Have we become too used to modern communication?
When I was growing up, you could write to someone, visit them, or phone them. And you couldn’t leave messages on the phone if no one was there. The phone was attached to the wall too (permanently, in our case), so there was no escaping to the privacy or a bedroom.
This meant we all formed our friendships in person. To talk to a friend, you had to arrange a time where you’d either both be near a phone, or meet in person. Everyone would spend time apart from their friends, and really enjoy the times you had with them.
We now have mobile phones, the Internet, email and Twitter. Our friends can follow our actions almost as we make them, whether they be next door, or the other side of the planet. This is a good thing! Rather than being isolated, everyone (with a computer) can express themselves, find like minded individuals, form friendships that were unimaginable just a few years ago.
I think maybe I (we?) might have lost something in this. Where is the trust I used to have, that just because I hadn’t seen my friends for a few weeks over the school holidays, we were no longer friends? Just because a friend has not been in contact, does not mean that they are not a friend, just that you need to catch up.
I write this in part because tomorrow I’m going to be visiting a friend who I have known since I was 12. For most of my adult life, she has been living with her partner, and had been married to him for the last 9 years, or so.
You may note the past tense. In the space between my last contact with her, and now, a gap of over a year, her marriage broke down, and they are now divorced.
While you might argue (rightly imho) that I’ve not been a very good friend, a friend I remain – no question about it, despite the many and various gaps in communication that have occurred in the quarter century that I’ve known her.
I would do well to remember this trust, and apply it to my other friendships, online and offline. Friendships are very important, communication is valuable, but it doesn’t have to happen continuously.