Keeping in touch

On Saturday Seb, H and I had a brilliant day catching up with the Barker Breaks group on our increasingly-inappropriately-titled Beeston Christmas Meal (in Somerset). It was great to see everyone. I know it also helped H to have people to talk to who have recently been through the experience of becoming parents, and especially mothers. Traveling back it reminded me of my frustration at not being better at keeping in touch with my friends. I don't really understand why I find it so difficult to stay in touch well.

I know that one of the reasons is that I often find that whereas I imagine having lots to talk about, when I actually start trying to share news with friends I often find that I don't really have anything interesting to discuss. Or at least anything that would be of interest to them. "What a relief, I've just finished an emerge world of 150 packages and X restarted cleanly first time." ... "Hello? Hello? Is that snoring?"

I suppose I'm equally trying to avoid too much in the way of cliched news. As father of a new baby, I'm conscious of the stereotype of talking about nothing else. I don't really watch a lot of TV and I'm not that sure that I'm too disappointed about not being able to debate the various merits of Strictly Come X Factor On Ice ... Get Me Out Of Here.

Perhaps it doesn't help that there is a vicious circle of not catching up with friends and therefore having less news to share or discuss. Irrespective of how you might feel about it, a lot of social interaction is based on discussing other social interactions (i.e. gossiping).

And I think this last conclusion, probably suggests that I just need to get on with it and spend more time talking to people. It feels a bit like practice makes perfect. This is the cycle I go through of envisaging myself as being really well in touch with all of my various friends. Whether that be via meeting up, e-mails, phone calls, text messages, instant messenger, Facebook or any of the myriad other ways. Then reality and my relative introversion kick in. I fire off a few e-mails and other contacts. I get a bit overstretched and find it a bit uncomfortable. I really need to build it up a bit more slowly. And I also need to accept that I'm not suddenly going to get good at something overnight. I need to work on this. It's important on me to stay in touch with my friends, but I'm not good at it.


Wannabe consumer activism

I will be getting an iPhone. Realistically, one can only obtain them with a minimum of an 18 month contract. They only come with a 12 month warranty. Something about this seems fundamentally wrong. We all know that the carrier companies are subsidising initial purchase costs of phones, but I don't see how you can be expected to be locked into a contract that you may not be able to use. Something just seems fundamentally wrong in the whole set-up. In fact, lock in only seems to favour those companies offering extended warranties (which are also almost always not good value for money).

Do you think any of this will stop me buying one?