My college friends are pretty much scattered around the country. Some cities, like St Louis, New York and DC, have a higher concentration of people I’m fond of than others, but very few are here with me in Chicago. I also, like many other Jews, have friends in Israel. This means that there are many people out there with whom I try to “keep in touch”. Lately, I’ve found myself thinking a great deal about long distance friendships.
How do you know if you’re growing apart, or if the other person just isn’t a great correspondent? If you were once good friends, does that mean you will always be good friends, even if you never really know what’s going on with the other person? What if communication used to be fairly consistent, but has lately died off? Is this just a temporary lull, caused by random events and unexpected busyness, which will vanish as soon as the sources of busyness vanish? Or is it a sign that something is wrong?
I suppose the easiest things to do are to pick up the phone, or send an email, and make sure that everything is still fine between you. If the other person isn’t the greatest correspondent, however, this doesn’t fix anything. You can send an email or leave a message, and not get a response for several days, if at all. In the meantime, you’re just anxious that something really is wrong. You don’t want to stalk your own friend, or start going psycho. You certainly don’t want to send a juvenile “Are you mad at me?” message. If you’re me, at a certain point you tell yourself, “Well, if any of my friends want to talk to me, they know where and how to find me,” and you tell yourself that you won’t pick up the phone or send an email. Because if you’re always the person to call or write, there isn’t much balance in the friendship to begin with. But, if you’re me, you miss your far away friends, and want to talk with them. Then you have the disturbing thought that your far away friends haven’t even realized that you haven’t called or written in a while. Do they notice? Do they care? If yes, then why haven’t they contacted me? If no, why the hell not?
How do you know if your far away friends are still thinking of you fondly…or if they’re still thinking of you at all?