This weekend I was lucky enough to go away with one of my dearest friends for an overnight stay shopping, eating, drinking wine, barely taking a breath between conversations and then going to see the wonderful Claudia Winkleman onstage. We had a fabulous time!
It also meant that we spent quite a lot of time in the car together, time we wouldn’t usually have where we were able to catch up on each other’s news, talk about all sorts of things that again we would probably usually gloss over when we were catching up for our usual coffee as we just wouldn’t normally have the time.
I have to admit that sometimes when I haven’t seen various friends for quite some time it has been easy to wonder whether I’m making enough effort or even whether they are making effort to catch up? I know from my clients that this is something that comes up regularly for them, they worry about juggling day-to-day life stuff and keeping in contact with good friends and family, making sure that people feel included and that they are showing interest in their friend’s lives. I think it’s fair to say we probably all do a bit of this don’t we?
Spending time with my friend was a really good reality check as she described her busy life – she works full-time she’s also a mum a wife a sister a friend and like so many, often feels there are not enough hours in the day to get everything done. As she listed through the things that she needed to achieve in the following week I recognised as with so many others the never ending to do list, the slight feeling of overwhelm and she questioned which tasks would have to be carried over to the following week or weeks? Although I knew this was the case, it wasn’t until she said it out loud that it really made me think. She is actually really good about keeping in contact but the description of her week is a carbon copy of so many.
I think we sometimes forget, even though our logical brain is telling us that life is busy, people are busy, that we are busy, sometimes juggling all these things, spinning all these plates, is just exhausting. Even the person with the best intentions in the world, who really would like to catch up with you, to drop you a quick text message or a phone call, at the end of a busy day is probably either still ploughing their way through their task list or has collapsed in a heap on the sofa trying to find the energy to make the pack lunches for tomorrow or hang out the wet washing or remember to post the nieces birthday card!
Sometimes it’s just not possible to be on top of everything in fact I would almost say it is just not realistic to be on top of everything and perhaps we need to cut ourselves a little bit of slack here but also appreciate that those around us are inevitably doing just the same as us.
So maybe that friend that hasn’t text for a few weeks or hasn’t given you a call isn’t being dramatic when they finally do and explain that they’ve been up to their neck in stuff, maybe when you’ve sent yet another text to a friend to check in to see if they’re alright and they don’t respond, rather than feeling aggrieved by it, perhaps consider that they might just not be coping right now with their “life stuff” – it’s just getting in the way and they are literally putting one foot in front of another in order to get things done!
Perhaps we need to lower our expectations (I’m not talking about those people that make no apparent effort and you know who they are) but for the people who your logical brain knows have many commitments and responsibilities – it’s not that they are not thinking of you, it’s not that they don’t care they just have stuff which is called life to navigate around on a daily basis and some days they manage and some days they don’t, just like us and that’s okay and it’s not personal to you.
Most people are busy and doing the best they can!