I am in an ongoing group chat with my high school friends—all of whom live in different cities now.
The technology allows our friendship to continue as if we are still in the same city. We have phone calls, texts, the occasional exchange of memes and gifs, and those crazy “remember when stories”.
Though I receive and read all of the texts, sometimes it takes me a while to respond to them… if I ever do…
When I finally joined in the conversation the other day, I was greeted with a bombardment of replies along lines of, “Oh! NOWWW she decides to talk to us!”
Though I knew they only meant their comments as playful teasing, it got me thinking—am I really unreachable to my friends?
I racked my brain with questions and theories. Is it okay that I don’t find memes all that amusing and that I would rather be reading something? Or since when did we all have to be in communication with each other all the time? That sounds exhausting! Or the excuse, I just like to live the life that is in front of me instead of being attached to my phone because I am just present to the people around me.
Now, you may say, “she is overthinking this.” But while these are all fine and good reasons not to respond to a text message or take that phone call, I knew deep down, that the root of the problem was something deeper.
I need to be okay with the attention and sometimes interruptions that relationships and people demand in my life. Period. The End.
Because at the end of the day, I respond to the messages I want to respond to. I pick up the phone calls that I want to pick up.
But the other day I was going through a crisis, and there was only one person who I really knew would understand my situation—my friend Jen. I hadn’t talked to her in a few months, and I think I had even ignored some previous phone calls of her earlier in the year. But I really needed to talk, so I dialed timidly….
Ring…. Ring… Rii….Hello?!
Relief swept over me. Of course Jen would pick up. Jen always picks up. Even if it is just to say, “I can’t talk right now, when’s a better time?” As the conversation Jen said, “you know, I almost didn’t pick up, but when I saw that it was you I thought to myself, “Molly might really need something! So I am really happy I did!”
It was then that I realized Jen lives this way of communicating with all of her friendships. She isn’t super woman, and I would be willing to bet that she ignores a call or forgets to respond to a text or two. But she really tries to be available for the people that she loves, and the people that love her.
What I learned from the contrast of these two experiences is that sometimes you have to let the interruptions of life become part of your life. Sometimes you have to trust that the reason something is happening—whether that be a conversation or phone call—is because it is supposed to be happening.
Relationships aren’t easy, and they take a lot of work. They require a lot of communication even when it isn’t easy—any married couple would tell you that! So maybe next time the phone rings, or your tone sounds for a text, or you get a letter in the mail, or someone on the street stops to talk to you: make yourself available to them. Because in the end, our relationships now will prepare us for our future ones, and the people we love are all we really have anyway.