So she called me.
It’s tough be in touch with friends, I understand. There’s work, career, social life, kids, husbands, television, movies to catch, things to buy, status messages to update, maid politics to manage, people to poke, ping or whatever it is they do these days, pedicures to get (although I think a pedicure is the best time to make pending calls to friends), sex to think about but not have, gossip to spread..
So you need time and consistency of purpose to be in touch. So I never complain when someone is not in touch or hasn’t popped into my inbox in a while. There are friends I talk to once a year. Some who I meet once in five or ten. But that’s ok. There’s no pretence of trying, but not being able to make it, or feeling guilty about not trying .
What’s not okay is someone who actually calls you when they need something. But they make it out to be about a bonding that never was. “I have been meaning to call, but just been so busy running around,” she explained. I never understand what that means, unless someone is getting married or house-hunting, in which case I do.
I am sure I am a target for such calls since I am a reservoir of information and contacts, or resourceful enough to get it even if I don’t have it (and it started way before my media job). I don’t have a problem with that. You need information. I have information. You call me. I give it to you.
But then, don’t disguise it as a chat call. Or a ‘I called because I thought of you’ call. Say it like it is. I called because I wanted a favour, a number, a pass to something, whatever.
She: How have you been? How’s R, D, your friend x, friend y?
Me: (gives her all the dope while wondering where this is going)
She: It’s been so long! We must meet up!
Me: Sure. Say when, and I’ll show up.
She: By the way, your friend z? Isn’t she a designer?
Me: (Realising that there is an agenda to this) Yes, why?
She: I wanted to talk to her because I wanted some information on a story I was working on.
Aha. So that was it. So much for thinking she was actually interested in how my boy and my cats were doing.
Recently an ex-colleague called me, all chatty and chirpy, and asked me if I had a nanny. I presumed one of two things:
a) She was pregnant and wanted one
b) She wanted to do a story on nannies
It turned out to be b. But at least she didn’t make it to be out about anything else, or pretend she wanted to do a movie or lunch or some such sacred metaphor for friendship.
Moral of the story: It’s totally okay to call people only when you need something from them. At least have the balls so say so.