One of my favorite people in the world is someone I consider a family member, my friend Jim. When we lived closer to each other we would run into each other at least once a week, often hanging out at a diner late in the night laughing and talking. Then I had a baby, moved to the suburbs, stopped going to the places we ran into each other – and now we only see each other a few times a year, even though we’re in the same area.
Keeping up with him has become a challenge.
Now, this is true for many of my friends – we used to just run into each other regularly – but luckily, most of those folks are on Facebook or Twitter or write blogs, so it’s easy to keep up digitally. But Jim isn’t online. He didn’t even have email until very recently. In order to chat with him, I’d need to pick up the phone and call him.
And you know what I never do anymore? Pick up the phone and call people.
If I want to talk to someone “in person”, I reach out on Skype, or Facebook chat, or do a Google+ Hangout. If I want to make arrangements to get together, I create a Facebook event. Many of my friends are on Twitter now – which means I’m talking a dozen times a day with a friend I met at a blogging conference – but I’m not talking to those friends of mine that have been a big part of my earlier life (particularly, for me, the friends I made while getting sober). Those people I have to work hard to connect with, and frankly, that means I often don’t.
I absolutely adore the way that social media connections have enriched my life and helped me get closer to some of the most amazing people – particularly other mom bloggers – that I’ve ever been lucky enough to know.
But I miss the rest of my friends. I’ve begged them to get online, but many of them simply refuse. Which means, ultimately, if I want to maintain those friendships I need to do that thing that fifteen years ago was an as natural as breathing – pick up the damn phone and call them.