Why writers make horrible friends


It’s true, I’m a horrible friend.

When I was a kid, I was better at it.

My friends and I would hang out every day, cause mischief and mayhem, and stay over at each others houses.

But I haven’t had an honest-to-goodness non-family ‘friend’ for the longest time.

Sure, I have acquaintances. People I’m friendly with. But not hard-core friends.

I could blame it on having a family, but other people I know who have families have friends.

And it’s weird. I’ve had a lingering feeling of guilt for the longest time. I’ve even started to wonder if something is wrong with me.

I should be a better friend, shouldn’t I?

It’s something I think about off and on.

Well, last night, I was reading an interview with David Sedaris, and he nailed it.

The interviewer asked him if he maintains important friendships, when he said,

I’ve maintained old friendships, like with people I knew in the nineteen-seventies, but have lost the knack for meeting new people. This has a lot to do with my writing schedule. I don’t want to be disturbed, and the willingness to be disturbed is, I think, part of being a good friend.

I feel this so hard. Being a good friend means you have to be okay with being pulled away from the work. A good friend makes sacrifices most writers can’t commit to.

If a writer has to pick between you and the page, I’m sorry to say, you’ll probably lose out.

Disruption is kryptonite to a writer. She must choose what disruptions she allows in her world.

Hell, when I’m in the zone, I don’t even eat. And I’ll never sacrifice what little time I have available for family (and the inherent distractions of having a 2-year-old around). There’s no way I’d make a good friend.

So, if you’ve ever tried to spark up a friendship with a writer and have found yourself blown off, flaked on, or outright ignored, please know it’s not you.

Trust me, you’re better off. You’d just end up as fodder for a story or a blog post or something. You’d be used like cheap meat. To the writer, you’re just material, soon to be discarded with the legions of other good people who’ve tried to generate an honest friendship with a writer.

Run away. Run for the hills.

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Jonas writes short, whimsical daily discourses here at Higher Thoughts. To get them delivered straight to your inbox as soon as they’re live, click here.