One of the unexpected aspects about moving to the other side of the world is the weird social awkwardness around what happens when a friend from home comes to London. Well, sometimes it's not weird, sometimes it's awesome. Sometimes it just plain bums you out.
So, turns out I'm not so good at keeping in touch with people at home. I'm pretty rubbish at it, actually. I make the effort with family, and I send random spontaneous emails + make (possibly every so slightly inebriated) calls to a very few of my closest friends when I think of them and miss them. Facebook means I can stalk anyone when the mood strikes me, and a 'like' with a comment lets them know I'm still around occasionally. Its pretty similar on the flip side - I didn't hear from people who weren't my nearest and dearest either. Unless there was a comment conversation on fb it was pretty much radio silence.
Now, I don't mind the radio silence. I know that it's tricky to keep in touch, and sending emails about your everyday ordinary is time consuming and isn't especially easy to write. But here's the thing, I always made the assumption that if a friend was coming to London knowing full well I was here, that they might get in touch for a drink. We're in the same place! Let's catch up! I want to see your face and hear all things!
Turns out that's true, but only some of the time. The girls from school were rockstars about meeting up when they're over here, but people who I thought I was okay friends with, people I hung out with on a fairly regular basis back home blanked me - no facebook message or emails suggesting we catch up at all. And on the flip side, people who I barely know now, hardly hung out with at home are all filled with enthusiasm about meeting for a drink or dinner or whatever.
I find it all a bit bewildering. I'm delighted that some people reach out and want to hang. And I'm a bit down that others really don't.
Don't get me wrong, I know holidays are busy with all of the things they want to do/see while on vacation. Priorities, right? Which is why I'd never intrude and ask if they wanted to hang (perhaps also because my pride gets in the way - they don't want to see me? Fine then. My inner 12 year old knows how to rock a snub with the best of them).
So yeah, I'm a bit bummed. I know that I'd make the effort and am a little down when I can see on latitude that for the last few days they've been about 6 kilometres from where I was, and I've been blanked, despite me knowing they were here, and them knowing I was here. I probably should have messaged with a polite 'Would be lovely to see you!', except that I didn't. Instead I left it, wondering perhaps if I've done something wrong, or perhaps I haven't. Perhaps they just plain didn't have time. Either way, I figure this was a pretty clear call about the state of our friendship and called it done.
On the other hand, I'm positively delighted about another friend who recently reached out on his trip over, and we spent a pretty marvellous two days exploring all of London's more delectable spots. There was a ridiculous amount of eating, and drinking, and walking. Loads of photos with arms out wide next to things like phone boxes. It was well good. Introduced him to a friend or two, and honestly, I hope he moves over here. People like him help me discover new appreciation for the city in which I live. Also, he takes silly photos that populate what would other wise be a pretty text based post.
I suspect that says a lot about the kind of friends I had in New Zealand. Some are amazing, and cross oceans and survive the long distance silence. Some faded the moment I stepped on the plane away. Some want to reach out, some don't. Either way, I think this is a pretty good friend litmus test, right? How do you guys deal with your long distance friendships?