It’s Okay to Be a Bad Friend

Alright, maybe it’s not okay all the time. But it’s okay to be a bad friend sometimes.

About a year ago I experienced some really shitty feelings. My friends in college were getting a lot of recognition for their accomplishments and I wasn’t. They were winning awards left and right, and I felt left in the dust. I climbed inside my own head and stayed there for a while. It was nice, but I was so lonely. I wanted to be proud of my friends. They’re amazing, wonderful, loving, intelligent people who work so, so hard. Just like me. But the problem was I wanted to be in the spotlight. I wanted the recognition too. Where was my award? I felt as though I had regressed to a time of pats on the back and gold stars.  I angrily cried to my mom on the phone because I didn’t understand what I was doing wrong.

My friends noticed. When they won awards, I said congrats and walked away. They noticed that I was staying inside of my own head. I wasn’t paying attention. I didn’t want to acknowledge them because they had enough acknowledgment from other people.

I shouldn’t have been such a bad friend, but it was okay for me to be sort of a bad friend.

It’s completely valid and okay to be upset when you don’t get an award or an acknowledgment of something that you’ve worked really hard for. If your friend gets the award that you feel you deserved in some respects, try your best to put on a brave face and honestly tell them that you are proud. (And you should be proud, or are you really friends?). It’s damn hard to do that. But your friends want to be loved and acknowledged just as much as you do.

So be a bad friend when you’re talking to your mom. Yell about not getting that pat on the back or gold star. Cry if you need to. Spend a day by yourself doing something for you. Tell your friends that you need a minute. Gather your thoughts. Find your center and find your happy. Write a list of all the great things that you have accomplished and hang it on your wall. Then you can go back to being a good friend.

The most important thing that I learned about being a bad friend is that you need to work on yourself before you can commit to other people. Work out your jealousy, your wrath and your sadness away from the people who might be hurt by it. You’ll probably find that your best friends are best friends for a reason.

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