but everybody's life is different and as I said to her in one of my many messages - she can't imagine what it's liek to live my life - just as I can't imagine what it's like to live hers! Anyway, deep breaths and thanks for the hugs xx

    Freddo - Ha ha. Oh you're so right! But then you would never have loved me so much if I hadn't been so hard to get!! No one likes them easy!

    Maddie - Oh yes you sound like me. I really do try, but I'm definitley happier receiving calls than making them! I often find that I'll put the evening aside to catch up on phonecalls (because no one wants a chat when your child is screeching in the background), but then when it comes to the evening I'm always too exhausted. I never seem to learn though.

    Liz (LwK) - I know - I love FB too - there's nothing like finding out what your friends are up to without having to actually speak to them! I always get a fright when someone actually calls me! But I find that the longer I leave it, the longer the conversation has to be to cathc up on all that's been missed, so the more I put it off. It's never-ending!

  40. Mum'sSurvival - I know what you mean. With me it's always the thought that's worse. I often think 'oh I just don't have the energy, I'm too tired, etc' but then when I actually go through with it I'm always glad I did. Sometimes other things just get in the way though and you can't go through with it even if you want to!

    Very Bored - Oh you're so lovely and I really wish I could say 'yes - you're right - she could have come to me', but sadly, she already had come to me and she already had made loads more hoo - you see? I really am a crap friend. Think I will just go to bed and sob into my pillow now!! xxx

    ourprivateblog - Oh bless you sweetheart. Did you go and phone your friend? How wonderful if my post made you do that! At least I have something to be pleased about! But thanks, and yes you're right - I know that people change and friendships move on - I just never thought it would with this friend - hence the godmother role. I suppose we all live and learn.

    WoB - Oh I'm so pleased I'm not the only flaky one (and yes I love that word too). Most of my friends accept that I may let them down but most of them understand too. It's never something I choose to do - and normally something I really can't change. Thanks for the support xx

    Emily - Oh I don't blame you for having cooled the friendship. After everything I wrote I make it sound as though I don't understand my friend at all, but I do. I also cooled another friendship with someone who was just the flakiest flake, but the last time she let me down was just the latest in a long line of letdowns that I just didn't need. But the thing is with this friend is that she never gave any indication that she had been pissed off with me. When I had cancelled before she had said things like 'I totally understand. Don't be silly. this is me you're talking to. You know I will always understand, etc etc.' I had no idea that I was on my last warning!!!

  41. Brighton Mum - Oh darling your comment did make me laugh. Thanks for getting so het up on my behalf - kind of makes me feel better. But yes, I think it's the godmother thing which has hurt the most. And no, she didn't send a card or a pressie or even an acknowledgement. Poor little Edie - no godmother from the age of 3. Thanks Mum!! Good choice there hey?! Thanks for sticking with me sweetie. Good friends will always be good friends no matter how many times they cancel! x

    Potty - Oh darling - I wish I could say - 'you're right - she has no children' - it would make it a hell of a lot easier to understand, but sadly, no. She has two children. But yes, her husband is around a lot more so thanks for the empathy. I have to say I'm surprised she's been like this. She's one of the ones I always thought would understand...but then I guess that's why it hurts so much!

    BiB - Oh darling thank you!! (I especially like the bit where you say 'I think you'd be a great friend'). Yes, I like that bit very much! Oh it's never easy is it. I feel crap about it all because actually she's been an amazing friend to me and she does come and see me and she will go out of her way for me and I love her masses, but maybe her expectations of me are too high. That's a hard one to live up to...

    Lady Mama - did you know you'd left two comments? Bless you for coming back. I shall reply to both of them at once! Yeah, to me being horrible and ignoring, being nasty, rude, all those things - that's a crap friend, so yes, you have made me feel a little better. Thanks! I've definitely let her down and I have told her how sorry I am (quite a few times). It hurts because she won't accept my sorries!

    nuttycow - Hi there and thanks for popping by. You're right - and I know it's a two-way street, but the worst thing about all of this is that she really has done her bit - she's gone out of her way to come to me on numerous occasions so I know she has a right to feel let down. It's just crap that I've upset her so much. I definitely didn't mean to do that!

