Responding to friends is never out of season

An Olivetti rotary dial telephone, c.1940s

Image via Wikipedia

by Madeline Laughs

I was reading one of my favorite blogs the other day. This one was entitled Non-Communicative Failure. I was skimming through it, thinking to myself that this was not something I had encountered when BAM! She touched a nerve! I went back to the beginning and read every word and then I felt compelled to comment.

Non-Communicative Failure is something I have a real issue with!

Lisa Wields Words writes:

“Sadly, I think we are heading to some form of that. I don’t necessarily believe that everyone will be a fat slob (although there is potential for that too). But I do think that we are losing the ability to communicate face-to-face. We are also losing common courtesy and respect for each other, as our skills in face-to-face communication dwindle.  How often have you sent an e-mail and never gotten a reply? Not even an acknowledgment that the person received your e-mail? How often have you made a phone call asking for a return call and never gotten the call back?” 

I never used to have that problem, but since we moved it happens all the freaking time. I text, I email and I call and sometimes I might get a call back from some of my friends here, but I’ve gotten to the point that I just stop expecting it. Most of them don’t even answer their phones.

Lately, I have even caught myself doing it!

I have one friend here locally that is a champion at returning calls, texts and emails and if we go out to dinner or bike together, she always follows up with a “thank you for a great day!” She is the person that reminds me to practice my good manners. She is my reality checkpoint.

In defense, I think this could be a culture thing. A laid back, lackadaisical approach to relationships in general. This is a resort town and connections are mostly transient, so perhaps there isn’t a need to cultivate friends. You know the people you know and that’s about all you need to know. 

If I were to tell you that I stopped taking it personally, I’d be lying.

What do you tell yourself when this happens?

In the beginning I just went with the flow until I could assess for myself what the norm was. In the summertime everyone is slammed at their jobs. No one goes out, no one parties. All they do when it’s high season is work, work, work. But at the end of the season, when nothing is going on here, the unanswered phone call is still the norm.

After my first year here I developed that hermit-like behavior too. All I wanted to do was stay in my house and only deal with the people within my own radar. I found I had to push myself to go out and be social. That was a first for me. I am a social butterfly on crack.

When you experience so many people all up in your grill 24/7 for a solid 5 months, you really tire of the constant contact. Like Greta says “I vant to be ALONE!”

I found that when I saw my friends out they were overjoyed to see me and Facebook allows some of them to connect with me frequently. But there are times when I truly wonder what is going on and if I did something wrong. I wonder if I never picked up the phone to make plans, if plans would ever get made.

When my husband and I were first starting out he asked me once how I made so many good friends and kept them. I always had a posse of friends that I ran around with, no matter where we moved.

In Austin, TX I had developed a huge network of friends while he was traveling the world for work. When he finally settled into a routine at home I took him to a party they had organized in his honor. It was the first time they would all meet him. He was floored! There were about 30 people there and all of them showed up just to meet my husband.  “Wow! You met the coolest people in town! I liked all of them! How did you do that?”

I shared my secret with him that day and now I’ll share it with you.

I cultivate my friendships in the same way I cultivate my garden. I plant them, water them and occasionally I weed my garden to get rid of the pests. When they’re sick I treat them with care. And when they bloom I celebrate their glory. I respect their need for space to grow and I know there is more in their lives than just me. There’s sunshine, rain and good soil and on some days there are flowers.

I’m settling in here and planting seedlings and watching them as they either take root and flourish, or wither from the strong winds and harsh environment. I realize that not all of them will make it, but I have plenty of seeds and a good heart, so I’m hopeful.

So when I call you, or text you or send you an email, it’s just me, tending my flowers. Perhaps we can get together someday soon and be a bouquet at some swanky event 🙂

Thank you Lisa.


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About Madeline Scribes

A writer with a sense of humor. If anyone can laugh at life, it's me.
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One Response to Responding to friends is never out of season

  1. Lisa Wields Words says:

    Thank you. I love the image of friendship as a garden. I won’t lie and say that I am perfect about returning e-mails and phone calls, but I do try. I find it difficult to contact people by phone, because I don’t want to intrude on their lives. But, I guess the thing for me is this: it’s fine if someone doesn’t pick up because they don’t want to talk to me at that exact moment. But at least have the common courtesy to acknowledge the call at some point. Either call back, or e-mail saying “I’m sorry, I wasn’t up for talking.” I have a feeling your garden of friends is a lovely, welcoming garden.

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