I was at a conference this past weekend and re-connected with many people that I haven’t seen in a couple of years. Old work colleagues and friends. Many of them had been in my life for 10 years and more and it was a chance to touch base and catch up.
I moved from the area just over 2 years ago after the sudden death of my son and lost contact with most people in the space that followed. Grief and depression took a hard toll and I isolated very effectively; even easier since I was geographically removed.
In chatting with someone this weekend, she was very open that a lot of my friends had been worried about how I was doing and if I was getting along ok. She made a point of referencing one friend in particular who, she explained, had voiced a strong concern over my well-being. She relayed that this friend had been very vocal over a number of months in a very public way at my previous work location about how worried she was about me and how concerned she was about how I was dealing with the loss and the change and if I was ok.
So, here’s the interesting thing… Not once, ever, did this friend connect with me. Not once, since the day I left town – even to this day – have I had any messages or calls or any contact. Now this is not me saying “oh, she let me down”… quite the contrary. I never contacted her either and communication goes both ways. I accept full responsibility for many many relationships going silent and growing apart. That’s something I understand. But to be so openly vocal about caring and concern all the while never once doing anything about said concern… not exactly my take on sincerity.
If you really care and want to know how someone is… talk to them, not to everyone else.
Sadly, this does not shock me, at all. When I was seriously ill, three years ago, now, I heard similar things via the friend grapevine, alluding to those I had considered to be my closest friends. One story even being that one said friend had a mental breakdown over my possibly dying, during her own birthday party. Never once, even to this day, has that friend, nor the others, said anything to me, personally, on the subject. In fact, since recovery, I have had several ppl tell me off for “being a stranger”!
There are many reasons for such behaviour. Anything from fear and discomfort to being triggered with their own pain to “not wanting to be a bother”. Regardless, the excuses are moot. If you care, let the person know. Your msg, however brief, may be the one thing that makes the day bearable.