I’ve been thinking of an old friend who I have not had any contact with for some time. I’ve been mulling over why I have not called or otherwise gotten in touch. For several years, this friend of mine and I had wonderful times together. We shared in grand adventures. We laughed often and pondered deeply. But somewhere along the line, it started to bug me that I was always the one who initiated these get togethers. I consistently was the one who called her to suggest some outing or just to meet for pizza and conversation.
Every single time we met, my friend appeared genuinely happy to see me. She and I mutually shared information about our respective families, jobs, and life details. Our time BEING together felt balanced with a soothing give and take. But PLANNING thoses get togethers was always up to me. If I did not reach out to her, we would go weeks without even speaking. After a while I got it in my head that if she really wanted to spend time with me, or cared about what was going on in my life, she’d pick up a phone. So I decided to wait for her to call me for a change. Much to my chagrin, it was a rather long wait. I’m still waiting.
So now I have mixed feelings. Because there has been such a long lapse since my friend and I had any contact, I’m wondering what that means. Granted, the phone does work both ways and she COULD call me. But she hasn’t. At this point I’m guessing she probably will not. Does that in and of itself mean she does not value the friendship? Maybe. But I’m not so sure. Every indication I had back when we used to spend more time together was that she enjoyed the bond every bit as much as I did. She simply does not, for whatever reason, initiate the contact. I used to say to her from time to time – “give me a call, ok?” She would just smile and say she would, but I honestly can’t count a time that she did.
In my mind, that puts me in the position of choosing between a friendship where I do all the intitiating or not having the friendship at all. Honestly, I don’t like either alternative. But as it sits, I’m leaning toward the latter. I’m not exactly sure why – but that’s where I’m at. I’m reasonably sure I could call her up even now, after all these months, and she would be genuinely happy to hear from me. But I want a pal that will reach out to me sometimes to. Is that so unreasonable?
So I’m giving some thought to what it is I expect from my various friendships and what I am willing to contribute. I’m wondering if I have sufficiently expressed my appreciation for the people I care about and let them know without question the value they are in my life. .Friendship doesn’t have to be a tit for tat ping-pong game of social obligaltion with the participants scrupulously tallying up who owes who. But I think the strongest relationships which endear trust and deep sense of connection DO have a sense of reciprocity, with both parties extending themselves in the other person’s behalf.
Believing that, I’m doing a bit of soul searching as to how well I’m holding up my half of the bargain in my various relationships. When did I last call my sister in Colorado? What about my old college friends? It’s so easy to get caught up with busy lives… I think today I will spend much of the afternoon writing a few notes and making some calls. I have some people that are precious to me. It is high time I let them know.