Why do we put off contacting people we care about ?

I came across this "article on Cracked and, looking at n°1, immediately thought “Yep, that’s me.” But then, I realized that if it’s n°1 in the list, it probably means that it’s relevant for others, too. Of course, this sort of contest isn’t exactly scientific but still, it looks like the issue described is fairly frequent.

In my case, I know that being rather shy, I’m always afraid of bothering people, even when I have no real reason to think that it’s the case, sometimes quite the contrary.

Is the phenomenon widespread ? If yes, how do we justify this paradoxical behaviour ? Shyness ? Not really caring as much as we think we do ? Something else ?

Speaking just for myself, I have a couple of sibling about whom I care deeply but they can always be counted on to bring large quantities of drama to any discussion. Maybe I’m at fault for not adequately caring about what I see as day to day banalities but I just don’t care.

Your new cat just destroyed your curtains, yeah, cats do that. I don’t need to hear 15 minutes on it.

Your co-worker is being a pain in the XXX. OK, and…?

It’s too hot outside and you’re tired of paying the electric bill for the AC. Do you want me to make some calls?

If you need help, if there’s something I can do to improve your situation then I’m happy to be of service. Failing that, please try to keep your interesting anecdotes brief, pleasant and productive.

I suffer from this too. And struggle to overcome it. I see it in my siblings as well. I have always assumed it was reflective of intimacy issues stemming from the home we were raised in. Expressing intimate emotions was a dangerous endeavour in that home. The children internalized that such expression betrayed a weakness or vulnerability that would be exploited, sometimes ruthlessly and not always immediately.

It’s especially difficult to overcome the things you internalize before you’re old enough to unpack their meaning or impact.

I recently had a visit from a nephew and his fiancé. As they were leaving I was sending my regards to their other Aunt and Uncle in town (other side of the family, but we are friends!), assuming if they were visiting us, they were in town anyway, going there. (Which has often been the case when I see them or their siblings, I’m not complaining but instead count it as good fortune whenever it occurs!) When they said, no, they’d only come just to see us, I was actually kinda gobsmacked! I mean, it never even crossed my mind !

I’ve worked hard to overcome the baggage of that upbringing, but at 60+ I am seeing it still shapes my behaviour, from time to time. I struggle to imagine anyone wants to hear from me, so put off calling. I’m stunned if people remember me, why would they? It’s truly disheartening to think it will always be this way for me.

I like your thread and am anxious to hear what others have to say, if they struggle too, how they cope, etc.

I’m shy but I also feel like I’m too stingy with my free time. I anticipate when I call my friend/relative that I’ll be on the phone with them for an hour or more and I just don’t want to spend the time. It’s sort of like I over-compensate for shyness by talking too much.

I grew up in a close family including being close to grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins. We saw each other all the time and for the most part got along just fine. I was especially close to my paternal grandma who lived right behind our house. There was a path linking the two yards. I was always at “Ma’s” house (my grandpa died suddenly when I was 5). I slept over all the time, even on school days. If I decided to stay on a whim, my dad would drop off my school clothes before he went to work. She took me everywhere with her too. Then I became a teenager with much more important things to do and didn’t see her as often. When I was married, she’d always ask me why I never called her, etc. I didn’t have an excuse. To this day, I feel terrible about that. I’d still see her at family get-togethers and talked with her, but I never called her to just say “hi”. I don’t know why. I won’t blame it on being busy with work and kids, that’s lame. It doesn’t take a lot of time to pick up the phone and just talk for a few minutes. She would have loved that. I’m sure I had plenty of time to watch my TV shows!

I find myself doing the same thing now with my mom. I have to remind myself every couple of weeks to give her a call to see how’s she doing.

So I can’t answer the OP’s question. It’s a strange thing. I better not complain to my daughter and grandkids if the same thing happens to me!

I hate talking on the phone. It’s difficult to hear the other person clearly, and they will frequently talk over my words and interrupt me, which is frustrating. Each phone call almost inevitably takes an hour or more, time I don’t necessarily have to spare (and if the phone call was only 5 or 10 minutes, hardly any real information gets conveyed, so I think, what is the point? Something just to stress me out). I can’t do anything else while talking on a phone because it takes all my concentration to figure out what they’re trying to tell me over the poor sound connection. So that means anyone whose primary form of conversation is the phone is right out. I prefer texts or a chat room, both of which I am open to all the time, day and night, but plenty of people do not want to interact with me that way. I like it because I can get to them on my own time, the words are clear and it’s very difficult to interrupt one another. I can do lots of other things at the same time with texts/chats so I don’t mind if it takes up an hour of my day.

So, in the end, I don’t call, they don’t text, and thus we never talk to one another. Clearly since neither of us want to overcome these rather low hurdles, we don’t care that much.