  42. Kassia - Thank you so much for that YouTube clip - I love it!! And I will definitely play it to my little girls tomorrow - I think they'll love it too. And yep, it's right - true friends make you feel good about yourself and want nothing in return. Yep, yep, yep. Thanks for that xxx

    Amy - Thank you darling. You're so lovely. Really. But you know what? This friend has been so good to me - she's always the one who comes here and I really do feel like I've let her down. I wish I hadn't and I definitely didn't do it on purpose and I thought she'd understand. I guess I feel crap that I've upset her so much...But yes, I like to think that true and real friends would understand, forgive and move on.

    notSupermum - Oh honey thanks - yes I do agree with what you've said - and I really hoped that she'd stick with me and I'm almost shocked that she hasn't, but I've never let her down on purpose so it's all just silly really. Sad and silly. Thanks for the support x

    Slim Lens - Hi there and thanks for stopping by. And yes, wise words all round. you're right - I think maybe high expectations of her has caused the problem. She's done her thing, been a good friend, etc and I haven't been able to match it. It's such a shame, especially as she's my daughter's godmother, but maybe, like you say, we are just no longer compatible.

    A Modern Mother - I truly never realised it would be this hard! I think the fact that a lot of my friends live in london and we're down here in Brighton has something to do with it as well. I always think I'm capable of meeting people just for the evening, but when it comes to it the effort required is often too much. Sad that we can't have it all hey?!

  43. Anonymous/Claire - Hello darling! Thanks for the comment. I know - can't believe friend and I haven't made it up yet. I think when I last spoke to you I still thought there was hope - definitely don't think there's hope any more. Gutting. And yes, let's get together before 2015!! xxxxxx

    Rosie - Yep I totally agree - real friends communicate and listen. And I truly thought and hoped that my friend would listen and understand. I also think that if you're true friends you're still allowed to cock-up ocasionally. I apologised profusely, explained everything clearly and thought that we would be able to move on and get over it. I'm very sad that that's not possible. But yes, as a single mother (and I definitely feel like one) it's almost impossible to have a social life. So you have my empathy too x

    Muddling Along - Oh bless you and thanks for the lovely comment. And I'd really like to say that she's the crap friend and it's a two-way street, but actually she'd always been the good one. I fear that I've let her down once too often and it hurts that I've upset her so much. Maybe her expectations of me were too high.

    Claire - Oh no - now that's not nice either. Some friends are just too needy sometimes! Didn't think this friend was like that though which is probably why it's hurt so much. I'll get over it! x

    Alison - Yep you're right. I suppose I'm just reeling from the shock of thinking that we were true friends and that she can be so live and learn!

    Grit - I know - you're always right sensible lady. It just sucks cos I thught we were better freinds. Stupid me.

  44. Oh sweetie, everyone's said it all. You're not a crap friend at all. People are just strange I suppose, I hope you can sort things out. Sending you huge (((HUGS))) x
    PS The word verification was 'sulking'!

  45. swedafrican - Hi there and thanks for stopping by! I know - you're right. Most of the commenters have said that a true freind will understand and I guess that's why it hurts so much - I thought she was a true friend and this has only gone to prove that she's not! Hey ho...

    That Girl - Oh honey - thanks for the hugs. And I know - I feel kind of crap and let down just as she does. It's all a mess really but one that I don't seem to be able to sort out which is sad. I'm sad that I've lost a friend and sad that I've obviosuly upset her so much, but like you say, life has just got in the way. Sad, but true.

    Elsie - e-mailed you earlier - hope you got it. Let me know if not. And thanks sweetheart. Yes, it's horribly sad for both of us as friends, but also for Edie. I feel like I've let her down. Not good!

    Mwa - Oh I know - I do so understand it from my friend's point of view as well - and I've seriously told her until I'm blue in the face that I screwed up and that I was more than sorry. And I feel totally crap for obviously having upset her to such an extent. I think the thing is though is that she enever made me realise thats he was pissed off. She was always 'oh don't worry darling - I totally understand. This is me you're talking to. You know I understand', etc etc. So it came as a huge shock to know that she felt like that. I wished she'd given me some warning that she was getting pissed off and then maybe I could have done things differently...

    Hot Cross - Oh I know - i think it's modern life that makes us think we can be all things to all people - like my first friend who thinks she can have all three - friends, family and work. I think it's almost impossible! But thanks darling - I normally don't put myself under so much pressure, but this has upset me rather a lot!

  46. Anonymous - Aah - thank you. What a lovely comment. I do wonder who you are! But yes, I do also hope that we'll be able to make it up one day. Fingers crossed!

