Thursday, February 14, 2008
This Friendship Will Expire in 90 Days
“You know I got love for you, man!” I said.
“Yeah, you say that but you don’t show it,” Phil* said. “You don’t even call me.”
My friend's allegation confused me. After all, I had just talked to him a little while back…just the other--well, actually…ummm…okay, it had been five months. Still, I couldn’t understand his attitude.
Apparently Phil (and many folks for that matter) believes there’s a correlation between how much you call and how much you care.
I’ll be the first to admit that my follow-up skills suck at best and Phil is not the first person to rip me a new one about it. Yet we all have friends we don’t keep up with on the regular. It doesn’t mean we don't care about them.
There are a number of variables to consider when it comes to the fluctuations of communication and friendship. One is just…life, responsibilities. I’ve got business! The older you get, the more things vie for your attention--career, higher education, health, finances, spirituality, and so on.
Another factor is the natural communication pattern. If I talk to Lisa once a week and Paul once a year, that’s just how the natural pattern plays out for each individual. It doesn’t mean I care about Paul any less. Actually, if Paul started calling weekly, it probably wouldn’t even feel right. Communication between friends often dwindles after a move. We naturally talk more to the folks we see all the time. Other circumstances, like marriage and kids all alter the dynamics of how we interact.
Then there are different communication styles. Some people require daily friend interaction--The Phone Fanatic--always on the phone, always online, always rockin' the earpiece. When The Fanatics aren't on the phone they wonder, “Who can I call?” These people receive undue props on the friendship tip. Most of the time, they’re not calling because they care. They’re calling because they’re bored.
On the other extreme, you have folks like me without a house phone and 200 daytime cell phone minutes that rarely run over. My friendship style is laid back--laissez faire, if you will. I’ll check on you periodically (depending on our pattern). Otherwise, if you need me, call me. I don't spend a lot of time "shooting the breeze." Some people want that in a friend and feel let down when I don't provide it. My outlook is this: if your car breaks down, I got you. Something on your mind? I got you. Sick? I got you. Need to vent? I got you. But if you just ain't got anything better to do, holla at The Fanatic.
If a friend assumes a lower profile in my life or vice versa, it’s nothing to be mad at. There was a time when Phil and I talked every day, but the nature of our relationship is different now. I don't expect a person to stay tight with me just because we once were. If we do, gravy. If not, that’s okay too. Lack of communication doesn't make us enemies.
I love and care about my friends. It shows in the core attributes they can count on forever--trust, acceptance, loyalty. No matter how infrequent the communication, these qualities don’t change. Not after a week, a year, or a decade.
at Thursday, February 14, 2008