Sunday, 9 January 2011

Not Just a Facebook Friend

Every now and then I take a little "time out" to self-analyze: Am I being the best person I can be? Is there anything playing on my mind or conscience that needs to be addressed? Am I procrastinating dealing with something important? Have I made any decisions I'm not happy with? How do I rectify that? I'm sure everyone does this from time to time, in one form or another.

One question I've been struggling with lately is: Have I been a good friend? Admittedly, I'm complete rubbish at keeping in touch with people via phone, although I do have Skype programmed into my speed dial (so that counts for something, right?). I'm a great Facebook friend, Text-er and a so-so Emailer. I've never been one to talk on the phone (apart from the 1,000,000+ hours logged between ages 15 - 18) as I've always preferred face-to-face conversations, especially when discussing something quite personal. I never feel like I'm getting 100% out of a conversation over the phone.

You're probably asking yourself how on earth does a girl from New York, living in London, have any friends with this kind of attitude? To which my response would be "I have no idea!"

In my defense, I actually do have amazing friends back in New York who get how I work, and actually work in a similar way, and with whom I instantly pick up with the minute we see each other.

However, there are those friends who I completely adore, but whose idea of "keeping in touch" includes actually keeping in touch. I was reminded of this last week when I received an email from one of them telling me how she had been going through a very difficult time a few months ago, one which I've actually gone through myself, and she had wanted to talk to me about it on one of my past trips to Manhattan. Unfortunately, that trip didn't see us meeting and I was shocked to hear this news months later. She continued in her email to then tell me that she always regarded me as a good friend, but that she didn't see our friendship continuing after this instance. Shocked, I immediately responded asking for her number (no, I did not have it due to my phone dying and wiping all my contacts) so that I could call and work things out. About 3 days later on a Wednesday I heard back that she would be free to discuss this on the following Sunday.

As it's now Sunday and we are scheduled to chat in a few hours, I can't tell you how the rest of this story goes just yet. However, what I've contemplated these past few days is how I let our relationship get to this point.

My answer came to me at brunch this afternoon, when a friend openly admitted that he's also been rubbish at keeping in touch with friends and he is now focusing his time on repairing those relationships. His reason was that he, subconsciously, liked to keep them at arms reach- so that he couldn't be pushed away but rather be the one in the distance. I instantly related to this as, my fear isn't that I would be pushed away, but that there was something "safe" in keeping people at an arms reach.

What I've realized in my own life is that by working in this way, I've completely shut doors that should have been open and I've missed so many special and crucial moments...and aren't these the moments that make our lives?? A friend walks this life with you, hand-in-hand, not text-to-text.

My New Year's resolution is to be a fully hands-on friend. I ask that my friends reading this really hold me to it. This is my promise to you. And it begins with a Sunday evening phone call.

Till next time x

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