I have never been very sentimental toward things. I have had a few collections over the years and they kept mostly because I didnâ€™t want to hurt the feelings of those who had given them to me. I found myself attaching to people. I never wanted to let go of anyone once they had been in my life. I wrote letters for years to many of the people who had come and gone in my life. When email came along I switched to emailing them and then later to Facebook (FB) if they had an account.
In mid May someone made a comment on 365 Less Things that set me to thinking. I wish I could remember who and could quote the comment. I just know I suddenly realized that I had a clutter area that I needed to work on. It was my email list and FB list. I realized that I had a lot of people on both and that I was spending a lot of time reading status reports and sending emails. I also realized that I had a pretty long list of people I sent homemade birthday or anniversary cards to. With some of the other changes I am making in my life I had to examine these areas to see why I was so dutifully engaged in this.
One of the first things I realized was that many of the people I emailed or send cards to never responded back. Oh, they seemed to like reading my messages but I never heard anything about their lives. I had the same thing going on when it came to FB. Many of them would have all of these pictures, jokes, etc. they posted but little about themselves and their actual lives. I sat down with these lists and began to set some priorities and guidelines. I began to delete friends and addresses.
On FB I had 93 friends when I started this process. I now have about 40. I am part of a FB group for our church so anyone who is in that group is no longer a FB friend in the regular friend area. I donâ€™t need them in two places. Itâ€™s the important stuff they put on the church group page that is what I want not the games, likes, jokes, political stuff, etc. In the regular area I have kept my few family members who have FB accounts, some close friends who I hear from all the time, and a few friends who only post on a occasional basis but who are very important to me. I read FB once a day now.
In my address book I removed everyone who I have not heard from in a long time. As I went through that book I realized I had 20+ names of people who I had been sending a Christmas card to plus quarterly emails and not once had I received more than maybe a Christmas card with nothing but their name signed. Hmmm! I donâ€™t seem to be important to them. Thatâ€™s okay. Things change in our lives and that means we even lose some friends we cared about and were close to at one time. I took those names out of my Outlook address book. I also went through and deleted a number of email addresses for this same reason.
The last thing I went through was my list of birthdays and anniversaries. I realized that only a few of them really cared about receiving a homemade card (or any card). These were mostly family. So I took all those names and listed most of them either FB or email birthday/anniversary greetings. Less postage was a bonus benefit, and better for the environment
Does this sound unfriendly to you? Do you have the same dilemma? Have you even considered this as a place to declutter? I have to tell you that it was a huge change for me. It took lots of consideration. I was so used to making the effort to keep up with people. I had all of this done near the beginning of June. Itâ€™s been quite feeling of freedom since then. I expected guilt or something to overtake me. It hasnâ€™t. I feel like this was long overdue. I donâ€™t think anyone will notice.
It matters not how fast I go, I hurry faster when Iâ€™m slow
Donna B says
Deb, good for you!! I don’t like Facebook and am not on it, but I’d love to reduce our Christmas card list by at least half. So many of our cards are sent out of habit, but I can’t get my husband on board to reduce the list. In addition to friends, we send to a lot of extended family members who probably wouldn’t even notice if we didn’t send a card. It’s time-consuming and expensive. Maybe I’ll try again this season to reduce the number.
Deb J says
Donna, I hope you are able to cut you list and your husband is agreeable.
creative me says
I can relate to this. Though I don’t “do” facebook, I am in regular contact with people I have known since elementary school, even if they don’t return my calls on their own. Email. Cards. Phone Calls.
The difference is that I don’t have a lot of contemporary friends. If I didn’t keep up with these people I wouldn’t have anyone outside my family to talk to (except my kids’ friends’ parents)! Being self employed from home with no extracurricular things to call my own, I have no way to make new connections, and no time it seems to even think about it right now! LOL
Despite this, I still had to pare off a few “dead limb” friendships. These were people that I loved very dearly at one point in my life, but our current situations are not respectful to each other’s priorities. It sounds selfish, but truly it was not malicious or intentional, just that lives really can grow too far apart. I finally had to have the guts to admit the energy put into keeping in contact wasn’t benefiting either of us and was even growing TOXIC to some of my dearest values. All that just to say we were still friends?! In retrospect it looks crazy. I still wish it was different, but I genuinely don’t miss where it was going or how I felt being their “friend”.
