Initiating and Maintaining Contacts with Friends, Family, and Relatives

Vagabond

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From the "tbh" thread:

To be honest, I'm sick of always being the one to initiate contact with my friends and relatives.
Yes! Other than my mother (who initiates contact once a week), I have had to initiate almost all contact with family, friends and colleagues. Four people have initiated contact with me once in the last 6 weeks, and I have received thank you messages from the nieces/nephews for the packages of activities I sent them. Other than that, nothing. Even more annoying/frustrating are the many whose reply to my texts/emails/messages is just a one-liner, or an emoji (or no reply at all). Every time I see one of those stupid commercials on tv telling us that "you are not alone" and encouraging people to connect with others, I want to throw something at it.
Not related to this current global medical crisis - but about five years ago, I was venting about this to an older woman and she told me “Never make anyone a priority if they‘ve made you optional.” My mental health got A LOT better after following that advice.
it's layered - even moreso than I'll propose below. I will say I'm lucky that I eventually purged those in my circle who don't give and take, Go through one even semi-rough period in your life and you learn who your friends are - and you focus on investing in those.
This topic is immense and complex. I will express some of my thoughts in subsequent posts, but here are some questions that might get us started:

How are you keeping in touch with your friends, family, and relatives, e.g., by phone, video, e-mail, apps, or letters? Do any of these forms of communication work better or worse than others for you?

Are you initiating most of the communications? And do you feel like you are usually taking the laboring oar?

If so, how do you feel about it?

If not, why not? Do you like it when other people contact you?

Have you had any particularly good or bad experiences when speaking with people lately?

Have you been re-evaluating any of your relationships because of how your communications with anyone have been going (or not going)?

Have you been in touch with anyone for the first time in a very long while? What was that like?

Have any of your communications caused you to rethink your relationship with someone? Or rethink something about yourself?

I may add to this list of questions within the next twenty-four hours.
 
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once_upon

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Depends on the group.
My group of girlfriends who usually go out once a month for dinner, its text message once a week to check in on each other.

My dad, brothers, sister and aunts have a zoom meeting once a week, brother in CA initiates it.

I call my dad once a week

We used to do zoom with sons, but now do google duo.
One son duo's when he needs someone to entertain his 3 year old for a few minutes.

Another son we have an hour "meeting" every Sunday. Usually husband contacts by hangouts to schedule a time.

Another son is sporadic. Usually us making the suggestions.

Grandchildren (10 and 8) have messenger kids installed on their tablets a😃😁😆🐇🐰🦋🌷🍕type messages several times a day

How I feel about it is also varied.

My girlfriend texts certainly don't make up for the conversations we have in our monthly dinner outing, but keeps us up to date on major happenings.

Communications with my siblings is much more frequent than the usual once a year. And we are running out of things to say.

My weekly phone call with dad is awkward because we talked earlier in the week on Zoom.

Contact with kids and grandkids is more frequent than previous and we run out of things to say.

Church has a group of volunteers that calls to check on members. That makes me uncomfortable
 
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sk8pics

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Church has a group of volunteers that calls to check on members. That makes me uncomfortable
Are they calling to see if someone needs help? Calling to just say hello and remind them they are part of a community? I'm curious as to what makes you uncomfortable. Is it if they would call you? Or just that they are calling anyone?

I had heard some of our parish staff members and volunteers were calling people just to check in with them, and I remember thinking, humph, no one called me. And then someone did the next day. :lol: I was busy and did not pick up the phone, but I didn't mind that they called.
 

once_upon

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Are they calling to see if someone needs help? Calling to just say hello and remind them they are part of a community? I'm curious as to what makes you uncomfortable. Is it if they would call you? Or just that they are calling anyone?

I had heard some of our parish staff members and volunteers were calling people just to check in with them, and I remember thinking, humph, no one called me. And then someone did the next day. :lol: I was busy and did not pick up the phone, but I didn't mind that they called.
maybe it's that I feel like I need to have a long conversation about how I'm doing and the need to pray at the end of the conversation.

I stay in contact with Tee via email and website. And have zoom church meetings.
 

sk8pics

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maybe it's that I feel like I need to have a long conversation about how I'm doing and the need to pray at the end of the conversation.

I stay in contact with Tee via email and website. And have zoom church meetings.
Well, just say you can't talk long because you have something to do. I don't know who Tee is, but I guess someone at your church? I don't think you have to have a long conversation unless you want to...
 

