Monday, April 20, 2015

Keeping in Touch

Regular get togethers are one of my favourite things. When I was 24 I started playing a regular poker game at my place. Although the people who were there weren't always the same, the regularity meant I got to see some people really often. Without a weekly event, sometimes you can go months without seeing good buddies even if they live really close. Whether or not you are religious, that is one of the advantages of old school church on Sundays. The habit means you see people and build a community. A friend in New Zealand told me of a secular movement called Sunday Assembly where they try recreate the good bits that don't create theological differences of opinion. Interesting idea.

Another challenge with us all spreading out is that you can't do these sorts of regular face to face engagements. I don't like gender stereotypes, but culturally it does seem that in the circles I have been in, families with boys tend to be less good at keeping in touch than families with girls once a chunk of kilometres are thrown in. 

I met up with a friend from a Contiki tour I was on many moons ago. Although a diehard Kiwi who is still coming to terms with footy (to her credit, she did pick a side), she chose to come to Aus because the bigger population and economy gave her more work options. It does mean she is away from her family. They have a cunning plan to keep the benefits of communication habits. Every Friday, her mother, brother and sister each email each other three things that have happened in the week. The email can be short or long, but the point is that it happens. One of them starts the trail each week. Three things isn't that much, and can be as random as 'working really long shifts'. It then provides a trigger for further thoughts or follow up.

Not everyone feels comfortable writing. Finding a medium (phone/Whatsapp/Email/Facebook) that works for everyone can be a challenge. I am not great on the phone at all. If I had my way, everyone would have a blog. But I don't have my way. Even the guy who introduced me to blogging doesn't blog any more. Although he then got me onto Twitter so the banter is still there. Some people are anti-social media and want to hear your voice. Even though I am not great on the phone, it is something I know I need to get better at. Literally the only time someone who is juggling multiple wriggle worms may have, may be the half hour they have to themselves in a car. You can't type and drive even if you are an uber parent.

Nowadays there are so many different flavours of ways to communicate. I don't think it is the how that is a problem. The challenges are trying one of those flavours you aren't necessarily that comfortable with, and forming the habit.
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