I can’t tell you how many times I have been called a “terrible replier” by those around me. With near derision (but of course disguised as a joke), friends will say, “Oh I don’t even expect a reply anymore, you are so unreliable over message”.
My question is: If I am attempting to be more present by reducing my screen time, or am simply just too busy, should I feel guilty about my subpar ability to reply? Does being an “unreliable replier” in 2021 equate to being an “unreliable friend”?
Sometimes, amidst the busyness of life, the receipt of a message that expects a sizeable reply seems like a (deceivingly) daunting task; one which I more often than not will procrastinate, in much the same way I would a university assignment.
The typical responses I have seen to this are: ‘you make time for what you value’, ‘if you prioritise friendships you will put in the effort’… As if that somehow makes it easier to do? So, at the risk of holding an unpopular opinion, I want to say that sometimes, even if you value your friendships immensely, life forces you to prioritise other things first.
I think the notion of ‘cancelling’ a friendship with someone because they haven’t consistently prioritised you is quite damaging. Of course, I don’t mean toxic or one-sided or selfish friendships in which you don’t have a voice. I mean the friendships where you may not see or even speak to each other for a period of time, but when you do you can pick up right where you left off. The friendships where you can be secure in the knowledge that you always wished each other well, even if you weren’t in constant communication.
Is this view shared by others? I feel like the message I most often see is that if I valued my friendships, I would be ‘putting in the effort’. Can we normalise the fact that adult friendships are steeped in a million other responsibilities, and may not always be one’s first priority… But are valued nonetheless?