Let me preface this by saying this is neither intended as some sort of passive-aggressive commentary, nor is it directed at anyone in particular. Hopefully that heads off a few issues before any assumptions are made.
One of the things I am admittedly terrible at in this life is the maintenance of friendships in the long term. I'm positively awful at it - bad enough that my wife has pointed out to me that, if anyone's keeping score, I'd probably be at the bottom of whatever list was created to show how bad people are at staying in touch by a couple of orders of magnitude on the scoring.
Put another way - everyone has gifts, and everyone's broken somewhere. For me? The staying-in-touch thing is where I'm broken, and I know and have come to recognize it.
The thing is...
... i'm not on Facebook. I'm /here/, yes, but G+ isn't the same as Facebook, and doesn't lend itself to the same kind of interaction. G+ is about content. Facebook is about that whole social planning thing - and as much as I rag on Facebook and for all of the good reasons there are to do so, it's very good at that.
... With the kids as they are and with my strictly, legally curtailed ability to discuss them in any public forum, as a new parent who wants
to show off pictures and parenting anecdotes, I can't. This limits my conversational topics outside of face-to-face interaction in dramatic fashion, as jeopardizing my family situation, even by accident, is a non-starter.
.... my phone doesn't exactly ring off the hook with social invitations. _I recognize this as my fault, for the most part_ , but my unpopularity in-person is one of those things that's been true since high school, and I find it unsurprising.
(Honestly, my wife's far more popular and engaging - and she's better about maintaining the social calendar than I'd ever be. Most people just know to call her.)
Anyway - it stung a bit when I ran into an old friend today and, rather than exchange phone numbers and get current, his response was "why bother? We both know you probably won't call anyway - it was nice seeing you, but why put that pressure out there?" It was brutally honest, and not incorrect - how many times have we met an old friend, sworn to ourselves we will stay in touch, and then don't? Heck, between my old boss and several very good friends I don't see nearly enough (I'm thinking of you, +Ronald Hicks
, and you, +Josh Livingston
) I'm so guilty of this as to expect it shall be engraved on my tombstone: "here lies Shannon, filled with good intentions but incapable of dialing a phone number."
I am bothered, I suppose, because it was both brutal and honest to point out my terrible tendency. It /is/ a flaw, and something I desperately need to fix, somehow, at some point in my existence.
That said... every single person that's ever said this to me has one thing in common, and I'm not sure how to feel about it. For all that I am told how horrible I am at staying in touch (and I am!), they're not exactly making a lot of effort themselves. I've had this phone for a couple of years, now, and the number of non-work, non-family people that call me on it can be counted on both hands, with fingers left over. The people who give me hell when I meet them in public aren't generally on that list... except +Ronald Hicks
, +Matthew Curvin
and +James Braschler
and I deserve all the hell they want to level my way over it.
The part I'm struggling with here is.. yeah. I'm guilty of being bad at staying in touch. However, if your number has never shown up on my caller ID, do you have the right to give me a hard time about it? Why is the expectation that it's my job, and my job alone, to make the effort?
It's true that I often fail at doing so... but do you get to call me out when I can't remember the last time you made the effort yourself?
Should I feel guilty, or angry? Or both?
Anyway. Venting. Done with. And, frankly, given how much of an idiotic, callow jackass I was a decade ago, I probably shouldn't be surprised by the reaction of friends I haven't seen in that long.
On a more positive note - 298.4, this morning, and still falling. C'mon 275... where I've promised myself a new bike!
(with chain and pedals, not an engine.)