Throwaway Friends

Posted: January 16, 2007 in Friendship, Manners, Tacky

I rarely discard friends under normal circumstances. It’s only at the point when the drama and trouble of a friendship outweighs the benefit that I cut my losses. But what’s to be done about friends who don’t pose unusual difficulties but routinely fail to respond to e-mail, text messages, or phone messages? I recently heard about the Three Call Rule. According to some folks out there (who have a higher friendship maintenance threshold than me), barring a major personal catastrophe, failure to respond after three attempts relegates the friend to purgatory. But here’s the really odd part. Assuming everyone has a cell phone and caller ID, the errant friend’s name in the cell phone’s address book is changed to Do Not Answer. That way, should the former friend finally respond, the call can be safely ignored — even willfully blocked. Multiple phone numbers can be added to the Do Not Answer entry, so it’s possible to not even know which former friend is trying to call.

This seems like a pretty cold way to deactivate a friendship.

  1. grasshopper says:

    Three attempts? Anyone adhering to that rule is, to my mind, incapable of friendship. Suppose the failure to respond does not ensue from technological failures. What if the friend relegated to purgatory is paralyzed in grief? Suppose that discarded friend is suffering from his or her child’s sudden death? A random bullet, a runaway car, an overturned pot of boiling water ends life in less than a minute. Does it matter much if you then fail to notice three emails asking, “S’up?”
    That’s an extreme example, I admit. Perhaps the negligent soul is merely ill. A bad case of the flu might prevent me from answering the phone or picking up the Blackberry I do not own anyway. A migraine, an abscessed tooth, an electrical fire in my apartment…too bad for me.

  2. jenniebean34 says:

    I rarely talk to my friends that often due to a hectic schedule and lots of “have to’s”. If they give up after 3 attempts, then they weren’t really my friend anyway.

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