Really, don’t. And if that’s what you are doing, then just do the thing you carved up instead.

I have a friend, a good friend, who is a very busy person (who isn’t?). We would try to get together from time to time, back when the kids were smaller, and she would tell me she had an hour here or there she could give me, or a bit of time on the following afternoon she could offer. It always made me feel a little little, if you know what I mean.

Like the time I showed up at another friend’s house for a Christmas gift exchange we’d planned among three of us and our toddlers. I’d been so excited to have finally met some other women in this new little community I’d moved into, and I walked up to the house hauling my little sled with my little Tyson and our little gifts, and knocked on the door. And knocked again but there was no answer so I peeked my head in and called out we’re here, and walked in a couple of steps to hear two women sharing their unkind opinions about me and my family and my parenting and all the tender fears I’d spoken into the new friendships with them in those visits we’d had.

I put up some pretty strong cautious-about-friendship walls after that.

Maybe you’ve put up some walls, too. Because Sister, friendship can be a minefield of misstep and misunderstanding. Why is that, I wonder?

Why do I have to compare and compete and judge, even when I don’t want to. Why do I measure my parenting against your parenting, or my shape against your shape, or my faith walk against your faith walk?

It’s exhausting, isn’t it. I’ve been working on it for years. On being who I am and accepting who you are and experiencing the beauty of honest and true relationships. It’s one of the reasons I write what I write and try to be transparent and all that.

So really, don’t feel like you have to carve out time for me, because that’s more about you than it is about me.

If you don’t have time, you don’t have time and I’m fine with that.

If you have a little bit of time, enjoy the little bit of time without making me feel like I’m a sacrifice you are making.

And if you don’t really want to be friends, don’t pretend you do and then talk about me when you think I’m not listening.

And for the record, I’ll do the same with you.

Except when I mess up (and I probably will) and I do something to make you feel like you are a burden or a challenge or, heaven forbid, a project.

I don’t want to carve out time for you. If you are my friend then I want you to know I’m all in. I want to embrace and enjoy and luxuriate in the time I am fortunate enough to spend with you.

We are strong women. Let’s be women who care and are fierce about our love and who can trust each other with our hearts. Let’s work together and be happy for each other and be honest with each other. Let’s support and challenge and encourage each other. Let’s cheer our victories and mourn our losses and put aside our differences.

Let’s forgive.

Let’s be friends.