Initiating and Maintaining Contacts with Friends, Family, and Relatives

Vagabond

Well-Known Member
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18,168
I'm still sick of being the one to initiate things. Almost no one calls me up, no one sends me letters, no one sends me long personal e-mail messages. When I try to setting up a time to speak by phone or have a videoconference, I get a lot of brushoffs, often combined with the question "How are you?" I replied to the last of these, "In need of conversation, not text messages."

:wall:
 

once_upon

Well-Known Member
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17,940
@Vagabond as we are starting the 9th month of this *********, I found myself wondering how things are for you?

I know you sent me a link to some pictures documenting the ********* effects on your area (I think it was you?).

Anyway - just wondering how you are doinf
 

Vagabond

Well-Known Member
Messages
18,168
@Vagabond as we are starting the 9th month of this *********, I found myself wondering how things are for you?

I know you sent me a link to some pictures documenting the ********* effects on your area (I think it was you?).

Anyway - just wondering how you are doinf
Yes, that was me.

It's still quite difficult.

I have a friend with whom I was going out for walks once or twice a week. He's overseas for a couple of months -- or longer, if the political situation in the U.S. gets out of hand.

I have another couple of friends whom I see once or twice a month. Sometimes we go for walks or hikes, and sometimes we meet up for dinner al fresco.

I have another friend with whom I have lunch every so often.

I am hosting a monthly virtual happy hour for an alumni group and have made some new friendships through that. I also went out to dinner with another alumni group a couple of weeks ago.

I am still doing most of the outreach beyond that, though a couple of friends have (each) called me once on their own, and I went out for a walk with one of them.

I have had little success with written correspondence. A couple of my friends in the U.K. have either explicitly or implicitly made it clear that they can't really be there for me right now. 🤷‍♂️

And my relations with my extended family have gone down the tubes. I have in recent years been (1) defending myself against a series of lawsuits my elder brothers have brought against me and (2) coming to grips with the fact that the two of them, who are much older than I, molested me when I was no more than six years old. Other than a few distant cousins, I have stopped even trying to communicate with my relatives. They haven't been there for me when I've needed them, and I am looking for others who will be.

Thanks for asking. :)
 

once_upon

Well-Known Member
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17,940
I found the pictures a real insight to everyday life during *********. I thought it was great.

Any way, just want to let you know I thought about you.
 

Vagabond

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18,168
I posted a link to this op-ed piece by the Duchess of Sussex in the Harry and Meghan thread, but it is appropriate here as well:


When I was in my late teens, I sat in the back of a taxi zipping through the busyness and bustle of Manhattan. I looked out the window and saw a woman on her phone in a flood of tears. She was standing on the sidewalk, living out a private moment very publicly. At the time, the city was new to me, and I asked the driver if we should stop to see if the woman needed help.

He explained that New Yorkers live out their personal lives in public spaces. “We love in the city, we cry in the street, our emotions and stories there for anybody to see,” I remember him telling me. “Don’t worry, somebody on that corner will ask her if she’s OK.”

Now, all these years later, in isolation and lockdown, grieving the loss of a child, the loss of my country’s shared belief in what’s true, I think of that woman in New York. What if no one stopped? What if no one saw her suffering? What if no one helped?

I wish I could go back and ask my cabdriver to pull over. This, I realize, is the danger of siloed living — where moments sad, scary or sacrosanct are all lived out alone. There is no one stopping to ask, “Are you OK?”
Her words gave me an uneasy feeling that I may have been figuratively in a taxi whisking by people crying on the street. I need to stop the cab. But how?
 

once_upon

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17,940
I think the US as a whole is crying. I think political season, the ********* crisis, the distrust we have with the other - the US as a whole is not doing well. I think this with every single news story I read, if I continue to read the comments under the story.

I dont know how we stop the taxicab, take someone's hand, and ask them how they are. Because we are so deep in our own grief.

I like to think that when I smile at the homeless person, taking their cans to refund, that smile does some good. I like to think, sharing virtual hugs does some good.

Its hard these days, with the no hugs, touch guidelines.
 

Aceon6

Isolating from mean people
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21,706
We FaceTimed with DH’s sister yesterday. Her family is still in super avoidance mode... still wiping everything down and quarantining mail for up to 2 weeks. They aren’t even open to doing a distanced driveway visit for Christmas, so we won’t be seeing them until summer at the earliest.
 

skatfan

Well-Known Member
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5,321
I worked out a FaceTime with family and aZoom call with friends yesterday. It definitely made the day go better since I’m all alone with kitties. Need to remember this for Christmas!
 

million$momma

Well-Known Member
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468
We FaceTimed with DH’s sister yesterday. Her family is still in super avoidance mode... still wiping everything down and quarantining mail for up to 2 weeks. They aren’t even open to doing a distanced driveway visit for Christmas, so we won’t be seeing them until summer at the earliest.
If that's what makes them comfortable and they are happy, why judge?
My brother's family is the same. He has a heart defect though so *** would almost certainly kill him.
 

MacMadame

Staying at home
Messages
39,408
This is more about making new friends but some of us have found we need some new ones because the old ones aren't making the effort to keep in touch:

 

kwanfan1818

RIP D-10
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33,306
This article from The Atlantic talks about a range of not-close to casual relationships upon which we relied and which have been severely reduced during cv:


While not everyone is living in isolation with their household, for many people who are working outside their homes, the the nature and duration of contact has been changed significantly for many people, too.

I haven't live physically close to most of my closest friends and relatives for nearly three decades, spent extended periods of time in the '90's and 00's working on the road, and get as annoyed as anyone about the friction in day-to-day commuting, shopping, waiting at appointments, using transit, etc., but I hadn't realized how much I depended on the day-to-day casual contacts to soothe as well as annoy.
 

