Dear friend,

Let’s just get this out of the way: I need you to know up front that I’m going to let you down. I want to give you fair warning so you won’t be caught off guard when you realize I’m not everything you hoped I would be.

Really, I’m writing to give myself permission to be imperfect. Can we be friends anyway?

This pains me to admit—I really don’t want to let you down. I’ll do about anything to keep you from feeling disappointed in me, even if it means creating undue stress for myself. Just imagining any negative feelings I might cause makes my chest tighten with anxiety. Your happiness means so much to me, and my heart aches to do whatever is possible to make you feel loved.

But I have to be honest—I just can’t keep up. And it probably isn’t healthy for me to try.

Sometimes I carry responsibility for our friendship around like a backpack, filling it with rocks of unrealistic expectations that are too heavy for me to lift. I’m afraid you won’t want me around if I ask you to share the load. Or if I take out some of the rocks. But I know you’re actually stronger than I give you credit for—and carrying the weight together lightens it for both of us.

I want you to know you’re on my mind often. When my brain is filled up with other things—like packing snacks and teaching class and ordering birthday presents and planning an event and listening to kids talk about their day and figuring out what to make for dinner—returning your text message sometimes gets buried in my mental pile. It’s not that I don’t love you and think about you when I’m doing other things, it’s just that my spare moment to reach out usually comes in the middle of the night.

I’d love more than anything to invite you over for chai tea and meaningful conversation. I really would. I want to hear about your life and ask about your heart and be unproductive and present together. I’m just out of chai tea. And my kids are crying right now. And I forgot about my dentist appointment today. So maybe we could take a rain check?

Please don’t give up on me. I’m doing the best I can—and some days my best is better than others. Know that I’m learning to accept myself even when I’m not who I want to be, and I will do the same for you. Thanks for taking the pressure off by loving me even when I let you down.

I have a feeling this isn’t a surprise to you. I don’t think you actually need me as much as I think you do. Maybe I’m a little arrogant to think I can be a better friend than I ever expect anyone else to be, but I really wanted to try.

Admitting I can’t be all things to all people is one of the hardest pills for me to swallow. I know it’s not my job to keep you happy, but it feels like you’ll want me around if I do. Will you still love me if I disappoint you?

I know the answer to the question. My head tells me my worth is not found in the approval of others, but in being chosen by the One who gives me His worth. Yet my heart struggles to believe you can love me when I have nothing to give.

I’m so thankful to have you in my life. I don’t want anything I do to ever communicate anything but how important you are. The problem is, I am a real human. As much as I thought a little commitment and a lot of hard work would be enough to make me the most reliable friend ever, I’m still just a work in progress. I’m learning to be okay with that.

We’re in it together, friend. I promise to do my best, but please don’t expect me to be perfect. I won’t expect you to be either.




Photo credit for featured image: Kandice Halferty Photography

2 thoughts on “To the Friend I’m Disappointing Right Now

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