Even when stress is high, friends still matter

Carly Saham

The last time I talked to Melanie Scheinberg was on March 14, 2005. She called me the next day, but I never called her back. Little did I know, I would never talk to my best friend again — she committed suicide.

We’re all guilty of it — telling someone we’ll call them back, and then we never do. But did you ever think you might never talk to that person again?

This story of Melanie might seem depressing and extreme, and one might be wondering why I’m bringing up an event that happened more than a year ago. Well, it teaches a valuable lesson — the importance of returning a phone call.

It’s the end of the semester. There are tests, papers and other obligations — but what about friends? I’m not saying to talk an hour on the phone or even 10 minutes. But at least have the courtesy to return a call. A friend might not be calling to talk about useless information. They might be calling because they need you to lend them an ear. With so many of us swamped with work, we often forget about the people who mean the most to us. You might never know it but with the stress so many of us deal with, a friend could be a little down.

According to a 2004 National Collegiate Health Assessment, about 45 percent of college students were so depressed they found it hard to function.

This means there are more students out there depressed and not reaching out for professional help.

Instead, many of those people, if they are reaching out to anyone, it’s their friends.

We all have our own problems, and I’m not saying you should play psychologist, but a true friend should want to provide comfort to that person who is mentally hurting.

In case anyone’s wondering, according to Dictionary.com the true definition of a friend is one whom another trusts, knows and sympathizes with.

So if this means returning a phone call — go for it — your advice could help the person on the other line — if you’re their friend, they’re trusting you.

Being in a friendship can at times be stressful and even demanding, but with most of us having cell phones attached at our hips, making that call only takes two seconds.

If you answer the call from a friend and you’re busy, promise to call them back as soon as you get a chance.

And of course, don’t break the promise.

Unfortunately, I never made a promise to Melanie because I never called her back. But I’ve learned from this mistake, and I hope you do too.

Life is unpredictable — a person you care about could be here one day and gone the next. So the next time someone calls, don’t blow them off — they could need you more than you know.

Carly Saham is a senior broadcast news major and guest columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected].