I have been thinking a lot about this lately, and I think I am not alone. I’ll think of something that I want to share with a friend and want to call them and suddenly my brain kicks in and rationalizes why I cannot make that call. My mind comes up with a million reasons why my calling said friend/sibling/colleague would be a huge imposition on their life. Oh, you need examples? (you must be over 50).
My sister – she’s probably working, or hanging out with her boyfriend, wouldn’t want to intrude.
My other sister – she’s most likely on the subway, or at a broadway show or working on a live show or out to dinner with her husband or watching reality tv or…
My best friend – she has a new baby, she teaches yoga, she likes her time to herself, she’s probably cuddling her cats…
My Zumba friends – they’re probably teaching, they have kids, boyfriends, lives, husbands, laundry, they need sleep…
My work friends – they see me all day 5 days a week, they don’t want to be bothered by me outside of work, they have a hard enough time answering my texts!
My sister in law – she lives in England, so clearly every time I want to call is an inconvenient time, the time difference! Plus, traveling, new friends, life!
My other sister in law – She has two kids, she wakes up at the crack of dawn for work, I tend to babble like an idiot, does she think I’m an idiot? Who knows!
My cousins – oh, they have lives, time differences, lifestyle differences, I saw on facebook that she has a friend, and a dog, she’s probably with said friend/dog, or at school, or….
The list goes on and on.
I know I’m not the only one that feels like this. Social media has ruined a normal phone call for us. We all try so hard to make our lives look perfect and busy and fun – we’re playing with our kids! We’re out on dates! We’re going to shows! We’re working our butts off! But weren’t our parents busy with children and jobs and life and yet, there they were, picking up the phone and making a call when they had something to say. It didn’t have to be a finely crafted text or facebook message or gchat, because they could just speak. You know, like normal humans. Like we used to do in middle school. Heck, even in college I called my friends, so why now is it not okay to do so?
The answer is, it IS okay. I CAN call my friends. If they are busy, they will just not answer. The blessing and curse of being alive in this day and age is caller ID!! It’s a blessing because they will see it and call you back when they can if they are busy. The curse is that the social anxiety that rules our demographic might mean that they will not call back, they will stare at their phone and decide no, I just can’t have a normal conversation right now. Or the other curse – because they just don’t want to talk to you.
Hey, by actually trying this, you may find out who your REAL friends are! You may be clinging to old friendships that aren’t real anymore, they’re just perfect in your imagination because you share your facebook memories from five years ago on occasion and they’ll make a cute post out of old pictures on your birthday. But is there depth there? Do they know about your current relationships, your job, your kid’s grades, your Mom’s health issues, your grandmother’s stubborn unwillingness to take help from anyone? Do they know the things that torment your mind on the daily? Or is every time you get together an “oh my god, remember that time when….” back in the day sesh that is getting older and older the more Thanksgivings pass you by?
It is okay to make a phone call. It is okay to intrude into your friends’ lives, because believe it or not, if they are truly your friend you aren’t going to feel like it’s awkward at all. It’s going to feel happy, even in the saddest times, knowing that when you really truly need to talk to someone, you have a wealth of relationships just waiting at your fingertips! And better yet, maybe that phone call will lead to getting together, or traveling to visit, and making more memories so that every conversation doesn’t have to dwell in the past, like your dusty old friendship.
I have to admit that I have a problem with this. My family are the only people I call without a little bit of anxiety. I wouldn’t call it crippling, but it is definitely a lot of second guessing, and a lot more thought than any person should be putting into just making a call. For crying out loud, I work in inside sales, half of my life is on the phone. Why can I call a customer and not my friends? Because I know the customer needs me? One would hope that my friends need me too. That hey, maybe they too want to catch up once in a while.
I am going to try to be better at this. Enough sending snapchats in hopes that my friends see it and feel like they are a part of my life. BE a part of it. Be involved with your friends, not just an outside observer of ten second snippets. Don’t get me wrong, I think our parents generation was missing out not having things like instagram and snap, we can keep up with so many more people so much easier than they could, it is a blessing. I still think we need a little bit of both though. I don’t need my friend’s carefully curated life, I want their real life too.
I have the gift of gab and married someone who barely speaks, and sometimes I need to talk to someone who speaks in return, in more than two word sentences, who isn’t a toddler. So I’m going to call. If you think you’ll be on the receiving end of this and can’t bear to field said interruption, I suppose that is what God made Do Not Disturb for. It may not be tomorrow, or even this week, but I’m making it a goal to talk to the people who matter most to me, before we stop mattering to each other at all.
You know, like in the olden days.
Until next time,