I was riding a jeep when I thought about how I suck at reaching out to connect to my friends or to people in general, even if it simply means just replying to their messages or actually texting first. I often forget (or neglect) replying and I rarely text first except if I have a purpose (because, now, I’m not the kind of person that texts to look busy or texts just because really).
It wasn’t always like that.
In high school, I was a text savvy because, back then, that was how I communicated with people. And believe me, I have gone through the different phases from sending hourly group messages with “_*uSeRnAmEs*_” at the bottom to “h3ll0 p0hz” to proper English to whatever style I use to text now. Also, I used to send long dramatic texts to my best friends especially when saying sorry or talking to a guy and we often rambled on till it was too late for us to be awake (which was around 9-10 PM back then). I always had a textmate just for chatting about life in general.
When college rolled around, I still texted a lot, but for different reasons. I mean, sure I text my friends stuff that we left out when we’re not hanging out but, now that I think of it, most of my conversations with the people I text are either about school, organizations, family matters and corporate service kind of stuff. My phone is always busy because someone always needed me to do something. I was fine with that though.
But now that I’m interning and I have no people to send out group messages about midterm projects that we have to do, my phone has been quieter than usual. And that’s not the problem. (Trust me, it’s refreshing to me that my phone isn’t always buzzing). The problem is I’m loving the quiet, and I feel like that’s being irresponsible.
I actually love not having to have to talk to people. I love missing people in silence. I can do with living far from the people I care about without checking on them and telling them what happened to me because I believe we’ll get to tell our stories one day and there isn’t much reason to rush. I can not only survive, but also have fun, alone in a room for a whole day not talking to anyone, even without WiFi. And even if it drives me crazy, there are days that my thoughts are the only company I need.
I am not anti-social and I do really love the people that I love but I don’t always feel the need to be connected in that sense.
This mindset of mine hasn’t always done good. I think I’ve given the wrong impression to other people.
Scenario 1: Late night conversations
To my future boy friend, I must really love you if I stay up late night to message you or greet you every morning. I already figured out that I’m not the kind of person who’s constantly up for that.
So one time, there’s this guy that I was having late night conversations with. We were sort of friends and even if I liked him a tad bit, we were just talking about cool stuff anyway. During that time, I was often staying up because of projects and talking to him helped me not fall asleep. That happened every night and I was giddy for the first nights because we never seemed to run out of things to talk about and I was laughing most of the time (via “hahaha”).
But soon, this routine started to wear me off. I wasn’t used to have someone waiting for me to talk to them. I didn’t think it was going to be an everyday thing. And when my plates started piling up, I always had to excuse myself from our conversations and it was making me feel pretty lame and guilty.
I stopped communicating after a while. I think he thinks I’m a bit mean. I think I’m a bit mean.
Realization: It was too much of a commitment.
Scenario 2: 43 unread phone messages
This is legit as of blog time.
I haven’t been opening texts lately. Most of them are just replies to my previous texts anyway like “ok”, “thanks”, “sure”, “welcome”, etc. and it’s an inconvenience to me to go and open them. But, because of all the clutter, I’ve also not been able to see other important texts and sometimes, I’m even purposely not opening messages of people that 1) I have no idea how to reply to and b) I just don’t feel like talking to at the moment because I got used to not opening texts. Usually, people just text me when they need me anyway.
Dwelling on this, it shocked me how I could just brush people off like that. I’ve texted and waited for replies before so I know how it feels, but most of the time, I’m not even bothered that I do that to other people.
Realization: I’m unfair but communicating exhausts me.
Scenario 3: Friendship
Since OJT started, I haven’t been seeing a lot of my friends but that didn’t mean I had the urge to contact them either. They’ve been messaging and often, it’d take me hours to reply or sometimes, I’d not reply at all. I know, it’s really mean especially since they’re just checking on me and they just want to talk to me and that’s nice. I have stuff to tell them too but maybe I’m just enjoying the silence too much. Or maybe this internship is teaching me how to be the ultimate introvert.
It wasn’t a big deal until one night, I fell asleep on a conversation with a friend. For our following messages, I kept replying late (because I was getting a bit busy and because I just didn’t really reply fast). A few days later, I realized that she was holding a bit of a grudge for it. That struck me as a big WHY? Like seriously, WHY? Why did it affect her that much?
And then I asked myself: Did that make me a bad friend?
I mean, I don’t text my high school friends but I was always confident that we are solid. I know that we have each other’s backs. And we don’t have to constantly talk to know that. (Or is that just me speaking?)
But I know it was a different case for my aforementioned friend and I didn’t want to make her feel that way. I may not be replying fast enough but I didn’t intend to hurt her. I would never.
And with my other friends, I don’t ask how they are as much as I think I should because, though I am known as the clingy one in our group, I’m not one for small talk and I would very much like to text them about big exciting monumental things about our lives rather than the standard “How’s it going in your office?”
And again, does that make me a bad friend for not wanting to always check or initiate a conversation?
Realization: Different people have different communication needs.
The point is, I understand my limits and I know what I want and who I am. I may not text first, reply as fast as a minute, be easy to reach but I am an honest to goodness person that can genuinely care about another person. And I have my own way of connecting (I prefer face-to-face).
But other people need affirmation via messaging and that’s okay. That’s their communication preference.
And in order for any form of communication to work, both parties must know each other enough to compromise.
I guess this is just a knock knock to me asking me to evaluate how I show that I value people. Maybe, though this is just a manifestation of who I am, I also have to think out of the box and think of the people that matter to me. I don’t mind having my own world but I do mind what my loved ones feel about be being so closed off.
So again, I’m sorry. If it matters so much to you that I’d message you and reply to you quickly, I’d make an effort but please understand me too. There are complex reasons why I do (or don’t do) what I do (or don’t).