Deb J says
Creative Me, I understand what you mean. With my health the way it is, I have few people to run around with here in AZ. I keep in touch with several from previous moves. I have found that there were several Toxic people in my life and I have dripped them off the rolls. Hope you can soon make a couple fo close friends where you are.
I totally agree with you on this one!
I initially used to stitch Christmas cards for people, but then after having a few conversations with family realized that no one kept any of their Christmas cards and was told that they were chucked into the recycling once the decorations came down. When I found this out I decided never to stitch another Christmas card again except for my other half, who knows the amount of work that goes into my sewing.
On a related note – in all the magazines and on the websites I read it says to start stitching Christmas cards months in advance in order for them to be ready in time, I even saw one person who spent 30+ hours on ONE card. It seems to be expected that you stitch everyone Christmas cards…I am so glad I no longer stitch these as now I can put those hours into a picture I can frame and have on the wall for many years to come rather than a card which is liable to be discarded after being looked at for five seconds.
Deb J says
Jane, I can’t imagine putting 30 hours into one card. I have reallly been cutting back on the cards I make because, like you people, they all get trown away afterward. I realized that if I have to send an actual card it will be one I have purchased because I can get them for 75% off the day after Christmas. Much easier.
I hardily concur with ur paring down contact with people who(let’s be honest) could probably care less. I have all sorts of media with which to contact people with and only a selected few really care. Those are the people i keep contact with on a regular basis. I felt guilty at first, eliminating people from xmas card lists, Facebook, etc. but those people either never responded personally or never responded at all. So, away they went. Only one person was concerned enuff to contact me again to have me re-friend them on facebook. A few moved, so xmas cards came back which meant that these “friends” and family never even bothered to let me know they had moved. I know who my true friends and family are using this method, harsh as it is. On a minor note, it saves me much time and money, not to mention it’s wonderful as heck to only converse with people that actually want to know how I’m doing.
Deb J says
Nannette, I had a few of those who didn’t send new addresses, etc. Some were even family. When I realized that I decided to just cut the lists.
Deb, This was a good post and I heartily agree. I don’t do facebook, but I consider myself the last of the “real” letter writers.
I have always written letters since I was in grammar school (I’m almost 61 now) and sent lots of cards. I usually sent about 90 birthday cards. In the 80’s, I got into rubberstamping. I started making about 30-35 of my cards every year for the most special on my list. I enjoyed it, but it took a lot of time. A few years ago, I made a truly gorgeous Christmas card, 35 of them. They were the best cards I ever made and I was so proud of them. There is no telling how many hours it took to make all those cards. I got a comment from only 6 people and I got Christmas cards from most a couple of weeks after they would have received mine. (I always mail early). It seemed they could have at least said Thank You. It was then I decided people really, for the most part, did not care. It wasn’t that I wanted people to save their cards forever or even give me a big pat on the back. But to at least be acknowledged for the effort I put forth hopefully for their enjoyment would have been nice. I decided it would never happen again. This year I am using up the last of my handmade cards. Except for my closest friends and family, everyone else will be getting box cards. I’ve reduced my birthday list down to about 40 people and each year will be less. No matter how many I have ever sent, I get about 8 cards every year from the same people. I am considering sending no Christmas cards this year to see how many I receive. I have long suspected that most people only send to me because I have already sent them one. I don’t send cards to get one in return, but I figure if people really enjoyed them, they would also want to send them. Plus, postage is getting exorbitant!!! The Good Lord has also always blessed me to find name brand cards at thrift stores and I have a good supply of those. I’m using up everything I have on hand, and then my list will become very small and I will save time, money, and energy!!!! I hope this didn’t come across as being selfish on my part, but, my whole point is that most people are not that appreciative to make it worth the effort!
Deb J says
Brenda, I understand that you are not being selfish. I am not being selfish either. It is just that when people only send a card because you sent one (with a letter) and just sign it with nothing else said it gets old. I can no longer afford the time, effort or postage to keep up with a huge list of people. This year I am sending out a Christmas Email Card to all but a very few who will get the cards I have made.
