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I have a fair number of friends and in the past (I'm going back quite a few years here), and when I say a fair number, I probably mean around half a dozen really important friends. We always kept in touch over the years, meeting up for drinks, BBQs in the summer and we'd do other things such go see bands, evenings at the cinema etc. Even when we didn't live in the same town this wasn't a problem. It wouldn't be every weekend, it wouldn't always be with the same friend and it might be as infrequent as once every month or two. This was fine because at least there was a bit of a buzz, the odd email or phone call. This is what keeping in touch is all about is it not? These days, however, it's all gone awfully quiet.
Phone calls aren't returned very often if at all and it's extremely rare if they ever ring me in the first place. Emails are occasionally exchanged, but more often than not there's radio silence there as well. Instant messaging, although I don't use it much I'm always in my GMail and therefore on Google Talk. I also have Pidgin running so I'm still contactable on Live messenger for those who use that, but it's always quiet these days. Now before you ask, no I haven't done anything to upset them. For the most part they all lead separate lives anyway. I think the problem stems from the fact that we're all engrossed in our own little worlds with our own problems lifestyles. I do feel that when I make the effort to keep in touch that it isn't reciprocated by them.
It could be tempting to blame Facebook here since I am not on there and nearly everyone on the planet seems to keep in touch through it these days. However, half of these people aren't on Facebook either so it's probably not the problem.
We moved house a few years ago, only an hour away from the town where one friend still lives. At lest a couple of times a year we go back to visit, but he hasn't been to our new house at all despite having passed quite close on several occasions. I used to live next door to this guy and I just can't believe that we haven't had a single visit from him yet. Well it's his loss, because he knows where we are and by the way when I say "we", I mean myself and my girlfriend as we were all once part of a group of friends.
Another one of my friends moved away to Kent quite a few years back. He works in London and we'd meet up there now and then, sometimes he'd come back out our way and we'd all go out for the evening as a group. This was several years ago and we've barely spoken since. I've called and sent the odd email, considering myself lucky to get a response. I heard through another female friend recently who has seen rather a lot of him, that the reason he's not been in contact is because he feels guilty about going off and getting married on the quiet. We'd talked about me being the best man at his wedding one night and apparently he feels awkward because it didn't happen that way. I really can't understand this at all.
I don't fret too much about not seeing friends who live some distance away. It's understandable that people have a lot going on, the weekends are often crammed with stuff that needs doing. What does irk me though is leaving messages and very rarely getting a response. I have a friend up in London who's guilty of that; not too good at answering emails either as it happens.
Some friends do get in touch... when they want something or need something, for example a broken computer that needs fixing or some advice about something that is my within my area of expertise. Then there's another friend that seems to show up more frequently between relationships. When the going is good things are a bit quiet, but when the brown stuff hits the fan we're always at the end of an email, phone call or a get together to help mend the pieces. This isn't a problem, but it would be nice to hear from these fellows at a spontaneous moment when there aren't problems. A "hello, how are you, just cooking my dinner and thought I'd say hi" would be really appreciated.
I used to share a house with a friend that I used to work with. Anyway, to cut a long story short he got a house with his girlfriend and they had a child, the usual story. I last saw him at his surprise 40th birthday party and that was about six years ago. Have repeatedly tried to get in touch but to no avail. Again, we have another mutual friend (one of the elusive crowd I'm afraid) who is in contact and sees him occasionally, but for some reason or other the gap hasn't been bridged and I have no way of contacting him directly. It's such a shame, because we got on really well and had some good times. C'est la vie...
I don't think I'm asking too much here. Oh, and did I mention that I'd done the usual ring around at New Year to wish them all a good one (as I'm Scottish this is a big thing). Lo and behold I spoke to one person (thank you Jason), but have yet to hear from any of the rest. Still, it's only February so I might hear back sometime before the summer. Thankfully I've got my girlfriend here and my family keep in touch a bit more often otherwise I'd be that man you read about in the papers, you know the one, found dead in his flat and the police were only contacted when the neighbours noticed the smell. They say he'd been dead for around three months and nobody noticed. Maybe I should just go under the radar myself and see what happens. What would you do in my shoes?