I am The Constant. I am the friend who is always there; the one you can always find. With my more distant friends, I check in periodically to say hello. I ask questions. With my closer friends, I’m checking in frequently. I like to send emails, IMs, Facebook messages to let you know that I’m thinking of you. When something is wrong in your life, I will be right there ready to help in any possible way. I will lend an ear and support you, and I will check back in to see how you’re doing. I am that friend who, even if we haven’t spoken in a few years, I will still help you if you need me. Regardless of how close we are, if you have questions, I will answer them. I frequently brag about how awesome my friends are and how proud I am of them. It doesn’t matter if I’m proud of them for getting a really great job, for doing an awesome job in school, for being good at something, for achieving something, or for being generally successful. Sometimes I’m proud of my friends just for being who they are: good people. I will tell other people how proud I am when someone close to me accomplishes something. I make sure other people know when someone could use a friend. I will find some way to communicate to my friends that I care. My name is Renee, and I am your champion.
A friend recently told me something that got me thinking. That something was that I’m too available. People always know where to find me: IM, Facebook, Twitter, Gmail, cell phone. But the thing is that almost no one does. Because I’m always there, I guess it’s just taken for granted that I will always just … be there. I know that I’m a very sensitive person (and frequently to a fault), but I end up feeling under-appreciated and after so many of my texts or emails or Facebook messages are ignored, I start to feel like I care too much just for being a considerate person.
Sometimes I can’t understand what’s difficult about taking ten seconds and responding to a text, email, or Facebook message. I am not one who ignores these things. At the very least, I will acknowledge your correspondence. I can’t even let the call-off secretary from the school call without calling back just to confirm the assignment she’s given me. Sometimes it hurts my feelings when I take the time to try to reach out to a friend – whether it’s sharing a joke or a story or asking a question – and am ignored. What’s worse is when I say something to a friend with the best of intentions and the friendliest of tones and am shot down with grouchy remarks or made to feel stupid. I don’t expect everyone to be as available as I am, but is it too much to ask for a little bit of the same consideration in return?
The point here isn’t to alienate my friends. This isn’t an open letter to them, and I don’t think my friends are bad people. I’m using my own experiences as a starting point here, but I’m thinking of people in general. All people. If I’m too available, then perhaps there are an awful lot of people who aren’t available enough. I work hard to maintain friendships and am really proud of the fact that I still get together with people whom I’ve known since pre-school. My point here is that no one likes to be taken for granted, but people do like to feel like someone cares. So whether you actually know me well, you’re blog-stalking, or you’re one of the people from across the country who happened to come across my blog somehow, just try to take time out to let people know you appreciate them. Even people you don’t necessarily know well, because those nice remarks are always so unexpected and meaningful. I know this seems hokey and kind of like a PSA during an after-school special on bullying or something – one of those things people often shrug off. Ironic as it seems to say, even Constants get tired (I know I do, anyway), and they might not still be around to appreciate if you always wait until it’s convenient for you to remember that text or email you never answered.