I think the proportion to which you are communicated with (text, phone calls, facebook, email) and the amount you are responded to is in direct correlation to how much people care about you. If you care, you respond back. If you don’t, you don’t. If you care and you don’t respond back, just remember actions always speak louder than words.
It’s so easy these days, and just as quick as it is easy, to let people know you care. If you don’t take the time to let people know you care or to respond back to them, it says more about your concern for that person than you think. Ignoring messages and phone calls can be hurtful especially when this seems selective– you respond to some but not to all. It’s not that friends don’t understand, it’s just that after a certain point, understanding doesn’t fill the void that a friendship in neglect creates.
When friends or close friends don’t respond back to you, it’s hard to feel that the connection you share is deep and meaningful. To develop a sense of security and camaraderie with friends- old and new- acknowledgement is crucial. It’s so easy to acknowledge those who matter to you in every and any moment that it’s almost ridiculous to imagine that anyone wouldn’t feel acknowledged. It does happen, however, and probably often at that. We get very caught up and might even take the abundance of communication for granted ultimately forgetting that our friends and family still need more reassurance of their value than a Facebook friendship.
Keep those people who want to keep you as well.
Being busy or knowing your friend or new acquaintance is busy still leaves so many ways to communicate with voicemail, texting, email, facebook message, wall post, comment (phew! So many options). Or sending a note in the mail, care packages, and so many others! While you don’t have to get very creative, you know (and everyone else for that matter) that you can. Maybe you don’t expect an answer from them but it doesn’t matter because you know if they care they’ll do their best to respond back to you. Its all reciprocity.
That’s why I think, as I step into an age where friends keep partying or settle down for family life, leaving town, and finding ourselves– all of us going in separate directions– that it is so important to keep in touch. Even while we’re in school taking month long breaks from our daily education routines, the need for companionship continues. This road of life, where-ever it takes you, can be lonely without anyone to speak to or wander down the dusty trail with. We all have access to the most basic means of “dropping a line” to our friends and acquaintances, our family and nearest and dearest– so do it!
I am reminded of this story that sometimes circulates the forwarded emails, of a boy carrying too many books home and dropping some. Another boy saw and helped him pick up his books. The friendly conversation and camaraderie all the way home convinced the boy with the books not to commit suicide which he told his friend years later. Obviously the friend was very surprised that such a small thing as a friendly conversation could influence someone so much so that they would choose to no longer kill themselves. When you’re alone or feel alone, someone “dropping a line” is like extending a life line.
Whether this story resonates with you or not, the point is that we all can use some connection. Sometimes that connection is all we need. In this day and age, someone killing themselves out of loneliness is something that need never happen. Someone feeling that there is no hope and that they need to suffer alone is something that need never happen. All it takes is a little bit of acknowledgement. All we ever need and desire in our lives is love and acknowledgement. To extend this to your friends, family, and acquaintances is the greatest gift you can give. If you have children, you are teaching them how to extend the same compassion and acknowledgement to others that you would like from them. Set the example– be the change you wish to see. Or, as the golden rule is taught: treat others the way you want to be treated.
So who can you reach out to today? Who have you put on the “back burner” that you can let know they still warm your heart? Where in your life do you feel like you’re lacking acknowledgement? Who can you acknowledge?
With gratitude for you,