Seems people are busy these days. The economy is in the tank, lots of people are out of work (if they even have a job) and even if they aren’t out of work, they don’t seem to have enough money to spend on any extra activites, so they stay home. Makes me wonder why it’s so hard for them to find the time to keep in touch; to make or return phone calls or respond to an email or a text message.
I’ve written about this before, how people never seem to have the time to keep in touch. I always keep in touch. ALWAYS. I write, email, call. I send things in the mail. I text. I shop for presents and mail them from the road. I send thank you cards. I call. I check in. I always let people know I’m thinking about them or calling to see what they’ve been up to.
I think it’s important to maintain relationships. To be in touch with those who matter. That’s why I constantly call and email. The only conclusion I can draw when someone doesn’t get back to you or make time for you is that they aren’t interested in you. They don’t care. They truly don’t make time for you because they don’t want to.
I know several people who call me when they need something, but when you can’t do anything for them, they drop you like a hot potato. My step-father calls this the “what have you done for me lately?” syndrome. If you can’t do anything for them, they’re not interested in keeping in touch. Oh, they know how to pop up out of the blue with flowery hello’s, how have you been’s and I’ve been meaning to call’s when they can benefit from something you have, but if they don’t need you, all you hear are crickets.
I always acknowledge someone even if I don’t have time at the moment to get back to them. How hard is it to say, “I got your call/text/email but don’t have time to respond right now – I’ll catch up with you later in the week.”
Not hard, in my opinion.
So I’m going on strike. I’m not calling, writing or texting you. If you don’t hear from me, it’s not because I don’t care about you or because I don’t love you, it’s because I’m tired of being the one who always initiates the contact.
There is not one person in my family or circle of friends who does anything SO important, they don’t have time to return a call or an email. You all drive to work and have time to make a quick call in the car, you all sit at your computers at least once a day if not more and almost all of you know how to text. But if technology fails you, I know you all went to school and learned how to write, so send a card through the mail if you have to.
I give of myself unconditionally. I've cooked for you, I've done favors because you were in a bind and I wanted to help, I have gone out of my way to pick up vacation guides for your upcoming trip, I have watched your dog, I have watered your plants, I have picked up your kid, I have paid for your movie when I knew you were short on cash, I have bought your kids gifts, picked up your husband’s favorite salsa, purchased regional wines for your pseudo wine connoisseur of a wife and sent picture phone photos of places I’ve been I thought would interest you.
I have a life too, you know. I drive sometimes more than twelve hours a day, span several time zones over the course of a week, am awake in the wee hours of the morning when you are fast asleep and often have been up driving for hours before you even leave the house for work. I don’t have “set” work hours – I am on the job 24 hours a day. I don’t do the 9 to 5 thing. I don’t have weekends off. Sometimes I start driving at four in the morning, sometimes I start at ten at night. I’m not complaining at all, I love it. But my day doesn’t begin and start at any set time and I don’t have a weekend that starts on a Friday.
I write a blog, I pay bills, I do paperwork, I cook, I clean my truck, I shop for groceries, I call the IRS, the DMV or the DOT when needed and during their business hours, I read, watch TV, spend time with my boyfriend and even have hobbies that I make time for. I’d say I’m pretty busy too.
The only thing I don’t have that you might, are kids. But I don’t buy that as an excuse either. If you are so far up your kid’s asses that you don’t have time for anything else in your life, you need to step back and get some perspective. I have friends with kids. And they find time to call me. I have a cousin with three children under the age of two, one of them a special needs child, and she makes time to touch base with me. I have a friend who often watches up to four children in addition to her own two, and she finds time to call. I’m not accepting the “I have kids” excuse as a reason for not having time. You’re not special. You’re not the only one. You’re not exempt. Everyone has something in their life that is important.
I’ve discussed this with several people and there doesn’t seem to be a real clear reason for why people don’t keep up their end of a relationship. I guess there are people who call and people who don’t. But I have realized that too much is the tit for tat, the “I called them last” bullshit. No one can really put a finger on the exact reason for why some people stay in touch and others don’t. Some people just do. It’s who they are.
My nature is to forgive and forget, to keep calling and writing and texting and mailing and sending and doing even when it’s not reciprocated. I always blow it off and let it roll off my back, thinking the relationships and the friendships and the family are more important than my fleeting hurt feelings. It’s not that I don’t already know how these people are and that they are known for exactly how they are; their reputations are well known among the family members or in the circle of friends. It’s like that old adage about the snake….”well, you knew I was a snake”. True. I do know. I guess I’ll just have to keep that in mind if I find myself slipping back to my natural inclination.
But if you’re one of those people who fall off the face of the earth, one who always claims to be so busy, or you find yourself uttering phrases like “I’m not really good with email” or “I hate to talk on the phone”, you need to step up to the plate once in a while.
I’ll be waiting for your call but I won’t be holding my breath.