One of my mother's favorite refrains when I was growing up was "Make new friends but keep the old; one is silver, but the other is gold." While I generally prefer silver to gold (and silver vs. gold insignia denotes the higher rank, haha) I definitely agree with the premise of what my mother was trying to say.
The problem is that I'm not sure how to put it into action. I'm fairly decent at making new friends, I think. I'm not like other people I've observed, who seem to make best friends with the first person they meet at a new base, and remain BFF's for the rest of their lives. Nonetheless, I do find it easy to be friendly with people, and from there, to develop real friendships as I get to know them better.
Unfortunately, I am horrible at long distance communication. This is ironic, since Einstein and I maintained a long distance relationship for 4 years, and still have what I would affectionately refer to as a "commuter" marriage. Although I've never struggled with calling/emailing him, I am horrible at it with the rest of the world.
My most frequent email correspondent is my mother-in-law, mostly because I would feel pretty guilty if I ignored her emails, and also because our communication styles mesh: short, to the point, with a little humor thrown in for good measure.
I am horrible at long, chatty emails, and I am even worse at the telephone. I loathe the phone. I prefer email and texting. I often let my phone go to voicemail and rarely return voicemails once I listen to them (which can take an embarrassingly long time). I star blogs in my reader to comment on them, and then never do it. I star emails for later reply, archive them, and forget all about them. I intend to send cards and letters and never do.I remind myself of birthdays and forget to call/text/facebook whatever.
While some friends are fine with this, others clearly hate me for not communicating more efficiently. Also, as more of my friends become long distance friends, it gets harder and harder to keep up. I wonder if my expectation are too high, or if I am just a crappy friend? I don't know. I do try, especially for people I know value certain types of communication, but there are some friends that I have grown apart from and I'm not sure if that is inevitable or if it is my fault.
I guess I just have to do the best I can, and try to find some way to balance the silver and the gold.