In the last two years, I have. I’ve fallen out of touch with a couple of people who are really important to me.
I know that sounds backwards. If they were that important, I would make them a priority, right? I wouldn’t let them go by the wayside if I really cared for them.
But it’s easier than it sounds. There was no fight, no falling out. In fact, there is a lot of love and affection that goes both ways. But it still happened.
I used to work in an office, where email was a way of life. It was easy to steal moments here and there and keep up with friends on email, writing interesting notes, asking about their families, sending along funny experiences, keeping involved in their lives. We were tied to our computers all day, so it was no big deal – our work always got done as well. A note in my box from a friend would usually take precedence over a work email, for sheer interest alone. (Note to former employer: Go easy on me! We all do it!)
Also, in an office, there are incidental exchanges that keep a relationship going. You see someone at the soda machine, you see people in meetings, you get the news of the day, you find out that someone’s engaged, someone’s pregnant, someone’s divorcing. You pick up the vibes in the office and know whether it’s a good or bad day. You are in touch with things, almost without effort.
There’s also this thing in the work world called “lunch.” It often involves food, sometimes a noon exercise class. But it also is a really useful tool for keeping up with people – in an hour you can get caught up with each other’s work and personal lives while doing something you’d do anyway – eat.
Since I’ve worked at home, I find it harder to keep up in all these ways. When my work on the computer is done, I’m not tied to it, so I find other things I want to do, and the email box gets ignored until “later” (and you guessed it, “later” rarely comes). Lunch tends to be something out of the frig. And my work buddies consist of Jesse, Gidget, Shelby, Molly and Max – three collies and two Maine coons. They’re sweet, but they don’t keep up their side of the office conversation.
It’s important to me to reconnect, so I’m going to try to do better at this. Which leads me to my question: If you work at home, how do you stay in touch with the world? How do you connect with friends? And is it as easy as it was if you used to work outside the home?
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