Yesterday I contacted someone I hadn’t spoken to in awhile (and yes, it was to ask a favour) and this in some way inspired them to write a blog post, which has in turn inspired me to write a slightly different post. Morgan writes about maintaining friendships, but here I am going to confess my apparent inability to stay in touch with anyone.
My reasons for this have changed over the years and I wasn’t always like this. In fact I was one of those people who was determined to cling to friendships and send epic saga emails that never got a decent response from most people. So slowly I changed. I had less time. Less motivation. Why should I be the one always trying to stay in touch?
I also have to contend with absolutely ridiculous bouts of depression at times, and even when it’s not too bad I have a lot of trouble with motivation and being tired. Sometimes I struggle to get myself into/out of bed, let alone compose a proper email.
However I think one of the real problems I have is that there are just so many ways to get in touch with people now, but not everyone uses the same thing. I am great with twitter. I can do it from my iphone and yes, sometimes I don’t even have the motivation for that, but generally I can get something out there. It’s not the best conversation place, even with DMs, and for all my followers there are a huge amount of people that I’d like to be talking to who have never used twitter in their life.
A lot of those people use Facebook. I am not a huge Facebook fan. I haven’t turned on the chat function in months because I hate all the people talking to me. It wasn’t until fairly recently that I realised how much people use the groups feature. No one has added me to any cool groups (woe, etc.) so apart from lame status updates, posting embarrassing pictures, and going on sporadic “liking” sprees, I don’t use it very much.
Email. Ah yes. Email. I would quite like to use email. I tried to persevere, but everyone seemed to have moved to Facebook and wouldn’t respond to emails anymore. This meant that I inadvertently started to neglect any non-Facebook users because I just fell out of the email habit. Another problem is not being able to access my work emails from home. I try to not send too many personal emails from my work account (I can access my gmail during the day if I need to) but if it’s library related I have been known to use my work address. Which poses a problem if I need an answer to something or need to follow up on something after hours and can’t get at my inbox.
Well on my mac I use Adium and I have connected (although never signed in) Google Chat, MSN, and Facebook Chat. Now this will sound super lame and #firstworldproblem, but one of the reasons I stopped using IM is because I find it hard to maintain only having my macbook screen. If I had somewhere to have another monitor it wouldn’t be an issue. I was just finding it to be too much of a distraction.
The same goes with Skype. I even got around to adding a whole new bunch of people the other day. Here there are the people who want to use the IM function, the people who want to actually speak, and then those crazy people who want to video chat. Seriously there are very few people in this world that I will happily video chat with when I’m at home in my pjs… nice try.
And letters. Whatever happened to letters? Recently I’ve been swapping letters with one of my bestfriends who I actually met from twitter, and who I chat with everyday on Whatsapp (yes, I realise I left this one out). Letters are marvellous and exciting and it’s great that you get something to actually keep in your hand. I’d forgotten just how awesome they are. Of course I also forget what I write so I wouldn’t be surprised if I write the same thing each time, and I also hate when I know one is on the way but it takes forever to arrive.
I’m not going to mention the telephone. I have a phone phobia. It probably explains a lot. I will mention it in the context of having an iphone and being able to do most of these things from wherever I am (but that doesn’t necessarily mean I want to).
So it seems that there are just too many options. Everyone chooses what works best for them, which makes it hard when you’re trying to keep up with different groups of people. My preferred method is email but it doesn’t seem to work for most of my older friends (I mean the ones I’ve had for longer), and I don’t even have the email addresses of lots of my newer friends.
What is the solution? Well I don’t have one. Just keep up with people when I can. Try to make time to email people who don’t have Facebook. Remember that just because I’ve revealed my innermost thoughts to twitter it doesn’t mean I don’t have to call my mother.