I was sitting having iced tea with a friend today, and we were half joking about how people in general are disappointing when it comes to “trying hard enough” to keep in touch. “There’s no reciprocation,” my friend said. He said to me that in general, if a friend is over 20 miles away from you, the chance that s/he will make a genuine effort to continually keep in touch is pretty tiny. I said I had friends less than that distance who were difficult to make plans with. And then I have found with people who I have considered close, sometimes I just get exhausted of always feeling like I am putting more effort into keeping the contact going, so since Ed left us last year, I’ve consciously made an effort to stop doing certain things that either provide no benefit for me or give me no joy.
1. I’ve stopped sending news articles I find interesting (and believe certain friends will find interesting) to a select number of people. If they are never responding (and I find, through using bit.ly links, that they are never even opening my links), they probably shouldn’t be getting the few extra minutes I spend thinking about them and actually sending the links to them to read.
2. I’ve stopped trying to maintain contact with people who don’t reach out to me proactively. Why do I want to stay in contact with people who don’t think of me on their own?
3. This one is sad. I’ve stopped calling certain people. I’ve realized after thinking about some phone conversations that I’m not really being listened to. I’m too charitable when it comes to listening sometimes, and I don’t want to listen to things that bore me anymore. When you are not being listened to, why should you listen to that person?
Every day, I’d like to think I am growing and changing a little. You often hear stories about couples and friends outgrowing each other even when they may spend every single day together. It’s one of the hardest things to slowly start letting go of friends that you have had for maybe decades because they are almost like habits for you, and maybe bad ones at that. You are so used to having them around that after a while, you can’t really remember what pleasure they are really bringing you today, not 10 years ago.
And there comes a time in life when you really need to let go of your bad habits, as painful as it is.