^ Me working as an excuse to actually see friends.
I pride myself on being a very present friend, when I am there. I will listen, attempt humour and next to never check Instagram until you are gone.
The issue I have, is getting to be there in the first place. Having counted the days and then the weeks that have rolled through 2018 already, I wonder how many I've actually spent with my friends or doing "fun things".
Now, I definitely have a wonderful life and am very lucky but when a girlfriend texted me last night to catch up I thought "I haven't seen you in months". Looking back into my photos it had actually been A YEAR. A year since I last saw someone I consider a really good friend. What's that about?
I have a feeling this happens to A LOT more people than just me. So what are the reasons? This is my apology to those friends I've fallen out of touch with, but also some insight into why.
Not that I forget you exist or what fun is or how to see people; I forget it's been so long. I think it was only just yesterday that we hung out for coffee and suddenly it was last winter.
We cram so much information into our minds all the time that sometimes it's going to happen that we forget parts of it.
Unfortunately, time between dates is a thing that features highly on my forgotten list.
I feel like I have just seen you! Didn't we chat last week? I know everything that's going on with you, all your current annoyances AND I got to see photos of you enjoying yourself. Albeit, with people who aren't me but STILL - enjoying. The addition of social media in our lives has surely decreased inter-personal communication. Instead of phone calls (which I absolutely DESPISE as my very least favourite form of communication) or in-person catchups we now "like", comment, tag, share like crazy.
Last week, I didn't talk to my best friend for three days but felt like we had spoken every day because of multiple meme tags on Facebook.
Now, I'm not here to tell you if this is wrong or right or why phone calls are the stuff of nightmares BUT it is the way it is. So I am learning to roll with it. Somedays, I have to give myself a Kmart job just to talk to an actual human over the age of five.My only request with this the age of social media is that we include more. If you are only going to chat "on the line", make sure you're telling someone how you're feeling and what's going on with you occassionly. Texts can't sense if someone needs a friend and Instagram has no tone so reach out in more than 160 characters sometimes.
Now, this can go two ways. Either you are actually so freaking busy with your (insert number) kids that you actually have no time at all for a social life OR you use your kids as an excuse to never have to have a social life. Either are acceptable, and I have been guilty of both.I have a small human with me 98% of my time. Having a child is hard work. We all know this and there's plenty of reasons why. You're also always tired and broke so that feeds into the other points. I'm not going to talk about the shitfight that is scheduling with multiple children to ever see human life again coz I have no idea what that must be like and I applaud you for even leaving the house at all. BUT I do know what it's like to juuuusssst kinda slide plans off because child.Archie is a bit tired. We had big day. He had preschool so I wanna spend some time with him. I don't wanna bring him to Hugos. ALL reasonable excuses and reasons to miss socialising with adults BUT also all avoidable should I try hard enough.
The truth of it is sometimes, I am just tired and don't feel like adulting.
My brain hurts and I wanna talk about the green car and the car road and the truck that moved the dirt and shut my brain off to real life for a wee minute. Being old is hard and you get worn down by life (I'm sorry the this is not an uplifting tale should you be reading this at 16 but dammit, I'm a truth bringer) SO sometimes I want to hold my son on the couch, eat popcorn and watch Norm of the North in my pyjamas. Sorry not sorry (Are people still saying that?). But I actually am really sorry. I wish I had the energy to see people and do young things and have fun but sometimes I have none left to give! People joke they'd get a babysitter just to go home and sleep but this is actual real life. I didn't choose the exhausted life, it chose me.
This can apply to anyone of any level. Nothing brings on anxiety for an evening more than knowing I probably don't have the funds for it. How much are the drinks there? What will I eat? Can I bring a snack? If I say I'm doing Atkins I can get away with eating a protein bar there. Is there entry fee? Will we have to go somewhere after? How much can I move from my cheque account to withdraw another $20 at the ATM there. Shit - it's a no name brand. $2 surcharge - I'll never make it. Dammit that $20 is just sitting in there... Sitting in there unspent.... I could be using it... Should I eftpos a round and then they'll get the next round?
$21 for a vodka Redbull?!! Bloody Sydney.
It's not that I am excessively broke, I might add. It's the rational in my head that has come with being old. I can get a bottle of wine at BWS for $15 and call it a night but drinks with a view will cost me a small house deposit over the course of two hours. My old-ass-34-year-old-mum-brain quickly works out what I could alternatively buy for the $150 a will spend that night and returns a speedy Hell no, girl. That's Archie's soccer for two months.