Jenny

From the Bloc
Messages
21,399
I'm finding among friends and family, and myself for that matter, that there's a fatigue on all of this. At first it was fun to do virtual cocktails or share pictures of your latest baking project, and of course the details of how everyone's coping. But the longer this goes, I'm seeing less and less of that as people focus on more serious issues in their lives, and in their immediate families. So many people in my age bracket are dealing with older parents right now for example, and it's taking its toll to the point where you're just not up for a silly text exchange or the like.

I also think that in many cases we've just run out of things to talk about, like we've been at this so long now, and until things get better, it's like we're all in a holding pattern or something.
 

kwanfan1818

RIP D-10
Messages
33,306
I think one of the take-aways from the article is that it's a commitment to create a Zoom meeting, a phone call, or to even hold a text conversation beyond "Thinking of you" and "Thinking of you, too" and "I hope everything is going as well as expected" and "I hope you and your family are well and safe" with a lot of people we see on a casual basis, where there is little expectation beyond that level, and where that level is appropriate, unless both people want to engage for more, when we're in public.
 

once_upon

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17,940
I also think that in many cases we've just run out of things to talk about, like we've been at this so long now, and until things get better, it's like we're all in a holding pattern or something.
This certainly was true for my siblings, my aunts and my dad with our weekly Zoom. Eventually we (siblings) let dad and our aunts talk about their childhood/teen/20's.

It was the best gift we could have given them - months of weekly conversation before dad died.

As for us siblings - we talked more in those months than we did in the 10 years before that. Now we text/email (2 of us have had health issues and we get weekly updates on the state of dad's estate).
 

Jenny

From the Bloc
Messages
21,399
Yeah of course it's important to take initiative, make it happen, and I often do, as do others around me. My husband has a group of buddies who have regularly gotten together for decades over shared interests, and they've managed to keep it up over group emails for the past year without missing a step, and it's great.

But then I think of a work buddy - we've both worked remotely for years before all this, and would get together for lunch every few months and otherwise talk on the phone regularly to gossip about work and talk about what else was going on in our lives. Only now, it's different. Maybe the gossip seems less important, maybe we've got less to say because neither of us is going on vacations or trying new restaurants or going to events and the other stuff we used to talk about. Plus, he's dealing with some older relatives who he has sole responsibility for, and it's exhausting for him - the medical scares, the treatments and follow ups, moving them now into two separate facilities, dealing with their house - all in the middle of a p*ndemic! Our most recent calls have all been about the latest on that, and on the situation with my parents and my inlaws - a far cry from the cozy little lunches of just a year ago.

We have already promised to treat ourselves to a very long and expensive lunch when we can, but for now, like I said, holding pattern.
 

MacMadame

Staying at home
Messages
39,408
But then I think of a work buddy -
I have people I call "work friends" These people are people who I share some sort of interest with and have a reason to interact with and we might seem really close but when the reason goes away, I pretty much never see them anymore. Like a guy I worked with that I went to lunch with all the time and had many serious and deep convos with but then I changed jobs and now I have no idea what he's up to.

I think those are the sorts of friendships that have fallen off during the pandem1c because we are interacting with people less.

Though I have new "work" friends that I met during the pandem1c because I picked up new hobbies. So that part is good.
 

Vagabond

Well-Known Member
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18,168
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. 🤷‍♂️
The Sunday morning video calls morphed into monthly virtual happy hours. I started it for local people I knew who had attended the same university as I in England, and then expanded it to include graduates of "the other place." People told their friends about it, and now the events are big enough to warrant breakout rooms. The attendees live far enough apart that we would never all come together in one place for a weekday evening happy hour, and they range in age from their early twenties to (I think) their early seventies.

Some of these people I have met in person only once or twice, others not at all. Several of these are becoming my friends.
 
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sk8pics

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Messages
7,952
One of my cousins had emailed me to say he was going to call me to catch up real soon. This is not a cousin who I see a lot of; he’s about 5 years older than me and from my dad’s side of the family. I am more in touch with his brother than him, but that’s not saying much. I have nothing against him at all and enjoy it when we talk. So the next email, I think on Friday, said that he didn’t have my right phone number, so would I please call him over the weekend. He does have my phone number, because he’s called me on it before, but he must have been trying to call my old landline number, which I got rid of a couple of years ago. So I called him yesterday, got his voice mail, left a message and went off to do other things, and so missed his return call. In that message he’s telling me my voicemail was nothing but static and he’s assuming it was me who called. :confused: So I called back and he starts telling me he did find my voice mail and could listen to it and he doesn’t know what happened.:confused::lol: We chatted for not quite 20 minutes and then he’s all, I gotta go.:confused::lol: I thought, that was a lot of buildup for not much! But it’s fine.

Meanwhile, my god child, who is the 3rd daughter of a cousin on my mom’s side of the family, has gotten into a good rhythm of calls with me. We talk routinely for more than an hour, about once a month now. Her older sister, meanwhile, is impossible to get a hold of. I’m not sure what’s up with her. She is living with her boyfriend and seems to have dropped her whole previous life and to have been subsumed into his life. Hopefully she’ll call me back some day.
 

Aceon6

Isolating from mean people
Messages
21,706
Indoor, unmasked dinner with my bro and SIL at the end of the month! We’ll all be vaxxed. I can’t wait!
 

once_upon

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17,940
We are so winter/c-19/isolated fatigued. We've gone out to eat/glass of wine 4 times in the last week. All outside, always more than 8 ft from others (twice the only ones sitting outside). Although it's only 45-47 F - it has been a real help.
 

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