Just Press Send – a Long Overdue Message to a Friend

Hey fraannd,

Brace yourself because this is going to be one unusually lengthy message.

Let me begin with an apology. Terribly sorry it took me so long to reply to your last message. I’ve been busy as usual – and I’m sure you would have been too. It’s not that I haven’t been meaning to get back you – it’s just that sometimes messages pile up in my inbox when life gets hectic, and even just the thought of having to go through them overwhelms me. So, I let them pile up even more (counter-intuitive, I know) … and get back to them weeks later.

We’ve tried both approaches: a) short one sentence messages, and b) multiple lengthy paragraphs. And let’s be honest – neither of them are ideal.

The first feels too choppy and somewhat insincere. There are only so many times that I can ask “How are things, babe?” and that you can reply “Great! Hru?” before things get frustrating, and continuing the conversation becomes more of a burdensome chore than a true pleasure. The second tactic requires too much time and energy (neither of which we have enough of) to be deemed sustainable, and you seem to move on in life before I get a chance to address any of the events mentioned in your previous messages. Either you’ve got more drama going on in your life than Kimmy K, or I’m just really slow at replying. Regardless, replies that involve too much effort aren’t necessarily the best at nourishing friendships in my opinion.

I remember signing-up to Facebook thinking, ‘Yay, I’ll keep in contact with all of my friends!’ I mean, when we’re only a click away from chatting, maintaining friendships seems rather simple. Looking back now, though, I couldn’t have been more wrong.

You might have experienced this yourself, but social media often lulls us into the false sense of security that our friendships are amply maintainable by the simple ‘✓Friends’ or ‘✓Following’ box on each other’s profiles. The prospect, however, of an intricate human relationship being represented by a virtual tick is implausible and, in all honesty, just sad. Positive human relationships are based on so much more: trust, consideration, admiration, protection … And I’d say true interaction is what facilitates and strengthens foundations like these. Without putting in that extra bit of effort to truly connect, in reality, being social media friends translates to nothing substantial. My point: online ‘friendships’ must be supported by genuine communication for their respective real-life relationships to be sustained.

Another point. Personally, at least 50 per cent of my Facebook friend-list now comprises people I would awkwardly avoid eye contact with should I ever bump into them on the street (shudders). Don’t get me wrong – I once got along quite well with a lot of these people. Most of them are great, and it’s not to say that a simple smile or even small talk would hurt in such situations. But one must prioritise. You see, I’m a limited resource, and I can only dedicate so much of my time to friends, while trying to balance everything life throws at me to the best of my abilities. Trying to stretch myself across multiple friendships is not only exhausting, but it also risks me losing the ones dearest to me, like the one I have with you.

Anyways, let’s talk about solutions. What can we do to occasionally re-spark our friendship without it feeling like some sort of obligation?

Regular meetups are always the best, I guess. Remember our weekly yoga classes/catch-ups? Those were good times. The world asks so much of us these days, and being able to multitask made life so much easier.

Seeing as we now live in different states, though, that’s no longer a viable option. The next best thing seems to be Skype. What if we set a weekly time – say Monday nights at 9pm, just for about an hour? If that’s too often, once a fortnight, or even once a month would suffice. As long as we get to catch-up periodically, you know?

Even when we’re both back home, seeing as we’re usually short of time, the best course of action seems to be to meet up with the whole gang, or at least in manageable groups of some sort. Admittedly, the problem with hanging in groups is that sometimes it isn’t as personal as we’d hope. Sometimes, even, individual relationships in groups exist purely out of circumstance – i.e. having mutual friends – and often we don’t realise it. But when we do, we come to understand that we’ve been clinging onto the memories we’d made with these people, instead of cherishing the friendships themselves. Which brings me back to my point: some relationships just need to take a back seat. Nevertheless, you get to refuel the ones that truly mean something to you, and I guess that’s the best we can do sometimes!

But if neither opportunity pops up, just tag me in the occasional meme or food porn post, or shoot me a quick message that doesn’t always warrant much of a response. Snapchat works too, and, to an extent, so does a #tbt Instagram of us together. I’ll do the same. We both know that it’s not because we don’t care but, in fact, because we care enough to let each other know that we’re alive once in a while.

Anyways, hope you’re doing well! Remember that I’m always rooting for you, wherever and whenever.

Love you, miss you,

Your pal xox