Interesting topic. As a young adult I found it quite upsetting to let go of people who were leaving, moving on etc but I eventually learnt that someone else inevitably popped up and perhaps that friendship wouldn’t have happened if that space in my life hadn’t been made available.
I am useless with Facebook. I perhaps go on it once every couple of months. I keep thinking I should make it a mini-mission or a challenge to do more with it, but so far ….. nah.
I have a way of looking at the whole family, friends, acquaintances etc. I also found that I put more effort into friendships or acquaintance-ships than the other person and then wondered why it isn’t reciprocated. I came to realise that everybody only has so much time in their life and room for so many family, friends and acquaintances at each level and maybe they already had more than enough people to juggle in their life.
I try to view it as a stone being dropped into water and the rings that are generated. The closest people and most important people are in that first ring but it is the smallest ring, and as the rings get bigger ie room for more, they also get further from the epicentre.
Without sounding like I compartmentalise everybody I know, when a situation arises I ask myself where that person falls in the rings and the further out they are, while they will always have kindness and politeness from me, I’m less obligated to over-invest in them. Does that make sense? I don’t have to go to huge efforts to make them happy or delighted as they already have people closer to them whose job that is. If life or a situation brings them into my orbit, lovely to see them, if I can do them a favour and it doesn’t over tax me, sure, but otherwise I view it as an orbit, and they’re passing by again soon.
I used to over-invest in such people but I realised that inevitably someone closer to me would have been missing out perhaps, even if that person was only little ole me.
Sometimes we may have to ‘demote’ someone, that probably sounds clinically cold, but sometimes we have to stop and realise that a friendship isn’t working like it used to and maybe give that person some space to see if they actually notice or are bothered by it. If they don’t, then it was time to give them some space. I don’t mean to sound like its about cutting someone off, its about accepting that not all friendships and acquaintanceships will have the same duration and intensity and being ok with that when it does happen.
A friend taught me a saying that I love “family first, then clan”. When you think about it, family in itself has many levels. My husband and children are my family. We also have parents and siblings and their children. They are also classified family, but when it comes to “family first, then clan” – my household is family, the extended family is clan. But when close friends are introduced to the equation all family is “family” and close friends are “clan”. I basically use this saying to make myself ask, just how high up the hierachy this person is to me. I respect that for some people, close friends might be closer than family, and if they wish to classify these people that way, no problem with me – this is just a saying and a system that works for me.
Deb J says
Moni, your entire comment sounds good and I agree with you. I am another that used to invest a lot of me into everyone around me and would hang on to those people when I moved away.
On another note, I took Mom to the ER in the middle of the night. They admitted her and are running tests to see what is wrong. Came across like heart but all tests so far have come back normal. They did an echocardiogram and a kidney ultrasound but no results yet. I came home to get some sleep as this started about 9 last night.
Deb J – that’s awful news, though it is good to hear that her tests have come back normal. Our thoughts are with you.
Deb J says
Jo H. says
Deb J – I hope your Mom is feeling better soon and things calm down for you. I know how exhausting it is. Hope you can get some sleep.
Deb J says
Jo H. says
Moni, this is such a good and understanding way to look at our relationships and to prioritize what is most important. Well said.
I know this will sound crazy to some people. But I have been self employed for 15 years, and I have dealt with a variety of customers. In the last year I have began to cut back on different work I was doing and some of the clients I was dealing with. Its not that I wanted to turn down money, but that I wanted to regain my actual life. When the economy got crappy, I took on whatever I needed to do – jobs I don’t normally do – to keep the cash flow going. It made sense at the time for me.
However in the last couple years as I got better with my money and got my bills in order – I knew I needed a change. I wasn’t happy with being pulled in 9000 directions. I began to cut down on where I went to work (I had a choice of 6 places to work, but now I only concentrate on the 3 places which are closest to home). Then I began to weed out my client base. Some people didn’t pay on time, some people played games, and I quit on them. I told them to go away. One client was bought out, and I was expected to deal with people from India. I quit them too. When I quit the one location I used to work at, it caused a huge hassle for some other people. But I remained unapologetic, and kept moving forward. It was one of the best decisions I ever made to finally cull the list and only concentrate on what I feel is important to me. I realize some people were dependent on me, but that very dependence was weighing me down mentally. Less is truly more, and more freeing.
