Opinion

Resolution to be a better friend

I never got around to making a New Year’s resolution for 2020, but I think I’ve got one now. I want to be better about corresponding with my friends and relatives.

There are a number of people I wish I remained in close contact with, especially childhood friends. We grew up together but moved away after high school and college, and now we live far apart. Not all of my friends are on social media, so I often ask myself, “I wonder what so and so is up to. ” The funny thing is that I have their phone number. I have their email address. I have a dozen different ways to contact them, but I don’t get around to doing it. Why?

“I don’t have time.”

“If only I didn’t have to work tonight.”

“If only I didn’t have to vacuum the house.”

“If only I didn’t have to leave town this weekend.”

I’m really busy, and that’s why I haven’t written back to those friends who reached out to me weeks ago. At least, that’s what I like to think. But I know that deep down that’s not really true. I’ll think about my day, and how pressed for time I really was. Sure, I had to work. I had to do some chores. But I also spent plenty of time scrolling through social media and stretching a 30 minute dinner into an hour on the coach watching television.

I’ve come to realize that we all have time for the things that matter. The reason I didn’t write back to my friends wasn’t because I was out of time. It was that I didn’t make them a priority. Now that I’m making more of an effort to stay in touch, I’m finding time in all sorts of places.

Instead of mindlessly scrolling through my phone in a hospital waiting room, I’m composing a message to an aunt or uncle. I’ve also come to realize that I was putting off a lot of my correspondence because I was waiting for a big block of time to write my friends a lengthy email. But when no such block of time appeared, their message went unanswered. I now believe that a response, of any length, is better than none at all, and that I can always follow up a short message with a more detailed one.