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2002-09-20 - 12:29 p.m.

Friday Five.

1. Would you say that you're good at keeping in touch with people? Yes and no. I'm good at responding to people and I don't let email, phone calls, or letters sit unreturned for very long, but I can be bad about initiating contact. Sometimes it's because I get involved with my day-to-day life and find it hard to carve out appropriate time to give someone a call or write an email, and sometimes it's because I fear the rejection of getting no response (or an unenthusiastic response) back from them. I sent an email to a good high school friend a couple of months ago and he responded a few days later. I was so excited! I sent him back a long email in response and didn't hear anything for weeks. Finally I got another response, but it seemed very formal and distant. Friendly, but distant. In my heart I had wanted enthusiasm and closeness and it's disappointing when that doesn't happen.

2. Which communication method do you usually prefer/use: e-mail, telephone, snail mail, blog comments, or meeting in person? Why? It depends on the person. Email is probably my favorite because I can type fast and am more articulate in writing than in speaking (plus we have a cable modem so my internet access is fast). But there's no substitute for hearing a voice and having a real-time conversation, let alone for seeing someone in person and spending time with them. I don't send many letters, but I do send lots of greeting cards.

3. Do you have an instant messenger program? How many? Why/why not? How often do you use it? Yes, I use AOL Instant Messenger. I used to use Yahoo Messenger, but it wouldn't work with the network/firewall system I had at work, so I stopped. There are only four people on my buddies list, though. The Scientist, my friend AR, K. (who lives here), and M. (my best friend in Boston). Sometimes I wish I had more people on my list--it seems symbolic of the current state of my friendships.

4. Do most of your close friends live nearby or far away? Almost all of them live far away. K. and the people I've met through her are the only people we really know around here. I consider The Scientist to be my closest friend, so luckily he's nearby (since he's my husband).

5. Are you an "out of sight, out of mind" person, or do you believe that "distance makes the heart grow fonder"? Out of sight, out of mind. I think it takes a lot of dedication to keep a relationship, any relationship, alive and thriving when the people involved live far away. This doesn't mean that it can't be done, but that it's difficult. I didn't always think this way about friendships (although I've always felt this way about romantic relationships) but recent experiences with having friends move away or long-time friends getting more distant have changed my mind. I think when you see those people again you'll still feel the same spark or connection that made you become friends in the first place, but you have to rebuild the closeness, intimacy, and trust you had when you could spend real time with one another. You have to get to know each other again, instead of relying on your memory of how that person used to be.

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