Jun 18, 2010
04:12 PM

Friends in Need—or Indeed?

Friends in Need—or Indeed?

It seems lately some of my friends have become quite needy. Neediness isn’t a quality I particularly admire in anyone, friends or lovers. Several of my friends are adamantly demanding attention I just cannot give them. There are only 24 hours in a day, I’m a busy person just as they are, and I don’t have time to answer every single email or return every phone call immediately, especially not on command.

I mean of course if there were an emergency, I would drop everything to help. But, these are intrusive demands for my time and attention at a time when I simply cannot give it. First, I’m traveling and the time difference is a real challenge. Second, I am traveling for a reason: to finish some personal writing by the end of the month, and all my friends know of my drop-dead deadline. Finally, I really just am not at the beckon call of anyone. And I mean anyone!

However, some people, no matter how intelligent or otherwise thoughtful, just are not on the ball when I cannot make time for them. There’s always a tendency to blame it on the fact that I am in a relationship, which totally pisses me off. I have not given up my friendships because of my girlfriend—and neither has she. We may have a bit less time for our friends. Maybe, but I’m not convinced. Mostly we’re both just trying to hustle to pay the bills and that keeps us pretty damn busy.

The idea of completely disappearing into a relationship doesn’t at all appeal to me. Isolating from the world, friends and the social scene in New York City to retire to the couch, just my girlfriend and I, to watch TV and merge just doesn’t sound appetizing in the least. So, the accusation that our relationship is “getting in the way of” friendship doesn’t hold water. And the sentiment is echoing from only a few corners, not being sung by the whole choir.

More likely it’s the case that I’ve caught onto the neediness angle and am not willing to cater to attention-getting ploys and annoying cloying behavior like I perhaps used to. And I’m talking about adult people in therapy who really should understand better just how many hours are in a day and how difficult it sometimes is to devote time and attention to loved ones of all stripes. I’m all for nurturing relationships of every sort, but I am also not into being a emotional or psychological nursemaid to anyone.

So much hand-holding seems to have become necessary lately among this small subset of my friends I seriously question whether they are, in fact, friends. Friends don’t let friends drive drunk and friends should not drive friends to drink. I am overstating of course, but it’s how I’m feeling this rainy London day, far away from friends and family, with dozens of deadlines and commitments—and demands.

My girl arrives later this morning. I can’t wait to feel comforted by her strong arms around me and then later her soft touch on my body and hard rhythm inside of me. Then, maybe I can forget for a few hours the not-so-subtle insistence of friends that I somehow own them something.


Blogger Bio: Stephanie Schroeder is a dreamer, wanderer and writer based in Brooklyn, NY. She likes to exchange apartments with artists and other interesting folks from around the globe and travel in search of new friends and singular experiences. She makes purple a way of life and also fancies green, purple’s complementary color on the color wheel. (stephanieschroeder.com)

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