Michaela – I too am self employed and know what you mean. We call them “D” grade customers and gradually cut them loose. A “D” grade will take up more time than an “A” “B” or “C” grade client, force you to cut your prices to the point you’re only doing it to get the job to justify the time invested to date, and then take forever to pay. If it was a personal relationship, you’d cut that person loose from your life, so why spend your working life with that person?
Moni, you are right about D grade clients – that is a good way to put it. Some didn’t start that way, it just progressively happened over time. I just am much happier not having to deal with them, or fight to get paid anymore. I think I hung on for too long because I had some internal fear that one day I would wake up and not have work anymore. But that hasn’t happened yet (*knock on wood*) and even when I am slower some days, I use it to work on things I would not normally have time to work on. Its a huge weight off me!
Deb J says
Michaela, I think you are smart. You just have to set your priorities and make the cuts that are needed.
Deb J – yes I am much happier. I don’t feel like I’m driving my life away in the name of work and the almighty dollar. Every day I am home between 4 and 5 . I can shift around my schedule as needed and I have even squeezed a much needed day off here and there. Recently I traded in my old car (which I had put the miles on) and got a new one. Its nice to know this one will be around longer since I don’t have to drive as much (less wear and tear).
Cutting back on work also forced me to cut back on volunteer work I was doing. We will just say I was involved in a few volunteer situations which I didn’t *love* and I quit those too (despite the protest I received). Now my evenings are *mine* and I can concentrate on my family and home. I’m not getting any younger, and time it too short to clutter it up with unwanted and unnecessary obligations.
Deb J says
Michaela, I discovered with my last job that no job is worth putting in extra time. It may bring money but that it also means you have to spend more to get things done you can’t do yourself. It also has the cost of not bring with you family. I”m glad you discovered it too. Volunteering is good but we can go overboard with that too. It sounds like you have your priorities right and you are in a happy place. I”m glad for you.
I just commented on yesterday’s post on how I felt that most women, not all, are sentimental about things. You are fortunate that you are not. I do not do facebook and one of the reasons I chose not to do it is because there are but a few people that I would say are truly close to me and those are ones that do take the time to cultivate our relationship. Of the few that do, I am grateful because it does feel good to know that you matter to someone. However, it also makes me realize that those who do not take the time to reciprocate friendship, are not worth my efforts. It has been hard and has taken me a long time to come to that realization too. I don’t mean it in a mean way, but it is reality. I have learned over time, after several years of taking the time to remember other people’s birthdays, anniversaries, etc., and not having the same in return, that it is just time to let it go. After awhile, one just gets tired of being the person always making the effort. I try to be present with those who want me in their lives. I would like to mention, with that in mind, that I heard from a friend today that I have not heard from in over twenty years. How awesome is that? Also, another full donation bag made it out the door today, too :).
Deb J says
Jen, I don’t think any of us are trying to be mean. We have just come to realize that we only have so much time, energy and money. We have to decide how to best use them and most times it is not by hanging onto people who could care less.
Years ago, my younger sister said, “You must do friend/aquaintance housecleaning on a regular basis”. Profound, I thought. I now do it annually in conjunction with my spring and fall deep house cleaning. I taught my daughter that people will come in and out of your life for different reasons. Some, because they have something to teach you, or you have something to teach them, but few will stay in your life forever.
Deb J says
Kimberley, you and your sister both have good words of wisdom. I like the idea of calling it “Friend/acquaintance housecleaning.”
