EditorialsBy Matt Bud, Chairman, The FENG

If the phone doesn’t ring, it’s me

Several years ago, a very old friend of mine called my attention to this song by Jimmy Buffet.

I’m not sure why it is, but many people never call anyone. In the enigma within a puzzle that is life, they are also always wondering why no one calls them.

When I was in college, my grandmother once said to me that if I wrote to her she would write me back, but I had to write first. At the moment she said it, I thought it was a little strange, but without the feedback that your letters are being received it IS kind of pointless to keep writing. Everyone has to take their turn.

I’m glad I followed my grandmother’s suggestion and wrote to her frequently. Her letters were the highlight of my week. You see, my grandmother was born in Russia and never learned how to spell English words. She just sounded them out as best she could in her thick accent. What you had to do was read her letters aloud and listen for her voice.

Most of us allow ourselves to be buried in our work. The work ethic that describes us best is shoulder to the wheel and nose to the grindstone, at all times. What we miss out of this is contact with our many friends. It is far too easy to put off until tomorrow or when we have time the very valuable phone calls or lunch dates with old friends we need to keep ourselves sane.

My goal for all of our members is to dramatically increase the numbers of friends you have. While they don’t ALL have to be fellow members, I hope a goodly number will be. Keeping in touch is actually very easy. If you don’t have the time to make phone calls, I hope you will try email. Every communication you send out doesn’t have to be made out of whole cloth. You are allowed to set up a boilerplate message of sorts from which you can build a tailored message to individual friends with a few very personal thoughts added in. You have to be a little sneaky about it, but I won’t tell any of them you’re “cheating” if you don’t. Of course, if you put in a huge “To:” list, it will be a dead giveaway.

Every message needs to be addressed to an individual and tailored to your actual relationship with them. There is no purpose in making the effort to “reach out and touch” other people unless you are going to put your personal self into it.

There is also no harm in being a little compulsive on how you go about this. Make a complete list of all of your friends who you should be contacting from time to time, and whenever you write to them, check them off your list. In this way, you won’t miss anyone. I can assure you they miss you.

So next time you think about calling an old friend, don’t just think about doing it, actually do it.

That way they won’t be thinking about how you must not love them because you never call. (If the phone IS ringing, it must be you!)

Regards, Matt

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