Making Friends and E-Communication

I am 66 years old and have accumulated more ex-bff’s than ex-husbands, often due to someone moving or other lifecycle events.

These days, I have a bfbf (best Facebook friend), whom I have never met. She comes up with things like:

I have certain friends.. I choose to be my friends… because I think a bear would find them more delicious- looking than me..making camping with them less of a hazard.

I plan to take an overnight train to Chicago to meet her. I wonder what she will think of my bear-appeal.

The year I noticed that my phone hardly ever rang, it took months until I realized my own preferred communication was by email. If we want to talk, let’s make a plan in writing to get together instead of using up all of our topics in a phone chat.
Keeping up with friends and making new ones requires effort. In general, there are the reacher-outers (me) and the reacher-outees (most of my friends). I don’t mind a bit that I am usually the one to email and say hey, let’s meet for dinner. I accept that a lot of folks are lazy or passive about this kind of thing.

If someone isn’t interested, I assume they’ll say no or be vague often enough that I’ll get the message, the way I used to dodge guys I no longer wanted to date. Yet once, someone who did want to be my friend, wrote an email that made me think otherwise.

It was during a lonely period midway between being newly divorced and now, I emailed to asked whether she and her husband wanted to go to high holiday services with me.

Rachel replied by writing one word, “No.”

A tear formed in the corner of my eye. I felt so rejected.

Although she is one of the warmest, most considerate and enthusiastic people I know (not in an annoying icky way, but just in a way that feels supportive), she is also busy and gets right to the e-point, as I learned via that email.

When a budding friendship begins, I need to guage over time the other person’s preferred mode of getting together as well as their e-communication style. Rachel and I have since talked and laughed about that exchange on a walk. Ever since, her emails to me contain at least two words.

As for me, I don’t do mornings or lunch, so I e-ask, “Do you want to go for an afternoon walk or have dinner?” I proofread my request and obsess about how to sign off (XO or what?) before hitting send.

In terms of availability, it is relevant that I am divorced, living alone, and working at home. I aim for one social encounter each day. Sometimes I settle for the dentist. Other times, I walk Casey and have long conversations on my cell phone with out-of-town friends.

An elderly woman told me that each year she makes at least one new friend who is younger than she is, because friends her age are dying off. (I’m worried I’ve already mentioned that to you.) Thankfully, most of my friends are still alive, but ever since getting this advice, I have a special appreciation for younger friends, as well as for my nieces, whom I appreciate no matter what.

After a friend, whom I rarely saw, died—as I once wrote—I immediately wanted to go to lunch with him. I then began to wonder who might die next, which could lead to a lot of unnecessary lunches.

I’d love to hear your experiences making friends as well your e-experiences with friends you already have!

Check out some of my Life Goes Strong articles:

*A Woman Talks About Sex From Her 20′s To Her 60′s (fascinating and relatable)

*Parenting a Parent as He or She Ages

*Are You Having Less Sex Than You Think You Should? One Women’s Story

*Can Working Women Have It All?

*Hipster Dog Names and Quirky Dog Photos

*Joyce Maynard Adopted Two Girls From Ethiopia Then Gave Them Up


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