This is my first post to the forum. I'm a recent college graduate who doesn't live anywhere near my fambam.
So everytime I call anybody in my family or my family gets nostalgic the first thing I KNOW they are going to say is "Why don't you ever call me?!" This happens with my Mom even after a week of not talking to her, my grandmother, my stepdad, and even my grandfather asked me this on Facebook after not talking to me for 3 years.
None of these people have ever called me that I can remember. I've always called them. I'm also the kind of person who feels it's harder to call them with the more time I've spent away or not talking to them.
So the main question is; who the heck SHOULD make that first call? I feel like it should be the parents job assuming they're the more "mature" out of the relationship.
Your thoughts an/or traditions?
Thanks in advanced.
I think you should hold yourself to a reasonable schedule--say, every two weeks or so. That way, you can honestly feel that you're doing your part. Then, if they still say "you never call", you can legitimately say "the same phone that rings out, rings in....and when's the last time YOU called ME?"
Good question, as I've run into this too, having gotten married and moved away within the past 5 years.
Who makes the first call depends on how much of a relationship you want to have. If you want to be more isolated and independant of them, for whatever reason, then limit your calls. However, if you want to be a part of their lives and have them be a part of yours, make the call(s). The more pleasent conversations you have with them, the more they will want them. You can drop hints and invite them to call if you want to make that a priority.
I've run into both extremes of this recently. When I first got married, my family (mainly my wife's mother in law) would call, text, stop by for a visit.....you get the picture. As newlyweds and me working weird hours that got awkward really fast! I'll let your mind fill in the details. In essence, we were being smothered. My family saw it as "welcoming" my wife into the family, but it was too much too fast. Long story short, we basically ended up breaking almost all communication for several months, and the added it back. Now, we live 500+ miles away and I try to call my family sometimes, but VERY rarely do they call me. Basically, they know I'm busy, and I know they're busy, but we still try to stay in at least loose touch. Much better than it was, and well on the way to where it needs to be.
In parting I'll tell you this: better to have too little contact than too much. At least if it's lacking you can do something about it, like calling. If they're calling too much, what are you going to do, block their number? That'll go over well.
My sisters and I have these issues. Having been out of the house for several years now, I understand it's a respect thing. Our parents don't want to interrupt the fun times we think we're having, and we get frustrated because their lives are actually busier, or at least have less routine, so we can't consistently reach them.
I worked to get over guilt-trips about "you never call" when they "never called." We only talk on the phone when we have a reason to - making plans to see each other, need advice on an unusual issue, coordinating help for another family member, etc. But I try to find reasons. I only live 15 miles from them now, so I end up seeing them about once a month. One sister is overseas; I think she arranges to video chat with them about once a month.
And I will let their calls go to voice mail if it's a bad time for me, just like I do for everyone else.
I'm kind of torn...In my opinion, the parents should make the first call to see how their offspring is doing out in the world, then it's up to the both the child and the parent to keep up contact if that's what they want.
With my dad and I, it's 50/50, he calls me after my tour to see how the week went, or I call him to see what's up....Likely though that phonecall is just to see if he'll be at the cottage or at home when I come into town as I try to make it to my hometownfor at least 1 or 2 of my 7 days off. I go into town and we fish or I help him with yardwork or we putter around in the shop, or if it's the cottage I give him a hand with the work that needs to be done out there.
But, like Ben G. says, it depends on how much of a relation ship you want to have.
Todd also raised a valid point, hold yourself to a schedule.
Since you are asking for advice i would suspect a part of you feels as though you should call, call them, keep it short tell them you only have a little bit of time and just wanted to see how they are doing. I do not feel it is one persond responsibility or another, I am terrible a keeping in contact thank God for my wife. Write them a letter every once and a while and try not to let it be too long between phone calls, as mentioned previously a couple of weeks or perhaps once a month would be good. Dont forget to send them birthday cards too, just be a good friend to them, a person usually calls a friend from time to time and sometimes sends a card.
It's both your responsibility and your family's. I've found that it works better if I take the initiative and contact them because I know their usual schedule better than they know mine (a result of living together for 18 years).
When my older brother went to college he would initially call us once per week. When my older sister went to college she called home a couple times per week because she just had a lot to talk about. When it was my turn I called the family usually every 2 weeks or sometimes 3. That was just the habit we got into and that's pretty much how often I still contact them. Now I have to use skype since I live 10,000mi away in Asia and we usually just use my Saturday morning/their Friday night for skype.
Basically, just ask them how often they expect to talk with you and then hold to that system.