Initiating and Maintaining Contacts with Friends, Family, and Relatives

Vagabond

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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

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@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

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17,142
@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

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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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17,142
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?
 

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