AxelAnnie

Like a small boat on the ocean...
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Are they calling to see if someone needs help? Calling to just say hello and remind them they are part of a community? I'm curious as to what makes you uncomfortable. Is it if they would call you? Or just that they are calling anyone?

I had heard some of our parish staff members and volunteers were calling people just to check in with them, and I remember thinking, humph, no one called me. And then someone did the next day. :lol: I was busy and did not pick up the phone, but I didn't mind that they called.
That is so nice.

My family and friends are wonderful.............and I have pared the list way down.

My sister and I talk every day. She lives nearby. She runs errands for me, goes to the market for me....even cleans my house. She is a saint...........she loves all that.

I have 5 children (3 step & 2 regular). My older daughter is the one out of 5 that turned out great. The others might show up if I really was in need. My daughter lives nearby. She makes market runs, has brought her two kids up (7&9) and we socially distanced. Totally fun.

She had a birthday party last week for the younger boy. She had a drive by for his from 10:0m - 11:00. His friends parents decorated their cars, threw gifts and streamers as Talyn waved and smiled.

My sister and I drove down in two cars. We then went into their yard where chairs were set (at acceptable distances) and we had Mimosa's in solo cups handled with gloved hands, and put on a disinfected tray and left so we could pick up our own drink.

We threw our gifts at Talyn. He got to walk my dog. And he declared it the BEST BIRTHDAY he ever had :)

I applaud my daughter's ingenuity, her glowing spirit, and her ability to make lemonade out of lemons. She has coined a new word: QUARANTEAM! There are two other families who live around the corner, and my sister and I are all on the team! We are free to roam about her yard in peace.

BTW - they live in a sheltered community of about 200 homes. It is very 1950s. Everyone knows everyone, and anyone will make sure that all are safe. And if they are being a$$holes (the kids) they neighbors make sure the parents know.

I love the idea of Quaranteam, though.
 

MacMadame

Staying at home
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maybe it's that I feel like I need to have a long conversation about how I'm doing and the need to pray at the end of the conversation.
I feel this way when my boss and I have our 1-on-1. We didn't have them for ages but now we have them almost every week and he always wants to know how I'm doing but it's not like I'm going to be completely honest with him and he doesn't always remember what we talked about the last time either, which is annoying. It's fake and that's what I don't like about it.

For the rest of my family, it varies. And it hasn't really changed with C-19. I hardly ever see my son who lives in the same town as me but we're all in a FB group for his house so I have a pulse on how he's doing. And his roommates are great. They've gotten us things while shopping and dropped them off on the porch and we've done the same. My daughter is hundreds of miles away and we FaceTime about as much as always. She texts us too but often I end up saying "let's FaceTime" when she does.

For my friends, I used to train with different clubs and they are all doing things together in small groups but they often don't remember to ask me and also I was not really on board with it until we go to Stage 2 (Monday for my county! :cheer2: ) so I usually said no. I do have one friend who texts me on a regular to see if I want to join them or to ask me if it's safe to swim (I'm considered the resident expert on open water swimming :lol:). I don't always contact her first but I give her first dibs on all my used equipment so I think she thinks it's a fair relationship. :D

Some of them have been having Zoom coffee and we had a zoom b'day party and our club has our monthly meeting over Zoom and it's been fun. We may continue to do that sort of thing even after we're not sheltering in place just because it allows some people who can't physically make it to participate.

I do have friends who I have to contact first all the time. In most cases, I just gradually contact them less and less. The only time it's upsetting is if they act like they really really want to stay in touch and then they never respond or contact me first. I feel betrayed in that case.

I also have friends where we mostly interact online, usually on Facebook. We do get together occasionally to workout or have coffee but it's not personal. We set the date and conditions and whoever shows up, shows up.
 

Vagabond

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Except for a very few people with whom I was already in frequent contact before the stay-at-home orders, I have had to be the one to initiate communications. Since I first posted on this subject in the "tbh" thread, I have come to understand that some people just aren't good at taking the initiative on this or are too wrapped up in their own matters to open up even when I do call them. 🤷‍♂️

I'm finding e-mail to be almost useless. Pour my heart out, and what do I get back? At best,a "Good to hear from you." 🤷‍♂️

I had hoped that people would be wondering how I (a bachelor, living alone) might be holding up, but apparently, they aren't. 🤷‍♂️

I have also come to accept that if I am going to have any social contact at all, I have to be proactive. I am trying to speak with someone every day. I have s been having a Sunday morning video conference with three other friends and am hosting a virtual happy hour this evening. I find setting things up (and being the one to make the calls to various friends and relatives) a bit draining, but apparently this is the price I have to pay. 🤷‍♂️
 

skatfan

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5,047
I'm finding this as well. Not living with someone has the advantage that no one is bugging me, but the number of people who contact me are few. On top of that I moved to a new city and state in December, so other than the church folks, I don't really know anyone yet.