Deb M says
This is such a good topic it has encouraged me to make my first comment 🙂 I used to feel so overwhelmed and pressured at the thought of writing out all those Christmas cards every year. I don’t know why I felt that way but I did. I was also becoming very disillusioned over the whole commercialism of Christmas and Easter. Then a few years ago a close friend disclosed to me that she no longer sent out any Christmas cards at all. I was shocked to say the least. As much as I hated the chore it had never occurred to me to just not do it!! So I just didnt send any either. Well, I did send one each to my two elderly Aunts who I don’t get to see at Christmas. But that was it. I wondered if DH would notice but he didnt?! When we were young we used to do them together but over the years with raising a family I gradually assumed (got lumbered with) all the responsibility for all family celebrations including decorations, food, presents and of course cards. I think a lot of husbands and men in general leave that sort of thing to their wives because they can and because let’s face it we tend to take it over as a female caring role thing 🙂 Well I realised I was over it and DH obviously didnt care that much so I decided to see who would send me a card without receiving one from me first. I did get a lot of cards that year but about a third didnt send one. I wondered still how many of those I received were sent out of habit. With the advent of FB I was able to be in contact with all of these people anyway and others I saw regularly in my daily life. So apart from my two elderly aunts I no longer send out Christmas cards and it is truly such a huge weight off my shoulders. My kids have grown now and I also have now revolted against putting up Christmas decorations anymore (guess who had to always take them down as well) but that’s a whole other topic I could wax lyrical about! 🙂 I also have let some friends go over the years after realising the effort was mostly on my part and considering that perhaps I was being one of those pesky people who try to be your friend when you’re not really interested! How embarrassing! 🙂
I quit sending christmas cards out about three years ago and no one has seemed to miss them. Most people who I would send them to I normally see over the holidays, and anyone else is just a phone call away.
Deb J says
Michaela, that’s what I am working on. I will still send to a few relatives if Mom insists but otherwise will forget it.
Deb J says
Deb M, welcome to 365 Less Things. Glad to have you commenting. It sounds like you were doing the same thing I was. I have done the Christmas Cards for my parents since I was in my teens. Even after I moved out on my own Mom would ship them to me and let me make them out. When I started making cards about 10 years ago her list of who she wanted to receive them rather than the boughten kind got longer. I recently realized that most of the people we were sending them to were not even my friends but theirs. I started weeding them out using “postage is getting worse” and “we never get any news from them just a signed card” as excuses. The list is much shorter and this year is going to be really short. I think we are going to send maybe 10 at the most to family. If I can convince Mom to do it we are going to even stop those. We talk to them all the time. We don’t exchange gifts with them. And, we usually talk to them on Christmas Day at some point. Duh! Grin.
Marie L says
This post came so handy today. My mom has always been a problem solver for her family ( nephews, nieces, siblings, etc). But now that she is sick, no one is coming to help her out. Most of them don’t even call. I’m her only child, and I’m the only one taking care of her. So, I’m learning from her experience. I used to help everyone, but now I’m just helping my family( son, husband, and mother). No more extracurriculars. Lesson learned.
Deb J says
Marie L, I’m sorry you are getting no help with your mother. I understand how that is and I even have a brother who does nothing. I have learned to do for other people but with the understanding that I may get nothing back. I also am careful how much I do. I don’t let it get in the way of doing for my mother.
Marie L says
Deb J, I really wasn’t expecting any help with my mother. We are very close, so helping her is like helping myself. But I was expecting at least some concern for her health. It is like some people believe that they are allowed to take all your energy, without giving some of theirs back. I’m almost 60, so from now on I’ll have to invest my energy in just my very close family. This post was a
real eye opener. I like your posts very much. I have more or less the same problems you have with your mother and your decluttering adventures. Hope your mother is feeling better. Thanks for all those wonderful posts.
Deb J says
Marie L, I’m glad you like my posts. I understand you don’t expect any help but I’m thinking more along the lines of people calling and showing they care, maybe coming to visit if they are near, things like that. My brother doesn’t even call. Many of those who we have helped over the years do little to acknowledge we exist or might need encouragement. It’s sad but I don’t help because of what I get back. But I also have to prioritize and give my time and energy to Mom 1st anymore.
I really enjoyed this post Deb J – and I think a very important one for many. I learnt through the experience of prolonged ill health when younger, that every interaction takes a certain level of energy so I needn’t to learn when the investment was really worth it. I used to be a ‘people pleaser’ , feeling obliged to spend time/be friends with all and sundry, even if I dreaded their company and was dragged down by obligation and guilt when I failed to write etc and overwhelmed by card buying/sending.