    Josie - Oh that is just the loveliest comment ever. And yes - please bring cake round - although maybe not right now as I've just eaten a whole box of chocolates and feel terribly sick! Best leave it til the morning. And thansk sweetheart - I think you're right - I do need care and nurturing! So friend, if you're reading this - I need you so stop being so bloody pig-headed and forgive me. Thanks Josie - I needed that! xxxxxx

    KT - Oh I love that bit in your comment where you say a true friend just gets you. You're so right. A true friend would get my cancellations too methinks!! Just off to drink that gin now!! Thanks m'dear xxx

    Met Mum - Oh you are such a sweetie pie. Unbelievably my friend does actually have children - two of them and she still manages to keep dates, etc. So that totally shows me up even more! I wish I could say she doesn't have friends so obviously doesn't understand what it's like...but I know she does!! Boo hoo. I'm just crap. Life is difficult isn't it?? xxx

    Siani - Oh thanks love. At least one person will have me back? Yay to you!!! But yes, funny thing is - this friend also has childrent oo so I thougth she'd understand. It would make it easier if she didn't. Hey ho!

    zoesee - Hi there and thanks for stopping by. And yes, you're right - I think I'm so disheartened because we chose her to be Edie's godmother - and we chose her because she really is/was an amazing friend...I think I'm still reeling from the shock. But yes, it is definitely more difficult to keep friendships going strong the more friendships you have. I may have to take a leaf out of your book!

    Sandy - Ha ah - yep think I may have to go and sulk too. Tahnsk for your support sweetie. Yes I think people are strange - although I thought I already knew that. Just didn't think this particular friend was strange, but there you go. You live and learn! xxx

  47. as far as I can tell a true friend is someone you can not have spoken too for months but as soon as you do, it's like you've never been apart. And I am always cancelling/ not following through on get togethers etc... I suspect it's normal :)luv Karen (madmuma)

  48. Oh honey, you poor thing. It's so difficult to keep on top of things and do all you need to do for your kids and with hubby away so much it's even more difficult for you. Most of my close friends are mums, these days - people I used to know at school, but have reconnected with here. I have almost entirely lost contact (except for Facebook status updates) with my closest friend from uni and I have a strong feeling it's because I'm a mum and she's not. I have a feeling I've offended her in some way (and I'm guessing probably not calling enough or missing a birthday or something like that), but have no idea how. But your friend does have children, so she really should understand! I'm guessing that maybe she has a husband who's not away all the time and/or supportive family close by. If not, then she's some kind of superwoman to not ever need to cancel a date!

    Anyway, I'm rambling. Have not had enough sleep. But I want to say that I have friends who frequently cancel on me, and/or who I don't speak to for months on end. But when we do speak or meet up, it doesn't matter how long it's been. We know each other so well that we just fall into conversation easily. That's what friendship is about these days, I would say. Being at the end of a phoneline for chats (after the girls' bedtime), should be enough and then, when you do get to see each other, it should be truly special, and easy.

    And... lastly... With your lack of family support, do make sure you ask your (real) friends for help sometimes. Not asking them to look after your sick children so you can go for a coffee, of course, because sick children are not much good with anyone other than mum or dad. But, maybe, now and then one of your friends can look after Edie, so you can spend a morning shopping, or writing, or swimming, or whatever you feel like. If I lived round the corner, I would have Edie come and play sometimes so you could have a break. (And I'd also have her come and play sometimes, so we could just have a chat. But I'd come to you instead if necessary!) Lots of love Txxx

  49. I think the best sort of true friends are those that you can pick up the phone to once or year - or meet every few years when one of you is in the same country - and pick up the chat as if you'd just said goodbye the day before.

    I don't have kids but understand your priority dilemma perfectly. Your kids are quite rightly more important to you than people you know. I think it is normal and if you were my real life friend I would understand. It's proably better for people to pop by and have a cuppa with you at your house than meet outside when a zillion things might get in the way of that.

    I do like your blog very much and am going to make a real effort to post on here regularly. I'll be your bloggy friend (sometimes I think they are the nicest sort to have and you don't have to worry about them ringing up)

  50. I don't think you're the crap one at all...I think it's your "ex-friend". You've got young children, an often-absent husband and no close family nearby to help you. Life is very fluid and so are friendships but true friends will remain so no matter how much you see of each other. Your priorities at the moment are not worrying over whether you've offended her - I'd say good riddance! I don't see that much of my best friend because her children are older and go to a different school but I adore her, she's the guardian of my children and if we don't see or speak to each other for a couple of months, neither is offended - life is busy but we're always there for one another.

