Open Thread: Why is Staying in Touch so Hard?

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For some reason, it seems to take the logistical equivalent of a moon launch just to arrange a simple get together with two or three people.

It takes a few phone calls, checking the phone, or the schedule, or google calendar.  Plus finding a place to meet (I just ate there, it’s too expensive, I don’t want to take the subway because of monkeypox, we won’t get there in time) – and agreeing on a compromise that nobody likes but at least it’s fair!

No wonder so many people are relying on Facebook and drive-by friendships…but just try moving things into IRL (In Real Life).


Relationships and friendships are not perpetual motion machines, where there’s one push and it keeps going forever. So why would they stop? I think there are several reasons.

Please, Your Majesty!

First, people get tired of always being the one to initiate.  After a certain point, it’s easy to give up if you’re the only one making an effort most of the time. It conjures up an unpleasant image of an underling in silk knickers and a powdered wig begging the Sun King for an audience.

I also think there’s also a big divide in our age group between retirees and people still working. I love my retired friends but sometimes I can’t spare 90 minutes shooting the breeze.

I also think the pandemic spoiled us – we’re simply out of practice and got way too comfortable on the couch.

It seems odd that for all the new ways to stay in touch with people…Facebook, texts, IMs, Zoom….so many people seem lonelier than ever. Are we all really that busy? Or are we just….lazy?

What’s your theory? And how do you combat it? Let us know in the comments!

Virge Randall is Senior Planet’s Managing Editor. She is also a freelance culture reporter who seeks out hidden gems and unsung (or undersung) treasures for Straus Newspapers; her blog “Don’t Get Me Started” puts a quirky new spin on Old School New York City. Send your suggestions for Open Threads to her at

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