I, like many of you probably read and sadly nodded in recognition at Angela Epstein’s piece in the Daily Mail who found that many of her friends merely texted, rather than rang, sent a card or even visited her, when her mother died. A condolence text, really? Shocking.
A condolence text, really? Shocking.
I understand not everyone wants to talk when dealing with grief but to know you tried to call and more, a card or gift says so much than a text.
As a writer and blogger, so much of my life is spent online, writing, tweeting, emailing, sending photos so I understand how easy it is to send a text or email (no awkward conversations, not knowing what to say) but surely that’s the point, it’s so quick and carefree it’s just not good enough.
There is no substitute for actually speaking to someone on the phone and taking the effort to post a card (little more effort if not the same as sending an email) surely? Is this now too much to ask of friends?
I remember being in hospital, when 14 weeks pregnant with my second child with an acute water infection ( so bad, nurses had to carry me to the bathroom and for days the IV antibiotics didn’t work, a truly horrendous time) and it really brought to light who my real friends were.
I was too weak nor did I want to mention it online but I or my family informed my friends and I was touched by so many who did call, send cards, flowers or were able to visit when I was up to it.
There were only a couple who did none of the above, though, friends I was there for when they or their families were ill and it was very upsetting.
This is not about material gifts, it’s about expecting those who care to take the time to make a call or write a card, a simple gesture that you mean something to them.
I could have lost my baby I was so bad, with a ten-day stay in hospital, truly at my lowest point. When you’re the life and soul of the party, it’s so easy to have a million ‘friends’ around you, celebrating your success, latest project or celebratory event. Oh yes, those times require little effort in proving how strong your friendship is.
It’s the harder times that are the greater test, though.
When I was discharged, I decided to free myself of some of these ‘fake friends’ and it was truly liberating. Why have people in your life only there when you’re up. That’s not real friendship as far as I’m concerned.
Another notable time was the birth of my second child-yes texting is OK but close friends should surely send a card and I personally do along with gifts yet a few again merely texted. Many other friends of mine have complained
Many other friends of mine have complained about the same thing happening to them too. It baffles me.
Having a baby is a big deal and surely one which deserves more than a congratulations xx text. I have to say many, many great friends showed care and love at all of the above times, it was not many but however few, it hurt.
I’m lucky to have not lost a parent so far but I fully empathise with Angela Epstein, no one deserves a text at the worst time of your life. It fails to show care, respect, acknowledgement and understanding of the pain of grief. Yes technology is advancing but sadly, it seems etiquette is not.
Yes technology is advancing but sadly, it seems etiquette is not.
What do you think?
Photograph ©Vicki Broadbent.