At the end of the month, I will have been retired for three years. I remember on my last day how everyone said: “let’s keep in touch”. I know people don’t mean to lie, but I wasn’t naive enough to think that would really happen. I know it bothers some people though.
I don’t know why it bothers them. Maybe they thought they were better friends with co-workers than they really were? Or it’s possible they are good at keeping in touch and think others will be too?
Some people are good at it
I may not be the best at keeping in touch, but I have some friends who are masters at it. I have to admit, they do all the work.
One friend of mine from college knows where everyone is and what they’re doing. He’s the only way I hear about some people I used to know but haven’t kept in touch with myself.
I have another friend that I met through work. Years ago, he found another job out of state. He would call me at work occasionally, just to check in and see what was going on. We shared a love for baseball and he actually got to meet my favorite player. I think he might have been his favorite player too since he named his son after him!!
Now that I’m not working, he sends me messages through LinkedIn. Not often; maybe not even once a year. But he never forgets to keep in touch. And the last time he was in town, we met for lunch.
I do have good friends from my work years that still keep in touch. Some are my closest friends, while others are simply people I enjoy seeing every once in a while. We do make an effort to get together a few times a year.
So why do people say they want to keep in touch, yet they don’t? Are they just being polite? If we see each other unintentionally, they’re always happy to see me.
How can we do better?
When I was younger, I loved writing letters. We moved right before my junior year in high school and I kept in touch with all my friends. This was WAY before social media and even email.
Even in college, I kept writing letters. I don’t write letters anymore and rarely even send email messages. Sometimes when something important happens we’ll all text each other. I think the important thing is, we know how to get in touch when we need to.
Facebook definitely allows me to know what my friends (close and not so close) are doing. When I was working, I hesitated to be friends with too many people from work. Once I retired, I added a lot of new friends. I probably now learn more about what they’re doing than I ever did when I saw them every day!!
There’s really no excuse
I know, we’re all too busy. Keeping in touch is work. It requires time and effort. It doesn’t just happen. It’s like any relationship; you have to work at it. It’s easy to think they don’t want to be bothered when they probably would love to hear from you. It just takes one of you to get the ball rolling.
But with today’s technology, there’s really no excuse, is there? Instead of writing my blog, I could be writing emails to my friends. I know some of my friends think of my blog as a way to keep in touch with me. And I love that they view it that way and leave comments like we’re having a conversation.
I’m not a fan of talking on the phone. I’d much rather get together in person. I’ll always respond to a text or email, pretty much right away. I love it when someone sends me a message asking me to go to lunch. While I try to space these lunches out a bit, I will always find the time.
Sometimes, just a quick “hi” can mean a lot because it says your friend is thinking about you. I think about my friends all the time, but rarely take the time to let them know. I know I should do better.
When you leave your job, you wonder if anyone will remember you. You hope you left your mark in a positive way and that sometimes, someone thinks about you and says “I sure miss her. I need to keep in touch”.
If that’s you, don’t just think about it. Do it. Keep in touch.
4 thoughts on “Keeping in Touch”
I knew most folks who said “we’ll keep in touch” wouldn’t. I tried with a few, making the effort to set up lunch or coffee dates. But then, they would cancel at the last minute. After 3 cancels, I just dropped them. It felt like they really didn’t want to keep in touch. And then there’s the few who were always “busy” when I suggest dates, yet don’t suggest alternates. I think 3 busy = dropped also.
But I’ve been surprised that a few friendships have gotten closer since I’ve retired. And yes, it requires effort. It’s nice when they put in some effort, or at least thank me for putting in the effort. Some people are the planners and some are the wait for the plans.
I have some long-distant friends and I need to remember to call or send emails to them… I put reminders on my calendar! And I’m always glad when we connect.
I think even if we don’t make conscious decisions about who to keep in touch with, we do “decide” when it becomes more work than it’s worth and we simply stop trying. I like your “three strikes you’re out” approach. I prefer quality over quantity anyway!!!
After I retired I kept in regular touch with quite a few of my former co-workers. I probably also made a pest of myself in sending morning or early afternoon beach pictures (i.e. “look at me!”). I know of few of them read my blog, and some even comment, but now that it’s five years the regularity of direct, one-to-one messages have dwindled. I think it has more to do with how people start to focus on new things more than anything else; I don’t take any lack of contact personally. But you’re right, it does take work to sustain relationships. Someone needs to be the instigator usually. Thanks for the reminder.
I think you’re right that there will be less contact the longer I’m retired. I know I will keep in touch with those that I see regularly now but I suppose that could even change as people’s lives evolve. We’ll see!!
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