Friendships: where's that "hibernate" button?
June 5, 2008 3:06 PM Subscribe
I'm pretty bad at keeping in touch with people. How can I cultivate low-maintenance friendships? What's the minimum required
to keep a friendship alive over time?
posted by Bardolph to Human Relations (22 answers total) 54 users marked this as a favorite
I'm decent at making friends, but can't seem to keep them long-term. As long as everyone's living nearby, things are fine, but when they move away, the relationship dies pretty rapidly, no matter how close we were at parting. I attribute this to two factors:
1. I'm pretty introverted-- so while I find it easy to like people, it's exhausting to spend a lot of time with them, and I don't especially miss seeing them. This means I usually can't muster the will to plan the sort of roadtrip visits/joint vacations that would give me facetime with old friends.
2. I'm a terrible correspondent-- I hate phone conversations and get dreadful writer's block with email, so both forms of communication usually end up being procrastinated for months until it's too late.
The way it usually goes is: Friend moves away; Friend sends a few update emails; I put off responding to the emails; a year or two of silence passes; I finally scrape things together enough to call/write Friend; Friend answers coldly, sounding offended at the lack of communication; friendship is effectively over. This makes me sad, because nine times out of ten I still really care about Friend and would love to have a relationship, still.
For me, the golden ideal would be the sort of friendship where participants might not talk for years, but the next get-together feels as though they'd never been apart, and they always know they have each others' backs in an emergency (I don't mind at all being called on for isolated stuff like moving assistance and airport pickups and post-breakup shoulder-crying; it's the constant, draining communication I can't handle). I know lots of guys who seem to be able to forge these kinds of relationships, but I (female) haven't had much luck-- everybody seems to want a whole lotta interaction, or else none at all. What's the secret? Is there anything I can say/do to make my friendships less like delicate orchids and more like, say, spider plants-- hardy, reliable, needing minimal watering?