Work is hard and takes lots of time and uses much brain power. Even as I type this I'm imagining the time when I'm not typing this and I can stare at the wall for five minutes thinking about nothing at all. It's no wonder that by the time we finish work - a place where we are forced by lure of money to talk to people all day even if we don't like them - we no longer want to say another single word for the rest of that day;
unless it is "order for delivery, please"
We talk about talk and talk at work, like our words are earning us dollars by the minutes. Meetings and catchups and ideas and projects and suddenly it's the end of the day and my brain collapses like a lava lamp. I love this - I crave this energy at work - but it does leave us extremely mentally drained by the time it comes to all the other non-worky things.Secondly, when does work end now? Coz Idk. It seems like we are all working longer , living less and feeling stressed all the time. So it's any wonder that by the time you get to the end of a bizzilion hour week you have zero to no care about seeing another superhero movie. I'm going to Netflix Love Actually for the 700th time and fall asleep on my couch eating Thai food.
You remind me of something I haven't made peace with.
This is a big one for me that may not resonate with you. You may be a friend from a time I don't want to remember, somewhere I used to be or know people I fell out with. Either way, the memory of your existence causes me residual ickiness. I am so sorry if you are said friend. I can't help it, but am working on it.
Sometimes when large parts of your life have been spent moving around from place to place you leave friends in a "see you soon" pile and never really get to back to it.
There may be friends you really care for and would love to see but you know you'll have to talk about certain people or certain memories you just want left alone. You may also have grown or changed since last seeing them and don't want the memories of the person you were or the way people saw you.Because of my OCD this happens frequently but I am learning to push through it and to reestablish new, healthy relationships with these friends out of the toxicity of our mutual past.
I currently live on the Central Coast. The drive from Ettalong to Erina ALONE is enough to make me dump it in the too-hard-pile. My friends, prior to living up here, live in Alexandria, the south of Sydney, Melbourne or Los freaking Angeles.
My issue with catching up with people sometimes is pure geography.
Getting two people in one place in a network as big as our world is now is a scientific equation mastered only be the lucky few. In fact - I've seen friends BY ACCIDENT easier than I've sene them on purpose. By the time you arrange the hours free needed to see the person, arranged the travel time and mastered the planets aligning, I'm too exhausted to even show up.
The biggest. The champion of all reasons I don't leave my house. The reason Netflix and Facebook were likely invented: Anxiety. Social anxiety precisely. Who will be there? Will I have one on one convos? Will there be new people? Can I muster enough energy to be on for three hours? Is three hours long enough? Should I cancel? I'll cancel. Maybe I can't get a sitter. Maybe Dave is sick. Yeah - blame Dave. What will I talk about? Hopefully there's a loud person who talks heaps. What if I swear too much? What if I drink too much. I won't drink. Not even one? Maybe one. No - none.Any person that has ever seen me anywhere - this is what I was thinking the entire way there. On social media I have time to form witty responses and quips. I don't make horrendous faux pas or overshare. Well - I still overshare. I read my audience and I can BLOCK PEOPLE YO. Real life chat is tough. There are so many variables. Every single experience will undoubtedly end one of two ways:
What the hell did I say? I hate drinking, I suck.
Wow - I should socialise more. It's so good for me.
There is never any in between.
FOMO can actually work against us. Standing for Fear Of Missing Out, it essentially means we are wanting to be involved in all the things, so we don't miss anything. HOWEVER - should you miss just ONE THING; FOMO can come in to hurt you.Well how come they were hanging out? What were they doing? That looks fun. We don't have that much fun together. They went to a cool cafe. I wanted to go to that cafe. She tagged her on Instagram. Probably coz she's prettier than me. Shou I comment? Nah... Ima scroll past and ignore it. I'll say I didn't see it. They wanna hang out without me, that's cool. I don't need to go to things. I'm my own friend. Yay, me.
Suddenly - you have made yourself a social outcast for absolutely no reason and at only your own cost.
I have noticed this spiral of self-pitying-jealousy before in myself and punched my metaphorical stomach to snap out of it. Chances are - they would have loved me there too but I PROBABLY DECLINED for one of said other reasons.
Also, FOMO strung to FOMO only creates a FOMO train that spirals out of control.
Check yourself, before you wreck your self and either show up to the date or allow them to without you. Either way, they are still your friends and love you and probably only talked about you a little bit ;) So, what to do? We all just spend every day feeling guilty about never seeing anyone until we are tightly would balls of anxious energy?! Check! No. We relax, accept this new way of life and cope. There are many great memes that eloquently display the struggle of adult life:
And this is all very true! So let's not beat ourselves up about it and embrace the fleeting wondrous hours we do get to spend in our friend's company.
But please don't ever call me on the actual telephone - I'm going to stare at the wall now.