I grew up in a program that caused me to have friends everywhere from Vancouver to Greenfield Nova Scotia. It was the Royal Canadian Air Cadet Program. I had friends in the city from my weekly cadet nights and then friends from all over from all the weeks I would spend away at summer camp. I met some really amazing people and I feel like everyone I met I took a little piece from. They all had some cool stuff to offer me, from advice to wisdom to learning together as we grew. I had to boys in particular that I brought along with me in my life who I can still call my best friends. The one catch is we are never in the same area code for long. One of them is born and raised in Canmore, and the other in Stony Plain. Then this summer, Dustin from Stony plain left to go follow his dream and went to school in Vancouver, a much further drive from my house then Stony Plain Alberta! I thought it was a fair trade when Kyle, from Canmore told me he was going to get a place in Edmonton. I was really excited before I remembered that he still has to spend 3 weeks of the month up North at work. So to recap; one best friend in Vancouver and one in the city only spends a week here a month.
There is a point to my story. What is it you ask? I had the strangest revelation two weeks ago. Is technology helping or hindering my relationships? I am a person of the tech age, I have a Facebook, I use twitter, I have an Instagram account and I am always browsing on Pinterest. I send funny texts to all my friends and a lot of people communicate with me on a daily basis through Facebook chat. I have this weird sense that I am keeping up with people because I see statuses and pictures of new babies and neat outfits, when in reality I am not communicating with these people, I am merely spying on what little parts of their lives they want to share with the world online. I am not building on what that person and I share by liking a Facebook status.
I also realized that while I can send upwards of 100 texts a day, I almost never use my phone unless I am calling my mom or my sister to make a quick plan. I am still a little old school in the fact that I send Kyle and Dustin post cards and letters while they are away. I like buying note cards and sending things via “snail mail”. But even still, I never call. I always text. I realized how weird the world was the other day when my friend came to my house and stood on my front porch and instead of ringing the bell or knocking the door, he texted me. Of course I wasn’t holding my phone and he stood out there for a good 5 minutes before I realized he was there. Why couldn’t he feel comfortable enough to knock on my door? I have no idea. Are we that far removed from “the olden days’’ and “ how it used to be back it in the day?’’ I knew he was coming. He knew I knew he was coming, and yet there he stood. Just boggles my mind!
Two weeks ago I was in the middle of a crazy week at work splitting time between two stores and after a particularly insane day I really wanted to talk to Dustin. Instead of just calling and talking to him, I first texted him to see if I could call. As a friend for almost a decade why didn’t I just call? I still don’t know! There are message features and ignore buttons on phones for a reason. If Dustin wasn’t able to answer the phone he just would not have answered the phone!
So I texted him, and said, “Hey love! This has been a crappy day, do you have time for a call?” and he said yes. So I called, and we talked and it turns out we had both had a bad day. We talked for over an hour and we laughed so hard together. As friends you can have lots of inside jokes and you know the tone and inflection of a person’s voice. It is all lost in a text message. You never really know how to take the tone of a text, and if you know it is meant to be funny, sometimes it gets lost. Nothing is as good as hearing the laugh of a loved one. That night Dustin and I covered all the bases of a talk as if he was back home and we were out for drinks. I sat on the phone on my bed for an hour and just put all my time and attention into him. For that whole hour! I do not do that with text messages. I send texts in the middle of doing my hair, reading a book, on the bus, while talking to other friends face to face. It is never as sincere as I can be on the phone, and it is for a lot of reasons.
I was on a friendship high the whole next day. I was at another crazy day at that week of work and I had the track of inside jokes running in my head and memories of the last little vacation we had taken together playing my head all day. That one hour with Dustin on the phone in essence melted away my stress and reminded me that I am in fact a person and can laugh and joke around and that I was more than my job. I know for a fact I would not have felt that way after ten texts exchanged back and forth that night.
What I want you take away from this, (other than best friends are awesome), is that you should pick up the phone and call someone you love and tell them. Just call a friend and ask how their day is going. You will be very surprised at the reaction you get! I don’t want you to stop texting, but I do want you to start calling!
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