Sometimes, I have what I call “WWDWS?” moments — moments I ask myself, “What would Dear Wendy say?” Because, as easy as it may be for me to see what the “right” thing is for other people to do when it comes to their relationships and friendships, it’s not always so easy to see the right move for myself. So, when faced with a personal dilemma, I pretend I’m answering a question from a reader. I did this when I happened to see an important announcement broadcast on a friend’s newsfeed on Facebook recently — an announcement she had not shared with me personally. “That’s weird,” I thought, “We’re close friends. Why am I reading about this on Facebook?” I was tempted to call her out on it, to make the situation about me, but I asked myself, “WWDWS?” and I knew Dear Wendy would be like, “Girl, use this opportunity to reach out to your friend. Let her know you’re thinking of her — try to pave the way for better communication between you.” So, that’s what I did.
Unfortunately, Facebook made me question myself — and my friendships — again a couple weeks later when I decided to share my pregnancy news with some of my close long-distance friends. For most of them, I chose the old fashioned method of calling. Of course, almost everyone let me go to voicemail, so I left messages for them to call me back some time. You guys, no one called me back. Like, a week went by and no one called. Oh, but they were all on Facebook, updating their statuses and tagging pictures and wishing people happy birthday. They had time for all that, but no time to pick up the phone and call me? “WWDWS?” I asked myself again. Because, you know, I was seriously tempted to just post a status update announcing my pregnancy and letting my friends find out that way. Give them a taste of their own medicine.
I still might. I don’t know. Dear Wendy would probably tell me that’s immature, though. She’d probably say I should email them and tell them I have some good news to share and ask when would be a good time to talk on the phone. She’d probably remind me that people are busy and they probably meant to call me back but forgot and because I didn’t make a big deal about talking right away, it was easy for it to slip their minds. And she might even ask me to examine whether my own behavior may be the cause. “Have you been the best friend you could be?” she’d say. “You’ve got to be a good friend if you want friends to be good to you.” Sometimes Dear Wendy is very annoying.
At this point, there are good friends I’ve had for 15 years — friends I’ve seen in the last few months — who don’t know I’m pregnant yet (obviously, I’m assuming they don’t read this site). Two years ago when I got engaged, I don’t remember having such an issue sharing my news in a personal way. Drew proposed on a Friday and by Sunday night, I’d been able to tell all my closest friends the good news on the phone. I called them, they picked up, we talked for a few minutes, done. Or, if they didn’t pick up right away, they called me back within 24 hours. WHAT HAS HAPPENED WITH EVERYONE IN THE LAST TWO YEARS? Seriously, why is it now more important to wish your 7th grade debate partner you haven’t seen in 21 years happy birthday than to return your good friend’s phone call?
Am I alone here? Or is this a symptom of a greater cultural issue? Have you found that some of your friendships have suffered in the face of online social networks? Is it harder for you to get people on the phone these days? Do you find out about friends’ big news in their status updates? Please tell me this isn’t just happening to me. And tell me how you’d handle the situation if you were in my shoes. It’s okay if I tell the little Dear Wendy voice in my head who wants me to be the bigger person to shut up, right? Just this once?