Urgent Friendships

16 Jun

I’m not a very good friend. I don’t call. I don’t invite you anywhere. I don’t think up nice surprises just because, or even when there’s an occasion. I’m out of town a lot, so I miss birthdays, parties, and events. The one thing I do is throw myself a birthday party every year. My friend likens it to Groundhog Day, where I pop my head out of a hole once a year and then you don’t hear from me again.

Knowing my own foibles in building and sustaining friendships, I don’t make demands on my friends nor hold them to certain expectations. Given that, people frequently come in and out, and in and out, of my life, and I’m okay with it. The introvert/afraid of rejection/homebody parts of me are super okay with it.

But one of the funny things about transitions is that they bring people out of the woodwork. Because of Facebook and public announcements about my leaving, people I haven’t talked to in ages are contacting me. It ceases to matter that I haven’t talked with them in two years. In one case, someone that I have had zero contact with in over 7 years emailed me suggesting that it would be nice to have dinner before I leave.

In some ways, this is normal and sweet. In other ways, it’s bizarre. If I was staying in Oakland or had slipped away quietly, many of these people wouldn’t know the difference. Another two years could easily pass and there would be no sense of urgency to spend time together.

I sometimes train on time management (says the girl who works until midnight). One key point is the distinction between what is urgent and what is important. Sometimes things that are urgent are not important and, often, what’s important isn’t urgent. We want to spend most of our time doing the important things.

I have exactly 23 days left in Oakland. The urgent thing would be to spend time with people that I know I won’t see again after I leave because this will be my last chance. The important thing would be to spend it with the people who mean the most to me, those who I know we will find a way to stay in touch. Let’s hope I use my last days here wisely.


2 Responses to “Urgent Friendships”


  1. Finding Community « oakland 2 oc - June 27, 2011

    […] Jun I partially blame my sisters for being a bad friend. They are who I call when I need to talk to someone, or when I have nothing to say but just want to […]

  2. Birthday Party Blues « oakland 2 oc - August 31, 2012

    […] I’ve written before, I don’t invite people out to do things. The one time I do is for my birthday. I love birthdays so much that I’m willing to overcome my […]

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