I long since learnt know I no longer have enough energy to spare for anyone who’s company or friendship doesn’t uplift me in some way. (By which I don’t mean wonderful friends going through hard time). Also, as others have said, some people come into your life for a specific time, it’s wonderful and then we naturally move on when our paths no longer cross. And that is natural and ok.
I have learnt how to say no when invited for a coffee by someone I know are very pleasant but don’t rock my boat. I no longer send Christmas cards other than to elderly relatives and tend to txt individual messages for birthday and not send cards. All this leaves me with the energy to give to those I do love and truly care about and also very importantly, to myself.
On the subject of friendships – I had a most wonderful afternoon with Colleen in central London this week: how fantastic to meet someone online from the other side of the world and then have such a good time with them. I love having the space in my life for new people 🙂
Deb J says
Doodle, I’m glad you enjoyed my post. It sounds like you too have learned how to curtail things so that you aren’t overwhelmed. I think it is great that you got to meet with Colleen. I think she would be a blast and lots of fun. I hope I get to meet her someday.
These comments are so true. Each person’s situation is different, too. In my family siblings were spaced far apart to very far apart, so when my parents were ill, it did fall to the older ones to help more since they were empty nesters while us younger ones were still getting kids off to elementary school, etc. We appreciated them helping, but may have been too busy to express it. I hope we did, but who knows. I think with more distant family–by now that is cousins since there are now no living aunts and uncles–they are busy too with their own families. We mostly stay in touch by e-mail and there is a family facebook page. This cuts down on any effort for any particular person. We all love each other, we are all just so busy. I do not spend time on facebook either–it just isn’t that meaningful to me. If I really want to tell someone something, I e-mail. Over the years with 4 children and the related school parties, etc. we gradually cut down on Christmas card lists, and had never sent birthday cards except to family memberss on both sides–parents, siblings, nieces and nephews–which was a lot of people.
We all just have so much time and so much energy so we just need to accept that this is true of everyone. No response does not necessarily mean someone doesn’t care–just that it is past their limits, so we can cut back our efforts, too.
Deb J says
Nana, I think that just as with furniture and other household stuff our electronic and regular correspondence tend to get out of hand because we don’t think about them and keep them in check. Life is just so busy.
I forgot to say I now only send birthday cards to my 3 living siblings–as far as my children go, they get an e-mail. Only a few of the cousins are close and they have lost most of their much smaller families so we have become almost like brothers and sisters to them. I think we send about ten Christmas cards now. A church we attended made announcements before Christmas that no one should send another member a card. Instead, if you wanted to, just make a donation to some charity (this was over 40 years ago and was very unusual for that time, but very appreciated).
Deb J says
Nana, sounds like you have got it down to a managable list with significant people. The church where I grew up still has a Christmas Mailbox. You put your cards in this that go to anyone who attends the church and pay 10 to 15 cents (or more if you want). The money goes to a special need they choose beforehand.
Hi Deb J! I really liked your post today. I do Facebook. But it is a way to keep in contact with people who are not close. It is the acquaintance place. My friends I talk on the phone or e-mail. There are pages I like, read and share. I don’t publish much of what is going on in my life in there. However I had people who had been close friends once in while ago. I just cut them of. It came a moment when I realized it was all me. I was the one that phoned, sent messages, tried to keep the friendship going. One day I got fed up. One of this friends made a very derogatory comment about my town (he was temporally living here). He was rude. He used a swear word on FB to refer to the town and the people who lived in it. That was when I realized he was no longer a friend. He had been a friend a long time ago. But that time had gone. So I cut our only link: I de-friended him and his family on Facebook. That was it. And I realized if that was our only contact, then we had no contact at all.
Deb J says
Andriea, I’m glad you are seeing the need to reduce those you keep in contact with.
Oh, I hope your Mom gets well soon. It can be hard to have a loved one at a Hospital, and I saw your comment, if nothing awful was discovered so far, let’s pray it is just some minor problem. May God be with you and have faith.
My best wishes.
