In a post yesterday morning, I included a link to a review of a book entitled The Lonely American. Some of the content of that review has stayed on my mind. Specifically, this comment has been on my mind: “neighbors are afraid to drop in on other neighbors for fear of disturbing them.” I’m not ‘close’ to any of my neighbors, so maybe that’s why I wouldn’t even consider just ‘dropping in.’ But, then, it’s the same with friends.
Although I welcome the idea of friends dropping in on me (though I don’t remember the last time that happened), I am more than reticent to drop in on them…I just don’t do it. Why? It’s because I don’t want to interrupt them in the midst of something important, or even not-so-important. Often, I’m hesitant even to call, out of concern that it might not be a good time. So I resort to text messages or emails.
Yet the very concern that we might impose on our friends’ time is what tends to lessen the casual sense of familiarity and intimacy that is a cornerstone of friendship. If I send a text message and then put my phone aside and don’t hear the alert that says I have a new message, my response is delayed. So our communication takes place in slow motion. And that may “send a message” that the communication is not valued highly or is not a priority.And that is a shame.
Having not read the book to which I refer above, I don’t know if mine is the sort of experience the authors had in mind when writing the book. I suppose I’ll have to add the book to my reading list so I can find out. In the interim, I hereby announce to that tiny fraction of the world that reads this post that I would welcome my friends to drop by or call any time. Maybe that’s what it takes; letting people know it’s not only all right for them to drop by, but actively encouraged.
It might be best to say it, though, instead of just leaving a message online.