#SOL16: Are You A Caller or a Call-ee?

screen-shot-2016-10-21-at-12-05-33-pmThis post is a fine example of Nitpickery and possibly Small-mindedness. Nonetheless, every word is true & I’d be lying if I said otherwise.

“Let’s get together!”

“Let’s have coffee!”

“Lunch soon, OK?”

“Can’t wait to hear what’s happening!”

Recently I realized that every time somebody says this to me, I am the one calls, organizes, reaches out, and listens.

phone-499991_1920Maybe there’s some etiquette I don’t know about. If you are the one who makes one of the comments above, does the responsibility for following up fall by default to the person who didn’t say it first?

So, curious, I started to respond, “I’d love to! Shoot me a couple of times that would work for you.” And nothing happened.

Then I started to say, “Great!” I didn’t call, reach out, organize. And neither did they.

A friend affirmed my choice, saying that at some point, if people value you, they have to make at least some effort. She said one person couldn’t always be responsible for keeping a friendship rolling. So when nothing happened, what was I supposed to think? Two seconds into that train of thought, I shut it down– these are people I’ve known for decades, through all the Serious Stuff. These are friends for life. Still, I puzzled.

My husband listened as I described my experiment. What was I supposed to think, I asked him. My husband doesn’t think about things like this; he shrugged. “They’re probably just busy,” he said. OK, then, I figured, maybe they simply needed a little nudge.

To test his hypothesis, I texted two friends, both of whom had cheerily suggested a future get-together. In the text, I asked them to let me know a day or time it would be good to get together.

Nothing happened. Zero. Zip. Nada.

I didn’t respond either.

Plus, I didn’t get to see my friends.

I know, it all sounds ridiculous. But sometimes the organizer appreciates just going along for the ride. So I texted them again. “You’re the one with the crazy calendar,” I wrote. “Tell me when it works for you or I might never see you again!” A little hyperbole can go a long way. So far I’ve gotten a dinner date, a breakfast, and some coffee out of those texts.

But I still wonder why. Is it just that some people are the callers and some the call-ees? Some the natural organizers and some the dutiful sheep?

My sister and mother recently told me they thought we should do a family secret Santa. When I told my mother it was a great idea and I wouldn’t organize it, there was atext-28688_1280 shocked silence on the other end of the line, then she started to laugh. “Well, you’d better talk to your sister….” she said. My sister laughed too. “I was hoping you’d do it,” she confessed. My plate’s full this fall, I told her, but I’d happily coach her.

The family Santa emails arrived a few days ago. I have a breakfast date with a friend in a couple of weeks. Maybe I just have to suck it up and tell my pals I wish they’d give me a call some time.



All images used free of copyright CC0 via www.pixabay.com

4 responses to “#SOL16: Are You A Caller or a Call-ee?”

  1. Connie says:

    So here’s my two cents: those of us who are “organizers” become the ones who do the organizing. Everyone “knows” that we’ll do it, whatever “it” is.
    I, too, have noticed that more often than not I am the “caller.” Sometimes it’s fine, sometimes it’s not, but, for better or worse I’ve decided that it just “is.”

  2. I love your piece. You really hit on a problem of socializing. I think I am always the caller with some people, and often the callee with other people, and it’s not that I like the ones I call more than the ones I wait to call me. There was one woman who I thought was a close friend until I realized that I was always the caller. So I decided not to call her until she called me — and she never did. I was truly sorry to lose her, but I did not want to feel like I was begging. Thanks for putting this question out there. Maybe it’s something we need to teach out kids as part of etiquette.

    • Karen says:

      Thanks, Sonia. I wonder if it’s possible to teach kids to have this kind of awareness? Or even adults? All I can say is, glad I’m not the only one!

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