Does this sound like you?
You’re sitting on the floor, drinking coffee and playing with your kid, and your phone dings. It’s your best friend, who you haven’t spoken to in three months. “Hey!” she says. “I miss you! Let’s talk soon!”
You smile, thinking about how much you miss her and how much you would love to talk to her. Wasn’t it fun back in college when you used to talk for hours, pausing only to flip between awful reality shows? What was that one with Jessica Simpson?
Hmm, you think. What is Jessica Simpson up to these days? No wait- what is Ashlee Simpson up to? You should Google—
Suddenly a tiny hand covered in boogers and jelly grabs your phone, knocking over your coffee in the process. You yelp. The baby, startled, cries. You snatch the phone back and stuff it between the couch cushions to hide it.
Seven hours later
“THERE it is!” you yell, grabbing the phone out of the couch cushions. “Why would it be there?”
30 minutes later, in the shower
Did you dream it, or did your best friend text you earlier today? You should text her. She probably hates you. When will they invent a shower phone?
3 months later, in the car, Ashlee Simpson comes on the radio
“Really? Ashlee Simpson?” you think, “Wasn’t I just thinking about her? When I was thinking about how my best friend and I used to… OH THAT’S RIGHT.” You panic. You need to call her. But it’s been so long! You’re less relevant than EITHER Simpson sister at this point. You’ll do it when you get to work.
6 months later, on your best friend’s birthday
You: Happy birthday! OMG I just noticed there’s a text from you that I never responded to! Oops! [upside down smiley face emoji meant to convey GOSH, AREN’T I THE SILLIEST]
And the cycle resets.
This is the story of my life. Part of me believes that along with all of the nutrients I gave my daughter when I was pregnant, I also gave her my ability to adequately communicate with people. Now, I can’t respond to a text message but she’ll gladly yell “bye bye!” to anyone within a three mile radius.
I frequently receive texts that read something like this: “Oops I never saw this!” or “OMG I’m a horrible friend!” or “Wow, I totally forgot to respond!” or “PLEASE RATE YOUR INSTACART EXPERIENCE” which leads me to this conclusion: I’m not the only one with this problem (and also, grocery delivery is amazing. I always respond to those texts).
I try to be better about this issue. Every chance I have for a fresh start —the new year, my birthday, Monday—I resolve to be better about keeping in touch with people and communicating. While I’m not perfect, I’ve taken a few steps to be a functioning adult:
- Scheduling a time to respond to texts/e-mails I might have missed, at a time when I have an hour or two where I’ll be able to complete an entire conversation (i.e., not right before bed).
- Putting birthdays and important milestones in my calendar, with reminders to be in touch. If a friend is having surgery, or getting an ultrasound, or dropping her baby off at the first day of daycare, I won’t forget to reach out.
- I recently read an interview with Whitney Port (of The Hills and The City). Randomly, someone in her group of friends will send a group text that says “roll call!” Everyone responds with a selfie of themselves in that moment; a quick check-in without the pressure of a conversation.
- I love sending gifts to friends for both special and random occasions, and by that I mean, I love buying gifts for friends and letting them sit in a box in my office for seven months. With companies like greetabl and boxfox, you can put together bestie-worthy, perfectly curated, adorably wrapped gifts…and they’ll actually get sent.
I have so many questions for you. Do you have any tips for keeping up with texts or e-mails? Did I inspire you to send that text you’ve been meaning to send? Or listen to this song? Is chicken of the sea chicken or fish?