I don't really "journal" on this blog, but today I just feel like writing what's on my mind . . .
Sometimes I think it is quite ironic that I write a blog about being thoughtful and often fail to do the simplest of thoughtful things like call my own mother . . . this kind of had me discouraged last week/weekend. I am not a very good phone talking person (I get it from my dad). But one way I can show my mom and other phone talking people my love is by talking to them on the phone . . .
The problem is, I usually miss the calls. I hardly ever screen them; I just flat-out miss them. I can lose my phone (or my charger!) for a whole day at a time. Or turn the ringer off during church on Sunday and forget to turn it back on until late Sunday night or Monday morning. Or somehow be changing a poopy diaper every single time a person calls for three days in a row (that really did happen when Roman was a newborn and Linc was still in diapers). It seems I am ALWAYS missing calls.
Which leads to the other problem--I am NOT always good at returning them. I have gotten better over the years, but that is not necessarily saying much.
One of my biggest wake-up calls (no pun intended. really.) in this area came several years ago when I missed about three calls in a row over the course of a few weeks from a dear friend. When I finally picked up or called her back (I can't remember which was the case), she said,
"You know what, I have been depressed.
It's been a really rough time--it would be nice if you'd answer your phone or call me back."
Yikes. I had no idea. But of course I didn't--I HADN'T ANSWERED MY PHONE in three weeks (and obviously hadn't called back yet, either).
Sometimes that kind of feedback can send me into a downward spiral of self-reflection and condemnation or resentment towards the person who gave the feedback. But when this friend said these words, I was just sad. So sad that I hadn't known what was going on in her life, that the weeks that had flown by for me between calls had been dragging by for her. That I was out-of-touch with her world.
She actually did me a favor by saying what she said (in such a straightforward, honest way). I needed to hear it. And I did do better from that point on. But it remains a struggle for me to this day.
Because here's the other problem--a lot of times I choose not to answer a call because it's a bad time to talk. I feel like we all have our own "phone philosophies"--differing "beliefs" on when a call should or should not be answered. It seems I have a lot of times in my day that are no-answer times--when I am in the bathroom, or eating a meal, or putting the kids to bed, or talking to my husband after putting the kids to bed, or in a face-to-face conversation with someone. So when you add all of these times to the times I completely miss a call, it almost equals my whole day.
My friend Sarah, who says she shares similar struggles with the phone, gave me some good advice. She says that she has started trying her best to quickly answer those calls, even when it is not a convenient time. And she will just say hi to the caller and ask if she can call back a little later. This way she shows that she values the call and wants to talk--just at another time. I think that's a good idea.
As I write all of this, however, I realize that the key for me is probably mainly to initiate calls more. Even if I still miss calls or can't talk at the moment, at least my friends and family will know I am thinking of them and caring for them when I actually call them for a change. I need to pick up the phone more often to reach out.
I know we have probably all been on both sides of this issue at one time or another. But it bothers me that I am so often on the don't answer/don't call side. Do you think this phone struggle is a personality thing or a phone philosophy thing? Or both? Got any advice for being the type of person that calls more regularly? I would really love to hear it!
I neeeed to hear it. Pretty please?
I neeeed to hear it. Pretty please?
P. S. Call your mother.
And your friend.
And anyone else you love and haven't called lately.