Sunday, June 26, 2011


I've been listening to many people complain about how their friends are treating them lately. Friends don't call or stop by anymore. They turn down dinner invitations. They don't come to group events. Few if any spontaneous potluck suppers on a deck overlooking the lake. And then they complain about not knowing anyone.

Take yesterday, for example. Our homeowners association has an annual meeting/potluck barbeque every June. Fewer than 25% of the owners and their spouses turn out. This year, several new owners came to the end our our cul-de-sac. They got to meet other neighbors and found they had a lot in common with many of them. One owner, however, didn't show up. I was surprised, since she had been looking forward to the meeting, looking forward to connecting with her neighbors. I called her to see if everything was all right, and left a message on her cell. Nothing yet, although I know she's fine. She was out walking her new puppy this morning. Sadly, an opportunity missed to talk with neighbors.

One woman recently told me that we would probably be close friends if this were a different time and place. Puzzling statement, since we live barely 25 miles away, share many of the same literary passions, and love a good cup of tea or coffee. Still, with all we have in common, we have tried -- and failed -- four times in the past four months to get together for girl talk. We are supposed to meet tomorrow, but since she hasn't responded to my latest e-mails on where to meet, I've made other plans.

Two dear friends of many decades tell me I'm one of their best friends, yet when I need something, they are "busy." When one suffered a loss earlier this year, I dropped everything to be at her side, but when I needed a bit of consolation weeks later, she was too busy. Bridge, golf, you know how it is. Yes, I know. And I'm afraid this friendship may have run its natural course. The other invited himself up to visit, only to forget he asked to come. Fortunately, we know not to "hold his room" if someone else wants to drop in for a weekend.

I wonder how many people think they are being friends when they forward jokes all the time, but don't take time to drop two lines into an email. At least the jokes tell me they are alive. And how many other people think they are being good friends because they post what they are doing on Facebook. I see Facebook as a public broadcast service. I love it when someone likes what I post, or responds.

And I was very grateful to all those who sent condolences when my cat died. It meant a lot. It would have meant even more if some of my closest friends had called. But, hey, that would actually involve personal contact. Ooooh, maybe we have become a society where our human interaction is filtered through our keyboards. As a writer, I filter life thought my keyboard, but I still like sitting with someone and chatting. Face to face. Not Facebook to Facebook. I like being old school.