I was :rolleyes: at my little cousin who Facetimed with me and her brand new baby son, but then said, "oh, I've already done this with everyone else." -so yay me for being the end of the line? Then I got a text from her the next day saying she had meant to ask me to make her masks for her and her husband, so I pretty much think that was the only reason to FaceTime me.

Staying proactive is better than not getting in contact, and prioritizing people that I really want to talk with.
 
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MacMadame

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I have people in my life who only contact me when they need something. I am disinclined to help them though I don't rule it out.

These are crazy times and people are finding their way through it as they learn to connect differently. I am giving everyone a big break right now.
 

skatfan

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I have people in my life who only contact me when they need something. I am disinclined to help them though I don't rule it out.

These are crazy times and people are finding their way through it as they learn to connect differently. I am giving everyone a big break right now.

I am totally ok with giving people a break, except when they pretty much confirm how they behaved prior to this. This little cousin is the same one who, upon returning from her honeymoon, gave everyone in the family a gift except for me, when I had given her $$$ toward said honeymoon as a wedding present. She later gave me a small bag saying that she had "forgotten" to give it to me, except of course this was weeks later and said nothing at the time about the "forgetting." I'm guessing her mom talked to her about it.

On the other hand, I was at a grocery store where the clerk was chatting a mile a minute to friends who had stopped by (in Spanish) while checking me out. The guy behind me in line noticed this in the parking lot to me, and we both observed how starved we are for human contact and rolled with it.
 

MacMadame

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I do a lot of group activities where people just show up. We plan them in a FB group or there is a somewhat regular schedule. And then people throw in ideas when they want to do something special. So there isn't a lot of "I always have to ask you" involved. I think that helps.
 

Aceon6

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Both of my niece’s in-laws had it. Neither of her parents have, and both have medical histories that would make it complicated if they did get it. In normal times, both sets of grandparents share childcare responsibilities for my nieces kids, ages 5 and 10. Until a responsible party shows definitive information on reinfection/immunity, neither set will be able to babysit. Sux for my niece as she really wanted to be able to go into the office at least one day a week.
 

sk8pics

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One of my cousins sent me three texts today in fairly rapid succession: Happy Birthday! OMG, it’s not your birthday yet! I woke up late and confused. :lol: :lol:
 

missing

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I just attended (via Zoom) my friends' grandson's bar mitzvah. The boy, his parents and siblings, were at a table in a backyard. I don't know where the rabbi and the cantor were, but they were actively involved. There were over 90 of us zooming in from around the world (including one of the boy's great grandmothers).

At one point the boy and his family began laughing. They had to explain that a neighborhood fox (known as Felix) had just strolled across the yard. The rabbi immediately threw in a blessing for the animals that grace this planet.

It wasn't the bar mitzvah that had been planned for and the party has been postponed until the fall. There was talk of what had been lost.

But it was amazing and very moving and showed how faith, tradition and community can survive in difficult and exceptional times.
 
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Vagabond

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Posting this here rather than the humor thread because this one is much shorter. :p


Meanwhile, the INFJ knows their extroverted friends are going bonkers, and people are being laid off. So they accept their panicked phone calls even though they’d rather be left alone, listening with the patience of a well-trained therapist as they unspool their pent-up thoughts.

Suddenly, the INFJ realizes it’s 10:30 at night, they haven’t eaten, and they can’t remember anyone asking how they are doing. It’s cold, it’s dark, and after all that caring for others, they wish they could unload their own anxious thoughts. Who will care for the caretaker?

Interestingly, the author (who is a self-described introvert but possibly not an INFJ) says in the article linked in the foregoing quote:

This week, I started a “care program” for my extrovert friends. Every night, I make space for a 30 or 45 minute call in my evening — even if my introvert battery is running low. Anyone who’s feeling isolated can grab an evening, and we’ll talk about whatever’s on their mind.

