I recently called my friend to wish her a “Happy Birthday.” She texted me to say thanks and that I was one of the only people who actually called. I responded that of course, a birthday deserved a phone call. Yes, it would have been easier to send a text, but birthdays come around once a year—I believe that warrants a call. It’s funny how people rarely seem to talk on the phone these days. When I was growing up, we had four phone lines at my house. Four! One for my parents, a second line in case that one was in use, and my sister and I each had our own dedicated lines. I would spend hours talking to my friends every day after school.
Now kids text, Instagram, Snapchat, or whatever it is that they do. But I’m pretty sure it doesn’t involve talking. Just go to a restaurant and look around. Kids are on their gaming devices or iPods. Whatever happened to the art of having a conversation? And it is truly an art these days. I worry about what kind of social skills my kids’ generation will have. I recently was referred to a friend’s teenage daughter to see if she was interested in babysitting. I left her a voice message but didn’t hear back for a few days. So I checked in with my friend, who assured me she probably doesn’t check her messages that regularly. Sure enough, she called back the following day to say, “Umm, yeah, I can sit. Bye.” Needless to say we texted after that.
I find it ironic that the one device that is supposed to keep us connected is making us, dare I say it? Anti-social.
I must admit, I too am terrible with the phone. And I’m guilty of giving my phone to my kids to get through a meal out. We don’t frequent many restaurants, but when we do it’s sometimes easier. Never mind the fact that everyone else we’re dining with is playing with their devices. My new year’s resolution was to be better at keeping in touch. It’s just that there are only so many hours in the day and by the time the kids go to bed I’m exhausted. But I’m trying. Now when I have a few pockets of free time I’m making a concerted effort to slip in a call. It’s nice to have friendships where you can go days or even weeks without talking, and be able to pick right up where you left off. But while they’re busy too, I know that doesn’t mean they should be taken for granted. And after those catch up sessions, I feel like a person again instead of just a mom. “Keep in touch” is one of those phrases people toss around carelessly, often after seeing an old friend or acquaintance. But there is power in those words. It takes effort, but the payout is that much more rewarding. Keep in touch.