We have a doorstep milk delivery, from one of the few dairies that still run this service, except they’re not really that any more, but got swallowed up by a European conglomerate not long ago. Last night that company sent me an e-mail, informing that the normal payment method had been declined and this week’s deliveries were therefore cancelled. Checking details, there was nothing wrong with my card or the bank, and so I went to bed with a feeling of discomfort that something bigger might be at fault.
This morning, before sitting down to write, came another email: your payment details are fine, we have the problem. Between last night and this morning enough people must have complained for someone to flag up the issue. In this case, it genuinely isn’t my fault, yet the email initially sent sticks all the onus on me because obviously the default state in these situations is to assume the other person at fault. My residual guilt complex did that job pretty well too, and it was an awful night’s sleep as a result.
This morning there was also the realisation that a friend’s birthday has been missed: before I went to correct the oversight there was a moment of considered reflection. When was the last time they remembered my birthday? Come to think of it, were’t they supposed to have contacted me over some stuff that they wanted me to do far earlier in the year? Yes, they were, and it never happened. I got my hopes up that maybe we’d be able to start communicating regularly again and look what happened. Today’s thought therefore is this: how much chasing someone is acceptable?
When does a friendship stop being just that?
I’m not great at personal relationships, let’s be honest. When what was my best mate moved away there was a real effort to keep the dialogue going, but ultimately… nope. The sad fact remains: people move on, but I don’t. My attempts at trying to engage with people online has been hit and miss: there’s two lovely women however who remember birthdays and communicate regularly. Both are most definitely close and significant friendships. Neither however are what could be considered as ‘local’: that makes me think that perhaps there ought to be some effort made to try and foster some new connections.
Then there is a reminder that evolutionary anthropologists state you’ll be lucky to manage 150 meaningful relationships in a lifetime. This makes perfect sense to me, considering the issues encountered in recent years. Where do you begin, however, when the latest attempts at organising physical meetings result in silence or a scrabbled ‘I’m sorry, too stressed, I’ll get back to you?’ Is this the truth or is the ‘scary internet person’ just that? I’d also like to develop some meaningful male friendships in reality but honestly, is that even possible in the current climate?
Perhaps the answer is to just keep trying with the uncommunicative people in the hope they see your pain and discomfort and want to help. It’s tough enough doing this in your teens, but a nightmare in your 50’s.
If all else fails, it makes for good subject matter.