I used to be really good about keeping in touch with people. I called and chatted on the phone with long-distance friends; sent birthday cards; sent a card to say hello once in a while; and even wrote letters—on paper, no less (whaaa?!). I wrote to my great Aunt Ruth and would keep her up-to-date on my goings on. I used to write back and forth with my childhood best friend.
These days I am really bad at staying in touch with friends. Have I gotten lazy over the years? Wrapped up in my kids? Distracted by technology? Or am I just too self-involved to think of others and maintain friendships that are important to me? I don’t like this last option, but the others aren’t really excuses for neglecting people either.
I am thinking about all this after receiving an email from a person that I haven’t heard from or spoken to in what seems like forever. At the time I vowed to sit down and write to her, and then I thought of another friend that I used to write to and how I should write to her, and then I thought I how I should call this friend and . . . well, you can see where I am going with this. I am also thinking of my sister who lives in North Carolina. They are soooo far away (by God, that’s a long drive!), and we don’t get to see each other often. We text each other and call once in a while, but I feel like I lose touch so easily.
I think we can blame technology for this lapse in contact. When I first got email, I wrote long e-letters to stay in touch, but the emails got shorter and shorter and then came texting! It is so easy to to send a quick text. Why would you email? And I can’t even remember the last time I had an extensive phone conversation with a friend. I’ll admit that it is appealing to be able to shoot off a text with a quick hello. Unfortunately, more often than not, I will think of doing that and then NOT.
I haven’t written a paper letter in years. *sigh* I think I remembered to send my best friend a card on her birthday. At this point, if your birthday isn’t listed on Facebook, nobody but your immediate family will remember! I know this because I tested my theory last spring. Yup. Two people outside of my immediate family wished me a happy birthday.
These days writing out Christmas cards takes a back seat to getting the Christmas shopping done, baking for school parties, helping out in the classroom, and whatever else is on the to-do list. Re-reading that, I say to myself, “Come on. Is that really so overwhelming that you can’t find time to write cards?” Plenty of people work full-time and get a million other things done all the time. Knowing this makes me feel guilt, not to mention a little shame, when I can’t accomplish things on a list. Part of my frustration with not keeping in touch with friends stems from the fact that I used to be thoughtful. I liked that about myself. Lately I feel very un-thoughtful.
Is this a girl thing, this worrying about maintaining friendships? The men I know can go years without seeing a friend and seem to pick up exactly where they left off with no weirdness when they meet again. Case in point: while we were in GA, we visited with friends we haven’t seen in a long time. They are such nice people that it would never have felt weird, but you would never have known that my husband hadn’t seen his high school buddy in 13 years! Men. (A whole other topic perhaps.)
Perhaps I just have too much going through my head to remember to sit down and write a note to a friend. Perhaps having technology to fall back on has made me supremely lazy when it comes to correspondence. I should just embrace that technology and let my iPhone help—I could make myself a better friend by scheduling it.
2:30 pm–thoughtful friend time.
Thank you, calendar alarms! For telling me when I need to stop typing and go pick up children. For telling me when to pay the mortgage. For telling me get milk. For telling me to be thoughtful . . ..
I just have to remember to put it on the calendar.
To all my friends: I’m sorry that I haven’t called or emailed lately. I don’t mean to neglect you. I actually think about calling or writing—I just forget to. I still love you though.