  51. MadMuma/Karen - hello darling - long time since you've been here. Hope you good. See - we haven't spoken for a while and we're still friends!! And yes, I sthink it's normal to cancel a few times too, but I think I must have done it once too often!

    Tasha - Oh sweetheart - I really do wish you lived around the corner...right now I would just love to come by for a cuppa. But yes, the asking for help thing is always difficult. Even in an emergency I find it hard. I suppose it has something to do with wanting to reciprocate and knowing that it's not always easy for me to do that. But as the Youtube link from Kassia above says - real friends make you feel good about yourself and want nothing in return. Thanks for all the support. Blogging buddies are the best! Hugs to you my darling and hope you get to catch up on some sleep! xxx

    French Fancy - Hello lovely and thansk for such a wonderful message. Yes blogging buddies are the best aren't they? Although every now and then when I haven't had time to read or comment then I also feel bad! Like people say, friendship is a two-way street and I do know that so I don't expect to be able to sit back and wait for people to come to me all the time. Lovely as it is!! But yes, true friends are definitely those who you feel comfortable with the moment you see them even if you haven't seen them for ages...

    muummmmeeeeee - Think I got the letters right! Thansk for the comment sweetie - and yes I know - true friends will always be there for you, but I still can't help feeling bad that I've upset her so much. Maybe I'm shocked that it's turned out this way - shocked surprised and hurt. I'm not one to take liberties but you normally feel that good friends will understand if you cock-up. I mean if you can't cock-up with true friends then who can you cock-up with?? Oh well. Life is way too short!

  52. I think its your friend who is the crap friend.

    A true friend understands that sometimes life just does not go the way you wanted it to.

    A true friend deosnt need to be asked to do things to help you.

    A true friend will know when "im ok" doesnt mean that and will see beyond the plastered on smile and know you need some help or understanding.

    A true friend would not just drift away.

    Dont beat yourself up about it. You do what we all do and try. There are only so many balls you can juggle and if your friend doesn not understand this then she is not a friend worth having.

    huge hugs

  53. As I read your v sad post, I presumed (like so many other readers) that your 'friend' was child-free and therefore didn't understand what it is to be a mummy and how life just goes on hold. Unfortunate but true.

    But then I read through some of your replies and can't believe she's a mother herself. How could she be so judgemental and unforgiving of you??? It's inexplicable to me - and as you say, having giving no hint of her disappointment on previous occasions, makes it very hard to swallow. And rather dishonest of her to have pretended everything's been ok and then suddenly open the floodgates of her wrath at you.

    I hope she sees sense and realises how unfair she's been. Bet she misses you masses and will soon be knocking on your door. Or maybe read this blog and wake up to her bad behaviour!

  54. Man, I hate word verification - had a long response here, posted it, navigated away and at the last second saw the verification... tool late, all gone! crapola.

    Anyway, I was just echoing your comments above. Real friends don't need to see each other all the time. There are texts and emails, even if infrequent but mostly there is UNDERSTANDING. Seriously, if she ever prioritises friends over her sick children she needs a shaking.

  55. I've been keeping up on your posts with my phone and haven't been able to comment. I really felt this one though and it's been on my mind all week. I feel terrible that you're feeling sad. I agree with the others that a true friendship doesn't mean you're with each other every waking second. However, one of my "best" friends is never the one to initiate contact-- it's always me and sometimes, I'm insecure enough to need to know that even in her crazy, chaotic 8-kid world, I still matter.

    I had a really close friend in college that would cancel things at the last minute or show up late. One day I finally told him, "If it was your job, you'd make a point of being there. Don't I deserve the same courtesy or respect?" He agreed and we didn't have anymore problems.

    One thing about a good friendship is that we tend to get complacent and think that "she'll understand" when we cancel or postpone... but truth is, we all need that confirmation that we are important to them. Your cancellations couldn't be helped, your family should come first. Maybe if you continue to try to patch things up, she'll come around. I wouldn't promise that you'll get together more, but you could convince her that she's important to you and her feelings matter.
    I could go on and on about how she wasn't a very good friend to bail on you like that, but where would that get us?
    I hope it works out, and if it doesn't? I'm not that far away and I have a husband who is never around and kids who get sick so I will be a great, understanding friend when you have to back out of things!

