Some things are hard to communicate over the phone, or over bites of scrambled eggs during grabbed brunches – for example, how do you say to your friends who you haven't seen in months: "By the way guys, I like to show affection through gifts, so when I'm missing you, I'll send you a book on Amazon." (I mean, if you're this emotionally articulate, congrats, I definitely am not.)
This lack of natural conversation points mean that sometimes things can come to a head. I'm planning a wedding at the moment, and my friends have been asking how they can help with the planning. I'm an organised person, and said "nothing, just take a look at these bridesmaids dresses". I then went on to burn out over a combination of work stuff, wedding stuff and personal stuff – culminating in a series of tearful Whats App messages.
But what I realise now is what they were *actually* asking was "I want to be there for you, how can I do that for you?" If they had known that I register gifts (or a letter! or a postcard!) as a token of affection, I would have received some flowers in the post the next day, with a note saying to look after myself. Or if I had known what to listen for, I would have said "tbh I'm pretty overwhelmed, and I just need to vent a bit."