Today I was scrolling through my phone contacts and came across ‘Barry’. Who the hell is Barry? Not only did this Barry make it to an actual named position on my contacts list, but his importance in my life at one time or another even warranted some additional information, as on further inspection, he was actually listed ‘Barry from the Eastend’.
For a while now, I have felt the need to ‘hoard’ people. Some people hoard magazines or tupperware containers, some keyrings and old video collections (even though they no longer own a VCR) Me, I hoard people. For a long time now I have felt the need to remain in contact with every person I have ever made friends or acquaintance with, including many people from my teenage years. Actually, if I’m really honest…If I were to have met them again for the first time I would hate them. Maybe I don’t even like them now? But for some reason I feel the need to continue the friendship.
I guess I figure, ‘It’s only a phone call one every few months’. But no, I think I’ve had enough. I wonder would happen if I just didn’t call anymore? Maybe they too are sitting there thinking, ‘I wish this weirdo would just piss off and leave me alone, I’m not sure why she still rings me?’ Or maybe that is my paranoia speaking, see even in my imagination I have people speaking about me.
Yes some people have disappeared off the radar, but that is because they were better at the ‘ Yearly friend stocktake’ than I am. They have no shame in just ‘not contacting’ people once their relevance and usefulness has expired.
What is this Yearly stocktake I speak of? Well it was actually my brother who introduced me to this idea. It’s exactly the same process as the Myer Stocktake sale, but it applies to people not products. Once a year he will actively ‘cull’ his friends. It is a ruthless act that I have been so envious of in the past. I would cringe at the thought of bumping into the ‘Culled’ friend and having to explain that I just didn’t think we were gaining anything from keeping this friendship thing going. As a ‘non-facebook user, it is not as easy as just deleting a friend. For me it would involve the conscious act of ignoring all contact and / or no longer initiating it.
See my brother’s idea was actually a true testament to his honesty. He was sick and tired of people hanging around on Facebook and in real life, who offered little or nothing to the friendship, besides pissing everyone off with updates about their dinner or other other attention seeking topics. NEWSFLASH: No one else feels that your child is the ‘most beautiful thing they have ever seen’ In fact, many of us who are not related to your child are actually questioning the paternity, and secretly comparing it’s likeness to a cat.
I am sick of pretending to be impressed by your new gluten free, dairy free, taste free, commune inspired lifestyle that is unfortunately the complete opposite of mine.
I am not excited by your homemade seats. I wish I could be, but see by the time you have purchased the materials to make your recycled products, it was cheaper to go to Ikea. I really hate that you want everyone to respect your dog like it is a person. I love dogs too but if I had to kill you or your dog, it would be your dog and I can’t apologise for that. Worst of all, please don’t pretend to make future plans to see me just to fill in space on the text message. We both know it will not be happening, and I’m beginning to feel like the child with the imaginary friend for going along with it.
So maybe it is me who is the fraud. Maybe by remaining in contact or accepting these false gestures of friendship, I am being dishonest. When is it time to call it a day? I’ve realised that there is no shame in acknowledging that you no longer have anything in common. Maybe it is time for a Stocktake? But being a little on the cowardly side…I might ease myself into this with a ‘silent stocktake’.
NB- Barry was some man I had contacted a few times in regards to a holiday rental. His house was rubbish but I didn’t have the heart to tell him we didn’t want it. I kept his number in my phone so I would know it was him if he called, and I I’m ashamed to say if he had of, I would have ignored it.friends