As part of looking into the Facebook phenomenon with greater scrutiny, I was wandering down memory lane by going through my Facebook message history. I realised that I hadn’t actually talked to one particular friend since leaving the UK six years ago. We had chatted on Facebook IM and left messages dotted here and there over the years, briefly catching each other up on our lives, but we hadn’t talked. I decided I wanted to.
I realised that I, of course, had no contact number for her now. So I used Facebook (yes before facing off) to send her a message asking for her number. Low and behold she was on-line at the very time! We couldn’t avoid it and started to catch each other up over Facebook IM… but I reminded myself that I wanted to actually call her.
I admit, it was a little strange at first, the concept of just catching up over the phone. It’s not something that we did anymore.
Nowadays it is quicker, easier and simpler to text, Facebook or IM. We get the point across (unless it is misconstrued – a fairly common occurrence) without the hassle of chit-chat. But this chit-chat is where all the extra stuff comes from. Things we never thought to ask about. With other means of communication we tend to get the bones of conversation but are missing out on the flesh.
My friend gave me her knew phone number as well as her Skype account and we organised a good day and time to chat (there are time differences where we live now). I thought about it and although I had intended an old-fashioned phone call, I wasn’t about to shoot myself in the foot by paying the international call fee when we could Skype.
As the computer dialled the number I actually felt nervous! This was silly really. This was my friend and we were after all – just catching up. In theory this was the same thing we had been doing by other methods for years.
As soon as I heard her voice I was reassured. I could see her in front of me and hear her familiar accent. I hadn’t realised how much this accent was an integral part of my memories of my friend. I had been missing out on it for years!
We had a long talk and, as is the way with old friends, we found ourselves winding down paths of the past as well as the future.
As I pressed the red bar ending the conversation I felt overwhelmed with a sense of belonging, with reassurance. My friend is real and our friendship still there. The best part – we have reconnected. The groundwork is laid and the door open for future communication. The phone is on the hook.