I Am My Priority

I really need to thank those of you Betwixters who help support me shirking my writing responsibilities by submitting engaging guest posts!  Welcome back Margot, one who always has a keen eye for this quarter-life juncture:

For most of our youth, we strive to be the friend who never ditches her bff for “selfish reasons” like her new crush.  Countless lessons are learned concerning the value of friendship and condemning putting yourself before others.  This weekend, in a conversation with my friend Jill, I realized that we are at a point in our lives where our friendships are getting pushed into the back seat and our own lives are taking the front.

Jill’s friend called her sobbing in a self-proclaimed crisis.  In high school, Jill would abandon all she was doing in the name of loyalty, dedication, and friendship!  Today, Jill is a working woman. She is working full time, paying back student loans, applying to grad school, and testing her strength in a healthy and functional serious relationship.

This time, Jill saw her friend’s “crisis” as a pathetic pity party.  She listened to ensure it wasn’t a serious catastrophe (no death or injuries), and then proceeded in doing what we all think but cannot say:
“I’m sorry. This is not a crisis.  I am sorry you miss ‘hanging out’ and are bored at your overpaid job. You are healthy, you are financially stable, and you are being a baby. I do not have 5 hours of my Sunday to dedicate to your self-pity. You are not priority right now, I am my priority. Goodbye”

Though I was taken aback by Jill’s abruptness, I couldn’t help but marvel in the honesty of her words.  She was right.  We are in a point in our lives now where we are our own priority – our careers, our relationships, our future.  And there is nothing wrong with that.  In fact, that is what should be happening.  It feels unnerving as you feel like a “bad” friend. But the truth of the matter is that a good friend would understand that sometimes you have to make sacrifices.

I am by NO means advocating for abandoning friendships, but I think there is something to be said for changing the way we think of what friendship means.  I don’t talk to Jill daily, not even weekly.  I don’t call her if I am having a bad day or just need to hear myself speak.  We are in different cities. I know she has her own life complete with her own set of problems.  I dont expect the same daily commitments from her that I did when we were young.  Still, I know that if tomorrow something was actually wrong, she’d be the first person to jump on a plane to come support me.

2 Comments

  1. Mollyeee – I agree with you and I think you raise some important questions. Jill WAS being selfish, but to me that’s the point. We are at a place now where we need to be a little selfish and it doesn’t make us “bad” friends; it makes us adults. In the same way, if we had kids, our friends would understand why we couldn’t go clubbing on a Tuesday.

  2. You pose an intriguing question in this post, Margot: Should we change our friendship standards as we mature? Or the larger question, What is friendship? I think friends should be there for each other no matter no matter how boring or uninspiring the sob-story. I am struggling with who to agree with on this one: while I believe Jill had the right and posture in her own life to say her friend was having a “pity party” I really wonder if that friend was acting selfish..

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