Talking with a friend tonight, he mentioned that he is not one for keeping up with others via the telephone. He said that he felt a worry of it growing awkward at some point, and I’m guessing he meant due to the lack of things to discuss. I’ve never really thought of myself as someone who’s a very phone-y person, however, I do consider myself good at keeping in touch with people long-distance, when they are interested in remaining in touch. Out of curiosity, I checked my phone log for the past eight days (I got tired of clicking on each one, so I stopped after eight days.). I had two conversations of about half an hour (one with this particular friend), one conversation of about 45 minutes, one conversation of about an hour, and two conversations of about an hour and a half. That’s just in the past eight days. There were a few conversations between ten and 15 minutes, but most of them were under five minutes in the total phone log for the eight days. I’ve never thought much about this, but I suddenly wonder if this is not quite normal.
To be fair, one of the people – she had two of the very long conversations – is a friend from college who now lives in Georgia, and another is my brother who lives in Japan. So, they’re both long-distance folks in my life. But it wasn’t like we were ‘catching up’ on things. She and I were just chatting about whatever, keeping on another company while we accomplished other things, and my brother and I were talking mostly about this book I’m reading, and then a little about taxes and insurance, before returning to the book. We hardly even mentioned anything relating to ‘catching up’ on what’s going on in life for each of us. I guess we just don’t have difficulty discussing things fluidly, and so we never reach a point of dryness in the conversation. Or, as in the case of the friend in Georgia, if we aren’t talking for a bit, it’s because we’re focusing on something else, and so we want the pause in the conversation. It is in no way an awkward silence, but, rather, a welcomed, desired moment for focus to be elsewhere. Our goal is to hang out together, and so we do just that… miles and miles apart. (I looked it up. It’s about 700 miles by plane, 800 by car.) My best friend and I would Skype like that, just hanging out together as though we were in the same room as one another, even though we were in different countries. (We don’t right now, because she’s had to hunker down to finish her PhD, and so we couldn’t have our hanging out distract her from the much-needed focus.)
Maybe I’m just super accustomed to long-distance relationships, beginning with my parents’ having divorced and lived across town from one another from the time I was five.
On the other end, I have one of my best friends living in DC. We learned from the first time I studied abroad that she is not a great long-distance friend. Even when I would reach out, she wasn’t great at getting back to me on things or at getting herself on the phone in the first place. Even today, she’ll stay on the phone for a while if she gets the chance, but the chances don’t come often. And so, we talk little on the phone, but hang out like mad whenever she’s in town (or I surprise her in DC by just showing up to her office one day). And, when we did live in the same city, we hung out constantly. We saw one another probably every couple days, and at least once a week. She’s a spectacular in-person friend. And I think that balances out the long-distance aspect, because, even though so much has changed and we have changed so much since we were last together, it is always fabulous when we hang out, and it is always still the wonderful bond of friendship, of “us”, when we are together. (Cheesy, I know, but it’s totally true.)
Anyway, just some thoughts. Kind of makes you wonder what kind of phone person you are, huh? (Or maybe not at all, but whatevs.) 😛