  56. Agree with all the above. She is being the crap friend if she can't understand your situation.

    I've been furious with people before for continuously cancelling on me, but if it is someone with small kids and a genuine excuse then that is absolutely fine and understandable. What annoys me is when I've arranged a babysitter and then a single friend with no kids cancels for a crap reason!

  57. Snaffles - Oh thank you for such a lovely comment. I know you're right - a true friend is everything you say and more. I guess I'm just sad that I thought she was a true friend and she's proved that she's not. Sad for both of us I think.

    Mamma Po - Gosh you must have read all the replies - you must have been here forever!! Thanks for being so lovely. Yes, I think that's the most shocking bit really - that her dropping of me came totally out of the blue. If she had shown me her disappointment or annoyance when I had let her down initially then maybe things would have been different. And yes, shocking that she also has children - I definitely thought she would have understood, but I think her expectations of me were too high unfortunately.

    Sparx - Oh no! How annoying for you. Happens to me sometimes and I feel like crying - thanks for coming back to comment again! And yes, you're right - a true friend definitely shows understanding. Am seriously still in shock about what actually just happened. She doesn't want to be my friend?? I mean, come on...!!! ;-)) x

    ibhh - Oh what a long comment - how wonderful!! Thanks for being so lovely. And yes, I totally agree with all that you've said. Friendship is definitely a two-way thing and I never expected her to always make the effort - and I know that friends need to be told that they're loved and special - and I really thought I did that. Yes, I did cancel seeing her, but she always made me feel like she totaly understood...and I really thought she did. And I think you did the right thing with your friend - by telling him - and I thought that this friend would have done the same with me - at least told me that she was pissed off and allowed me to make amends. But she didn't and I've found that extremely hurtful. Like I said somewhere above - we all cock up sometimes and real friends will allow us to make mistakes - as long as we know that we're in the wrong and don't do it again.

    And thanks for being there honey - and I know you're not far (at least not from where my parents live). One day we will meet!!! xxx

    Nappy Valley - Yes that would annoy me too - the babysitter thing! And yes, I know that cancelling continuosuly was annoying, but it was truly never intentional and she never even told me that she was pissed off until it was too late!

  58. A bit late to this party, but hey, it's Christmas Eve Eve and I'm spending a rather happy evening trolling through all the blog posts I've missed while being offline for the last two weeks.

    All I'd say is what I always say to my boys: being a friend means understanding, accepting and being there. Sometimes your friends will do stuff you don't like, or be grumpy, but that's when they need you most.

    I know, I know... sometimes friendships, like other relationships, just run their natural course, but I think your mate could have been a tad more understanding. I bet you're a lovely friend. Having spent 4 years in a different country to my friends, and maintaining our relationships via text and email, I'm convinced it doesn't matter how many times you see a friend, just as long you're there for them.

    I'll shut up now..x

  59. I think the 'better offer' thing is very hurtful, but it doesn't sound to me at all as if that's what you've been doing. Can you explain that to your friend and ask for another chance?

  60. Well, I've only just found the time to read your post and I can totally relate to this. I feel like I have to split myself into a million different pieces just so there's enough of me to go around. I quite often don't get to see people for months on end. There has to be a lot of give and take when you have children, and most often its you that misses out whether it be a drink with friends or a day shopping. I'd like to think that my friends would be slightly more understanding though...

  61. English - Oh darling thank you. Yes, being there (even if not in the physical sense) is important, and understanding too. Maybe I just wasn't there for my friend - maybe she never made me realise that she needed me too. Oh bollocks. I really am a crap friend. But then she is too. We're all crap and I think I may go and pour myself another glass of wine now!

    Iota - I know the 'better offer' thing was very strange and yes, hurtful too. Unfortunately I explained everything - that I'd never had a better offer, that I would never have chosen to do anything over seeing her other than in an emergency (ie ill children, etc), but it didn't make a difference. I must have really screwed up somewhere else way back without even knowing. Sad...

    Baby Not Included - I know - I would have liked to think that she would have been more understanding too. In fact, I'm shocked by her reaction, but maybe I'd been annoying her for a while and she just never said! Sad that she couldn't tell me though. Makes me annoyed with myself for having misread everything. But yes, it's hideously difficult to maintain friendships as much as you would like once you have children. C'est la vie I suppose!