I'm sorry text


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.

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17 Responses

  1. Mirka Moore @Kahanka

    This is so current for me as you know my dad passed away this Monday, and as I haven’t told Isabelle yet, we are waiting for the weekend, I preffered whne people texted me as I didn’t want her to hear it from soemone else. i think this is a different situation, and agree that usually texting isn’t good enough, but also there are times it is the best thing peopel can do for you. For me it showed me that I wasn’t alone in it…

    • honestmum

      @Mirka I’m so sorry again my darling. Yes can see texts can help for sure, I just think for me, if you are close to someone you need to send a card, flowers, gift etc too x

  2. Katie / Pouting In Heels

    Fabulous post Vicki!

    Whilst I am a fan of the humble ol’ text, I completely agree with you, that a single text is not good enough when it comes to the tough times or those joyous times that should be a cause for celebration.

    Like you, I had many ‘friends’ who didn’t even send a card when my little girl was born. One of whom I regarded as a best friend too and lived with at University. It was upsetting but like you say, you notice who your friends are!

    Unfortunately I think some people are just too wrapped up themselves to truly care about anyone else. But it’s their loss and I have to say, it’s time like these that sort the wheat from the chaff so I guess in a way, we should be grateful of that 🙂


    • honestmum

      @Katie/Pouting in Heels thanks Katie for this comment. I’m so sorry to hear about your friend and as you know it happened to me too. I wonder if it was because she hadn’t had a child herself? No excuse but maybe sometimes others don’t realise the enormity of it all. Thank you so much for sending me a card when I had Alexander, it really meant so much x

  3. Luci - mother.wife.me

    It’s a funny one, I think we’re so used to texting that sometimes it can feel like you’re intruding on someone’s time to make an actual call, which is totally ridiculous. I have to say I’ve never used a text for a really important communication, in phone or in person are by far the best… same goes for disagreements, both email and text have to be the worst way to communicate in these times, I did it once in response to someone’s email that had really upset me a few years back, with dire consequences, never again!

    On a separate note, so miffed I couldn’t attend the Colgate Oral Health event, would have been lovely to catch up in person – alongside talking about teeth and gums! xx

  4. katie

    I don’t know – it’s really difficult isn’t it.

    People are all different ad some people are not phone people. For me personally i think that at times a text would suffice and is better than nothing. Sometimes i just don’t feel like actually talking.

    • honestmum

      @katie yes can totally understand that. It is better than nothing but I think if you are close, sending a card means so much more! It’s taking that time to show you care.

  5. Mama and More aka Zaz

    Your last point was such a good one Vicki, times have moved forward at such a pace, and yet etiquette and basic empathy seems to be falling lower and lower down the list. I don’t honestly buy that we have less time than before. We are fitting more and more into our lives, it’s true, and that is what makes us have less time, but if there is something that is really important to you, you’ll do it. I’m not saying that I think texting is wrong, but it’s those short cursive texts that are dreadful. Of course, text should be the last recourse if at all, and it fully depends on the situation. A stay in hospital or a death in the family is not acc-text-able (sorry, couldn’t resist). I fully appreciate that calling can be tricky, not wanting to disturb, or especially for parents, when you are often in the middle of dealing with bath/bedtime and then settling down to have time alone or with your partner, but just a few lines on a postcard, or a note in an envelope can lift someone’s day. There are even apps to help you do it online if you’re really averse to reality! When I was made redundant, several friends messaged me, many called, and one friend sent me a wonderful card. Thinking of someone and getting in touch when they need it is what friendship is about, and a dismissive few quick words in a text is not the same. Good post hon x

    • honestmum

      @Mama and More aka Zaz thank you, I agree. It’s not that I’m against texting either, sometimes it’s just what you need, it’s when it’s not enough or appropriate to simply text-those big, important times in life when a text won’t do from your close mates. Wow never knew about those Apps, I suppose the greater emphasis on technology does mean people rely on it more but actually speaking on the phone, receiving letters, gifts and seeing people in person just can’t be beaten. Thanks for your thoughtful comment x

  6. Notmyyearoff

    I think with me it would depend on who it was. It was a fairly distant colleague then I’d be ok with a text but if it was a close friend or family and they just text after a really significant event but didn’t follow it with a call or visit then I’d be really gutted. I don’t mind prolific texters, it’s the sparce one time text of “congrats” that would bother me.

  7. Jocelyn

    I think it is sad that people seem to defer to a text rather than a visit, call or card, especially when it is a birth or death, as these are huge events. Personally, as I sell cards!, I always favour sending a card, even just a cheer-up one to someone occasionally out-of-the-blue can mean so much. I know that as a nation, we haven’t been reducing our card buying over the last decade, in spite of social media and texting, but perhaps it’s just birthdays and Christmas that we still do this for, rather than all of those other significant occasions. I get very frustrated when I don’t receive thank you notes/cards when I send gifts to friends’ children, and sometimes not even a text – very rude!, so that’s a gripe for me, too.

  8. Amy Ransom

    This is a difficult one. Because life is lived more and more online, social etiquette has become a blurred line. I hardly ever pick up the phone these days. Not because I don’t care. But because neither me nor my friends have the time we’d like to chat over the phone. Too busy juggling young families, work, relationships, life…

    I think that in difficult and sensitive situations, a lot of people (myself included) text because they don’t want to trouble someone but want them to know they’re thinking of them. A card is a good way around this though and something I still do. I’ll never give up on paper… and I love getting mail.

    Thought provoking post.

    • honestmum

      @Amy Ransom thanks I agree although before social media people found the time doing all of the above to call more. It’s just we all prefer the immediacy and gratification of social media. I just feel a text is often not enough when huge events happen in life. Then calls, cards, gifts need to be sent. A text is not always good enough to me. Thanks so much for your comment.


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