Laura Chubb has been lax at keeping up with friends back home
I’m beginning to suspect I’m a bit of a second-rate mate. This sucks, because I’ve always had a very self-satisfied sense of my flawlessness as a chum. What a blooming good pal I am, I might say to myself, musing on my veritable superhero’s utility belt of ‘marvellous mate’ apparatus: good listener, endless supply of wit and banter for cheering-up purposes, a knack for reeling off wise advice that belies my tender years. But then I moved to Doha and promptly forgot all my friends back home.
Well, I didn’t forget them, per se:I just forgot to contact them. Not straight away, mind. I was a lot better in the beginning, shooting off monthly group emails and timely replies to their own news round-ups. But as I busied myself with having a generally fabulous time, these monthly updates soon became quarterly, before finally trailing off into oblivion, much like my balanced diet and gym regime. Not only that, but whenever I did manage to fire off an email, it just seemed to turn into an essay titled: ‘My life is wonderful and I’m doing fascinating things in the sunshine while you’re in the rainy UK. Discuss.’ Not the kind of essay you want to read if you’re the one stuck in the drizzle.
Now the only communication I seem to receive from my cruelly under-contacted former companions is the odd text or email enquiring whether I am still among the living (I am) and, more usually, threatening entreaties for me to join Facebook (said entreaties started out friendly enough, but it’s been more than a year now and apparently this is not acceptable).
The thing is, I’m one of those miseries who’s still staunchly resisting all that social networking nonsense. First, I’ve spent a lot of time and effort gradually freezing out the high-school weirdos of my past life: why on earth would I want to invite them back in? Second, the temptation to Facebook-stalk my former crushes would seriously start to eat into my ‘having a fabulous life’ time. Anyway, what’s the sense in living abroad if you’re forever chatting to your mates back home? I want these people to miss me, damn it. I must retain the mystery. Let’s just hope I have some friends left with whom I can share my stories when it’s time to go back, eh? Laura Chubb is Books and Film editor for Time Out.