Friends Use Phones

You know how no one uses phones anymore? At least not to actually talk? Phones are a text-only device it seems, a vehicle with which to check Google maps for directions, listen to music, even play Solitaire  (or is that just me?) but talking is a thing of the past.

When I started making new friends, I didn’t ask for their numbers. I didn’t want to bother them with text messages, instead opting for the email route. It’s a good method of communication, more or less, until you need something or someone quickly, and you have to sit and pray that they have email on their phone or are in front of the computer at that very moment. Email is not so much help when it comes to the last-minute brunch invite.

I noticed last night, however, that I am joining the ranks of the social with the whole text message thing. A week or so ago I ran into a newish friend while she was heading into the workout class that I was leaving. I really like this girl, we definitely get along and could be pals, but we’ve never hung out just us. We’ve met a handful of times through two mutual friends, but that’s it. Except, she texted me on my birthday, so I have her number in my phone.

So, anyway, last night I sent over a quick text to see how she liked the class. It was once unlike me to text someone on a whim–I’d be scared we weren’t “there yet,” a phrase I used so often–but I’ve changed over the course of this search. I’ve let go of some of those supposed rules. I don’t wait for a mysterious marker to tell me we’ve reached the text stage or hang-out stage, I just do it. Sort of like how I used to be scared to bother waiters and now I chat with them endlessly about what to order. (A strange but very really side effect of my year of friending. When you become more open and aggressive with potential BFFs, it leaks over into every other part of your life. Including meal service.)

The result of my off-the-cuff text? A response with those magical words: “We have to make a plan to get together! It’s been too long.”

I shouldn’t be surprised by this point that little actions (a brief and friendly text) provoke reactions (an invitation, or allusion to an invitation). I’ve learned that friendliness begets friendliness. And yet I’m continually pleasantly surprised. It’s in cases like these when it seems so easy. Why yes, we should get together again! How’s next week?

Have you found that it’s these little friendly exchanges that kick off a friendship? We worry so much about being awkward when we ask someone out, but sometimes it’s as easy as a quick reminder that we’re here. (I maintain that half the time people don’t reciprocate invitations it’s not that they’re rude or don’t like us, but that they’re so swamped they just forget. In the early stages, you have to see someone a bunch to make it into their regular rotation.) Do you think text message is the quickest way to kick off a friendship?


Filed under The Search

10 responses to “Friends Use Phones

  1. San

    I definitely think that text messages are an easy way to send a quick “hello” without asking for a get-together point blank. It helps reminding the other person of you and it’s easy for them to reciprocate, without making an instant commitment. It definitely can be a kick off to a friendship…. and it’s less awkward and actually calling someone that we don’t know well yet without making actual plans.

  2. Marie

    I’m new to the whole texting thing also. What about when someone texts you that you don’t have in your address book? I’ve received texts and have no idea who they are from. I usually find out that it’s a friend that changed phone numbers. That’s my fear when I text someone new, is that they won’t know who sent it.

  3. I’ve been texting since I was a teenager because back home mobile phone calls were (and still are) too expensive. Minimum $1/min!

    Now that I live in China, even prepaid phones have quite cheap call rates, and I find that my friends here are much more likely to call me on a whim. I really like this little difference. Also, it’s not as looked-down-upon for people to take personal calls at work here, so that helps too.

    I use Whatsapp (a smartphone/internet chat program) as much as I text, and Google Talk on my phone as well. Weirdly, there’s a blogger who lives up the road from me (who I still haven’t met!), and we @ each other on Twitter all the time, despite not having each other’s phone numbers.

  4. I text message can be the gateway to a new friendship. It’s easier to get through the initial awkward stages via text message rather than a direct call. A text message discussing a sudden school holiday, followed by an informal facebook message, was how I made friends with on of my daughter’s classmate’s mothers (sorry if that’s complicated). This is the story:
    I think informality and low pressure approaches work better now days.

  5. Pingback: The Telecommuter’s Lament | MWF Seeking BFF

  6. I have a question – what if that “oh we should get together” is just polite speak and the person’s not being genuine?

    • When I embarked on my friend-making quest, I decided to take people at their word. I used to worry that potential friends were “just saying that” but now when they say “we should get together” I say, “great, how’s next Tuesday?”

      • GG

        I just made a new friend I met her 2 weeks ago i talk to her when i see her asked her for her number she hesitated acted a little weird bout it but said sure and put it in was it to soon to ask for it

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