askally

The “Fr-Ends?” Edition

In Advice, Funny, Life, People, Relationships on November 23, 2007 at 7:36 pm

I apologize profusely for the prolonged absence, oh abundance of (okay, six) loyal readers!

Katie from Ottawa (nee Dundas) begins with:

Dear Ally,

Long time reader… first time writing in. Love your column. (Great way to begin, n’est pas?)

What is the best way to revive a friendship if you have been a horrible friend? In this case the horrible friend got too involved in her own life, and sucked at communicating, especially over long distances.

Thanks!

Katie

*   *   *   *   *

Dear Katie,

Wow – I must admit that, although nearly devoid of the oodles of admiration bordering on worship on which I usually base my selection, your heartrending question was one I simply could not avoid answering. For you see, it is a question which touches very closely on my own experiences on both sides.

Allow me a pause while I dab at the tears which began to well up in my eyes…

There. In truth, I have at various times in my life either accused a friend of permitting a friendship to decay AND been suspect of committing the very same crime myself.

In the former instance, I believe that I was for the most part erroneous and short-sighted. In the latter, I became privy to some flashes of brilliant insight which I believe could be helpful in your plight (the first apparently being the importance of repeating the letter-combination”ight.” It seems to have served me well in the previous lines).

There are many things which can strain a friendship: friendships take work. However, we are lucky enough to live in the age of perpetual communication (and observation… creepy! But now is not the time). What I have found is that in this age it is both easy to keep in touch, and incredibly difficult: the internet offers a quick solution but a poor replacement for in-person, phone, or even snail-mail communication.
That said, a little goes a long way. The occasional Facebook message (or the like) can keep a connection going until there’s time for a good long phone call. The friends who really care about you will appreciate the gesture and understand the difficulty.

The ones who ride your ass about it are probably less secure with themselves and feel the need to maintain a relationship-like level of communication, when often times it’s just not possible. If you are really concerned with losing their esteem (or if you’ve lost it and need to prove yourself) there are some more drastic actions which you might undertake.

For example, create a webpage where you can broadcast a web-cam image of yourself going about your daily doings, so that your friend can feel connected to you in everything you do.
It will also be really great when, in three weeks, you can sit down and laugh with your friend about the six restraining orders you’ve had to take out against various internet perverts, and the time some guy tracked you down from the web to pee on your laundry drying on the line.

These are the moments which can only make your friendship stronger!

If you’re not so web-savvy, go lo-tech. Tie a string to your big toe, and another to your friend’s toe (or to several friends’ toes) and make sure you leave a couple hundred miles’ worth of slack. Even if they’re across the province… or across the country… either one of you can give that string a good yank and the other will know that you’re thinking of them… or that you just tripped over the cat.
Either way, your throbbing, bloodless toes and matching gangrenous infections will mean more than a best-doods-forever friendship locket ever could.

Of course, some of these methods might seem a little wacky. Maybe you just want to occasionally remind your friends that you still care. In this case, some friendly stalking might just do the trick. Nothing makes a person feel more special than when an old friend shows up for a surprise visit, right? So who wouldn’t love it if their old best friend surprised them when they were, say, taking out the garbage, or in the shower?
Leaping from the bushes like a frightened cat just screams “best buddies,”
second only perhaps to darting out from the linen closet in the bathroom!

But then, you are talking long distance. In that case, posting a small care package is a great way to be an awesome friend: stop by the Dollarstore and pick up some cheesy ceramic figurine that hearkens back to some old joke of yore, or a fun grade-school sleepover of sorts.

Merry Christmas, from your old pal ********

Pack that crap in some bubble wrap and sent it on its way! And it doesn’t need to be a Dollarstore item, it could be a mixed CD of your favourite tunes, or some funny magazine add you thought they’d find funny. Met a guy you thought was perfect for your BFF? Some chloroform and a big enough box and you can send him her way, COD!

Well Katie, I sure hope that some of these ideas can work for you! Good luck with that pal-o-yours. And remember, if all else fails nothing restores a friendship faster than a good ol’ fashioned beating: we bite and we kick because we care!

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