What is a “friend”?
A site visitor was curious and pondered:
Here is the situation with a “friend” of mine… We sent each other Christmas cards, no phone calls or visits. My friend recently sent me an e-mail on to my private e-addy saying she thought of me often, wondered how I was doing, and was sending the e-mail to tell me she thought of me fondly. She signed off with “LYLAS”…initials meaning “love you like a sister”.
Assuming she is wondering if I am reading her e-mails, she sent me many more “forwarded” chain letters to my e-addy that is not private. I did not respond…and wouldn’t have anyway because they had no personal note attached.
While her recent e-mail was not a forwarded note and was very kind, it is still a reminder to me that she doesn’t think I deserve a phone call or real-time conversation. At this point, since all I get are forwards with no personal comments, she will get absolutely no response from me at all. I will only answer to a telephone call… What do you think of this approach?
Real Friends Make Real Efforts
I understand your frustration and point of view. I also do not respond to forwards without a personal note to me. As a matter of fact, I don’t even take the time to read forwards of that nature. I do not perceive these e-mails from “friends” as thoughtful or even about me. It’s all about them.
With that said, I guess you have to decide how important this friendship is to you. Do you make the first move or is your ego preventing you from doing so? Or, is there more history that I don’t know about? Not knowing the full history of the relationship makes it difficult for me to tell you what to do.
In e-mail it is common for incorrect perceptions to occur and for those perceptions to be amplified. Why not pick up the phone and ask her how she is and if everything is okay? In regard to her recent note, it could be she had the time, was thinking of you and was sincerely genuine in the words she typed. Why wouldn’t you respond to that particular e-mail where she is reaching out?
Correct or Not
The reality is that when folks forward e-mails to you, they do actually feel they are thinking of you by including you in their mailing. Both you and I agree that if she was really thinking of you she would take the extra few moments to type a personal note. However, in my experience a vast majority believe the same is accomplished, although incorrectly so, by just adding your address to their list.
I’m not making excuses for your friend. Many do not realize that what they think is thoughtful behavior is actually lazy with a dash of narcissism. But at the end of the day, if the relationship is important to you, I wouldn’t let a rash of forwards without personal notes be the cause to end your friendship.