We’ve all said it at least once to friends, family, colleagues and even to that stranger we sat next to on a 7 hours flight. I know I did! Sometimes we say it because we mean it but often we say it as a way to be polite. We also say it to push away the feeling of guilt about to eat us for going away and leaving loved ones behind. When we mean it, is it really that easy? Can we realistically “stay in touch” with every single person we know? How do we even do that?
Personally, I am really (really!) bad at practicing what I preach. I am one of those people who are always torn between wanting to be a people person and wanting to be alone. I enjoy people’s company sometimes as much as I enjoy being on my own and listening to my own thoughts. As a result, staying in touch for me is like tossing a dice. Will I do it? how often will I do it? How bad is the damage? and so many more questions.. Suffice to say, a lot of my communications start with sorry it’s been so long, apologies for disappearing for long, please don’t be upset and you can imagine so many more variations. Thankfully, if there is one thing I am good at and not shy to do it’s apologizing! The result, a lot of upset individuals and a very guilty but regretful me.. Am I the only one? Is staying in touch really synonym with daily phone calls, emails. facebook messages, whatsapps, skype calls, tweets… did I forget anything? Can we really keep up with every single relationship in our lives?
Most of you will say, well pick your battles! quality over quantity! you don’t have to be perfect.. start somewhere… and I totally agree! My issue is not with doing it, my bigger issue is if I don’t do it? If I am not perfect but trying…like really trying.. would you still be upset? I know we have to invest in relationships to keep them alive, but who decides on how much is enough. Are we competing on how many touch up points we achieve? Is it about quantity not quality? Do we get a pass after so many years of friendship? Do we get a pass because we’re family? You get the point! I wish I had an answer. I wish there was a magic formula to make everyone happy while not feeling void and empty and not living the “real” life but always hung on the virtual strings of life to keep everyone happy.
At this point, you must be thinking what the hell is she trying to say! I don’t know. I guess it occurred to me today after chatting with a very old friend I haven’t seen in years that the magic formula, at least for me, is being genuine and trying your best. If you have to apologize do it and if you have to have a reminder on your phone to reach out to someone, also do it! Do whatever it takes but don’t overdo it! By that I mean you don’t have to spend your days going through a list of people and by the time you hit the letter Z you have to start again. You can’t be perfect but you can find the balance that works for you and your loved ones. Balance is not overrated in this case. Be open. Tell your cousin it’s hard for you to take that phone call at noon because you’re always somewhere where you can’t have personal conversations. Don’t be scared to tell your friend that sometimes sleep has to win so you can make your morning commute on time. Don’t be rude but be frank. They will understand. Find a way to make it work but assure them that you are trying your best and that if you slip from time to time it’s OKAY. Don’t give up on yourself!