I think any extrovert can tell you that a phone call — even a video call — isn’t the same as going out with friends. But it can mean a lot when you’re alone. We even do activities together: During one call, a friend and I went on a walk together, 1,900 miles apart.

I am an introvert too, and I've been working on a care program of my own, though it's mostly geared to other introverts.
 

Prancer

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Posting this here rather than the humor thread because this one is much shorter. :p

OMG, DYING here.

INTJ
No one sees what’s really going on.
Repetitive news stories. Toilet paper memes. The INTJ has had enough. This crisis is much worse than anyone realizes. Businesses are failing, people are being laid off, whole industries will collapse. The shut-in lifestyle — the only “cure” for the ********* — isn’t sustainable. They’re talking months, years, before things go back to normal, if they ever will.

So the INTJ pulls open their laptop, furiously typing an 8,000-word screed on why the stock market collapsed, analyzing a number of trends, and projecting a worldwide meltdown that could take 50 years to quell.

Cheerful stuff, right?

But the INTJ is not loving the reaction it got. People are using words like “alarmist,” “pessimist,” and “bullpoop.” Jeez, is this how people react to simple facts?

Besides, clearly no one really read it. If they did, they would know it was supposed to be REASSURING. It says clearly on page 8 that “this is a time of opportunity.” Duh.

Maybe everyone could use the next eight weeks to learn how to read?


I am not sure that describes how I am coping, but I think it sure as heck nails another INTJ on this board. 😂

It's totally got my ISTJ husband's number, too.
 

MacMadame

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You Introverts don't have to worry about this Extrovert. I'm in touch with more people than I ever was in the Before Times. :D
 

once_upon

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My son and his neighbor have created a "talking hole" in their fence. The neighbor kids are Kaitlin/Chase's age and one younger kid who is 4. The kids go to the talking hole standing 6 feet from it and get to do some interaction.

My weekly Zoom call with my siblings, dad and my aunt...all mentioned we had more interaction with each other in the last 6 weeks than we had in 10-20 years. We are likely to continue this for dad, but an hour visit is stretching our limits at times.
 

sk8pics

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I am not sure that describes how I am coping, but I think it sure as heck nails another INTJ on this board. 😂

It's totally got my ISTJ husband's number, too.
I found this hilarious. I tested pretty clearly as an INTJ years ago, and still think it describes me fairly well, but I had the same thought as you did about another INTJ on this board. And I don't think this description describes me all that well.:drama: Perhaps I've evolved.:lol:
 

once_upon

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My son is suggesting a social distancing swim party.

Son number two, his wife and 3 year old gets shallow end, older kids get deep end, adults around the pool in distances 6 feet apart.

The risk is lower right now, but Aubrey will have to go to daycare in a month when dil business goes back to offices so son two wants to limit risks to everyone at that point.

Maddie is C-19 bombing a friend's house. I guess that is popular with their group of friends. Dropping a package or present on doorsteps and leaving.
 

once_upon

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We did the swim party, 6 foot distancing. The adults sat in lawn chairs, except my middle son who was with Aubrey in the pool. The older kids needed reminding about 6 ft rule a couple of times
Aubrey told her dad one time she was going to swim to Chase and he absentmindedly said sure. Until she went that direction and everyone said no.

He's pretty insistent about social distancing because they do all the errands for her family as her brother is immunocompromised. They are really upset that her boss is insisting she go back to the office, which means Aubrey in day care. She doesn't know what she will do.

There was a protest about a mile from their house. The wind happened to be in the right direction that we could hear chants.

Even though we couldn't hug it was nice to sit and talk. And watch the kids swim
 

sk8pics

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Even though we couldn't hug it was nice to sit and talk. And watch the kids swim
The NY Times had an article the other day about how to hug safely. I’ve hugged 3 people over the past 4 days or so, and it seems pretty low risk if you follow their instructions.
 

once_upon

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The NY Times had an article the other day about how to hug safely. I’ve hugged 3 people over the past 4 days or so, and it seems pretty low risk if you follow their instructions.
I saw that article. I posted on Facebook with a tag to my oldest. Our sons are even more stay at home mindset than us. So no hugs as yet.

We did a social distance swim party visit yesterday. Son #2 and 3 year old got the shallow end of the pool, Maddie, Kaitlin and Chase got the deep end. The adults sat in lawn chairs 6-8 ft apart (couples cohabitating sat next to each other), when Aubrey was finished swimming, son joined the adults.
 

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