At the end of the year, do you also tidy up your life – or at least your cell phone? Sometimes it breaks my heart a little to delete numbers because there is a person behind them. But to be honest: Do I “need” the contact, or would I be able to get back to the number from corners? And: Do I miss her or him?
There are people who collect others. They link up, love job portals and, yes, of course, Instagram too
But people I met somewhere write to me regularly. "Hey, long time ago, how are you, what are you doing? You, I have a new book/project, don't you want to, can I send you something?” I'm always ambivalent about it. If I were writing a book, would I contact former colleagues or acquaintances who now have important jobs? Isn't it completely uncomfortable to come across so obviously after years of radio silence just because you want something from the other person? After all, professional networking is reasonably easy to see through. But what about people you used to be friends with or who you knew well and whose numbers are stored in your cell phone?
How long do you keep it, hoping that it will start to sparkle again, to glow, that you want to see each other again? Whenever I delete or remove people and their numbers in the address book (or on Instagram), I ask myself with a mixture of the tips of the tidying queen Marie Kondo ("Does it spark joy?") and my gut feeling, whether this person is still part of my life or was just very important in the past - and it's okay to let it go now. There's something very liberating about cleaning up the address book because it lets you focus more on those two or three handfuls of people who keep popping up in the call log.
By the way, I also advise cleaning up chats. IMessage, WhatsApp or whatever messenger you use: Take a quiet minute and see who lost contact with them. People used to be called "corpse cards", a terrible word. But not only love dies sometimes, but also friendships come to an end.
Last summer I got into a fight with a very close friend. We were sitting in front of a cafe and for no real reason it escalated to such an extent that I got up, paid and left without saying goodbye. I climbed onto my bike with a sense of relief. As important as our friendship had been for decades, that night it came to an organic end. "Are you gone?" Was her last message to me. I never answered them. It may seem uncool or immature, but to me it said it all.
Here are a few thoughts that can help you take a closer look at your surroundings - and then be able to devote yourself to them better:
1. Which people have supported me in crises in the past year? Who could I call if I wasn't feeling well? And who was I allowed to be there for? Who needed me when he/she was troubled and who could I help?
2. With whom do I look forward to receiving a message or a call and do I respond promptly? Who do I never answer and only reluctantly answer the phone? After which conversations do I have the feeling of having run an emotional marathon?
3. Who's stomach ache just reading the name, out of a bad conscience or because something is unclear between us?
It's sad when friendships end, but it's much sadder when you're constantly dealing with people who aren't good for you.
This text originally appeared in the WELTplus newsletter "Honey, we have to talk".
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This article was first published in January 2023.