The Lost Art of Coffee "Clutching"

March, 2021

I’m not sure about anybody else, but I have noticed that I have not kept communication going with some of the people that I spoke to regularly prior to March of 2020. Part of this is due to me being a visual person. I enjoy seeing the person I’m having a conversation with. I’m not a big fan of sitting on the phone to communicate.

From what I hear in conversations with clients, many people have dropped the ball on communicating regularly with friends and acquaintances. We each have our reasons (or excuses), but are they really good reasons to not keep in touch with people we care about?

For the past couple of weeks I have been thinking about many of those relationships that I let fall to the wayside. Yep, feeling a little sad that we have allowed this to happen. There is no blame placed on anyone, but I’m feeling it’s time to reconnect in whatever way I can. So I have decided to make an effort to reach out to those that I have not spoken to in close to a year.

This past Sunday morning I made phone calls….I KNOW!!!! Phone calls! NOT TEXTS! It was so nice to actually talk to friends. The conversations seemed to go the same way…”nothing’s been going on so I haven’t called” or “there’s nothing exciting to talk about” or “I don’t do anything to talk about.”

I began thinking in the middle of these conversations about how we have changed over the past generations. I remember my mom calling a neighbor, a friend or a relative and sitting on the phone for a good hour or longer just chatting. Sometimes a neighbor would Coffee Clutch with mom in our kitchen while they smoked one cigarette after another and just talk and laugh. Being the only girl with 3 brothers, I loved hanging out with them in that small kitchen with smoke lingering toward the open screen in the storm door. I loved that I felt I was part of a conversation, even though they didn’t ask my opinion on anything or include me in the “adult” talk. That’s how they created and continued their friendships. They truly cared what was happening in each others life. They knew everything about their friend’s immediate and extended family members. It was one story after another and they loved it!

Where did those days go? It’s not just COVID, it’s just the way things have been evolving. The tech world is a big part of that, but why do we feel that what we do in our life is of no interest to other people? Who are we to determine what other people may or may not be interested in?

One of the conversations I had with a girlfriend was interesting and really sparked my thinking. She had quite a bit that has happened in the past several months that I loved hearing about. Yet, she told me that nothing was going on in her life and that’s why she hadn’t called in a year….there’s nothing to talk about.

Again, no blame being placed. I hadn’t called in a year. I feel that nobody really wants to hear what’s going on in my life either. It’s exciting to me, but probably not to most people so why bore them?

How many of us feel that way? How great would it be if we could just call our friends and have general flatulence of the mouth? How about irrelevant conversation? We could laugh or cry and just share our stories about our life and not make judgment whether they will find it interesting or not.

I’m grateful that I experienced those days of hearing mom on the phone with her sister or Coffee Clutching with Carol, Connie or Edna in the kitchen. Coffee Clutching is a lost art and maybe we should bring it back (minus the cigarettes) for the health of our relationships……to strengthen our communication skills and to maintain human connection.