A couple of things have happened recently which have made me take stock of my relationships with people I thought of as friends. If not friends, they were acquaintances because I certainly felt no animosity towards them. But that’s changed now: at first it was a gradual change, so soft and slow that I didn’t notice, until this week when it’s run up behind me and whacked me over the head.
So what’s happened, I (almost) hear you ask. Are you sitting comfortably? Then I’ll begin.
About a year ago I was contacted through a well known social media site for professional networking by someone I worked with more than half my life ago. I hadn’t heard from them this century, when out of the blue I got a message, asking to connect with me. I’d liked the person, so I accepted the connection request. Soon after, I got an email from them full of the sort of pleasantries you’d expect – “how are you, what have you been doing” etc, and asking if I had time for a chat. Being an amenable chap, I agreed, and we had a phone call at the agreed time. It was good to chat – we had a lot to catch up on. Then came the real purpose of the call. They’d been made redundant, and to continue to receive benefits had to show that they were making an effort to find new employment elsewhere: did I know of any opportunities where I was. We finished the call, and the following day I made some enquiries and sent some details to the person.
I got no response, no email or text back to say “thanks”, or even to acknowledge receipt. A couple of months went by, and I got another message: would I be prepared to act as a referee as they were due to be interviewed for a job at the company I was at. Again, being amenable, I said yes. Again, no acknowledgment of my helpful response. Time went by, and I did indeed get contacted about the person, and I gave positive feedback. More time went by, and eventually I saw they had taken up a new role at a new company. I’ve still heard nothing since I provided my asent to be a referee.
More recently, I had a couple of text messages from people I used to spend time with, who I got on well with, but who I’ve not seen or heard from for a few years. They both were asking much the same sort of thing, and I know from one of the messages they’d spent time together reminiscing about “the good old days” and would have talked about me. I was very happy to hear from them, and told them so. I provided some information which they’d asked for and … you’ve guessed it, got no response and haven’t heard from either of them since. I noticed on another social media site earlier this week that one of them had posted something and had included some of my comments (I knew they were planning to do this), but I have to say I was slightly miffed to not have had any response to my polite and friendly messages.
These events set me thinking. Am I too trusting, too caring, too willing to help others, that when I get messages out of the blue my first reaction is to be happy and to see what I can do to help? Should I take a step back and ask myself WHY I’ve been contacted, WHY after all this time I’m worthy of their attention? Should I ask myself the simple question “Am I being used?”. Does my helpfulness reflect badly on me, or does their behaviour reflect badly on them? Does it matter?
I’ve come to the conclusion that I’ll look after myself, my own wellbeing, and look after those who are close and dear to me (like Dee). I’m going to try to let it go, think happy thoughts and concentrate on being a good person. As for the rest, maybe their consicience will catch up with them, but that’ll for them to deal with, not me: whatever happens, I wish them well.