Earlier this week I made a new spreadsheet. I put a few names of friends and family in it, and a column for dates, and another column for personal concerns. Then I wrote to some of the friends and family, and put the date in the column beside their names, and made a couple of notes in a few cases about things which I know are of particular concern to those individuals.
Yes, I now have a spreadsheet to track when I talk to my friends.
It feels silly to say this, I'll confess that much right off. But I have a reason for doing it that's more important than not feeling silly: I do a terrible job of keeping in contact with good friends, and that's pretty awful. Then I get all lonely and pathetic feeling because I'm not in contact with people, and that's pretty stupid.
I just plain don't remember to connect to folks. The people on my spreadsheet are mainly ones I don't get to see in person very often because I don't live near them. Since I don't naturally cross paths with them, it takes intentional effort to get in touch with them, and I forget to make that effort. I forget to just reach out and say hello, which mostly everybody likes to hear sometimes. I don't know what's going on with them, because I don't remember to ask. I don't get to tell them what's going on with me, because I forget to write.
If my memory is not good enough to remember by itself to connect with people, then I need tools to help. I'll use a spreadsheet to keep track of when I talk to people and I'll add a daily reminder to my tasks to make intentional connections. I don't care if it feels silly to use these tools. It's more important that the tools help me do what matters: talk to people I love.