Deb J says
I too enjoy your posts — they are practical and thought-provoking. But what’s on my mind now is..
how is your Mom doing?
I’m sure I’m not the only one concerned about her — since we are all a community here. Do you have any updates? Am keeping her — and you — in thoughts & prayers.
Deb J says
Sumarie, thanks for your thoughts and prayers. Mom is still in the hospital. She will have the stress test tomorrow as today didn’t work out. So far all of her tests have come out well. They are pretty sure it is not her heart. So what is it? Guess they will run more tests to try to figure it out. Thanks for asking.
Deb J, as others have said, that was a good post. Just now I deleted 7 contacts from my mobile (cell) ‘phone. Some of these were people’s other numbers and old, no longer valid numbers. I saw several more that I could perhaps delete and I’ll go through them tomorrow. I also deleted a lot of email contacts, many of which were saved automatically when I sent them emails and that I didn’t realise were saved.
I used to send Christmas cards to people who didn’t send any to me or even contacted me at all. I send very few now. To me, it’s a way of letting people know that I want to keep in contact and I have my answer ie. they are not interested! ‘They’re not that in to me!’ as the title of the movie says. That is especially hard when it is family. If was really honest and brave I’d have very few contacts left in my phone and address book. (sob!) I’ll do it in stages to make it easier. People have their own lives and you have to accept that. Also, people who move house and don’t let you know, they are obviously not interested. Why can’t we take a hint?!
I won’t be sending many greetings cards because of the cost, the environment and they’re not that appreciated, as you say about your handmade ones. Having lots of names, addresses, email addresses etc that make you feel uncomfortable because you don’t mean much to them is mental and digital clutter and in the case of cards, physical clutter. It’s good that you are appreciating the relief and don’t feel guilt about this kind of decluttering. It’s funny at the end of your post where you said that no-one will notice. You’re so right! And it’s certainly not unfriendly. Clutter is the last thing you need with your mom unwell. Hopes she gets well soon.
Ps. You have very good writing skills.
Deb J says
LenaC, thank you for your appreciation for my writing. I’m glad you liked the post and that you felt it gave you permission to start deleting names and addresses from your electronics and address book. I’m learning to realize that it isn’t that peeple dislike me but just that they are busy and they tend to keep in contact with those who are nearby and they see often.
I’m wondering if The Age of the Greeting Card is waning. I’d rather get a text than a card to be honest, and when I receive a fancy or home made card I feel obligated to keep it or do something in return or display it or ????, I’m wondering if people feel that way in general. I’m not so keen on a greeting e-mail, but a text is nice and informal.
Deb J says
Moni, I think you are right that greeting cards are not as much the norm any more. I refuse to keep them and they represent more trees being killed for something more on the frivolous line.
Jane T (ACT) says
Deb, you always write a wonderful post and this one is especially good. I enjoyed everyone’s responses, too.
A couple of years ago my FB friends increased to 150 and I decided to do a review and declutter. Now I have half that many and mostly with people who I truly enjoy interacting with online. I still feel an obligation to keep various relatives ‘friended’. However, I’ve “customised” who sees my posts and whose I see. Living interstate to all relatives and most friends, FB is a useful way to make contact and keep in touch, so I’ll keep it for the moment. From time to time, I deactivate the account for anything up to 6 months. This provides an opportunity to restore my energy and give attention to other things.
Deb, I hope for improvement in your mum’s health.
Jane, I’d never heard of stitched cards before and went to google images to see what they looked like. They’re really special and I bet yours were superb.
Jane T (ACT)
PS From early 2014, I’ll be starting a new phone/address book. There are a few names in my current book that make me feel bad. It will be a decluttering of my soul, I think.
Deb J says
Jane T (ACT), I’m glad you like my posts. It sounds like you have found your sweet spot with how many people you keep in touch with. What I like is that we can customize all the things we talk about here to fit who we are yet it is usually something that helps everyone in some form.
I like your idea of starting a new address book in 2014. I’m going to be doing that too. I want us to have a brand new one with only the addresses we need in it. There have been so many changes the last year so it’s a good time to start over.
Things are going better with Mom. They found the problem and are in the process of fixing it. Thanks for your concern.