When I first started this blog it was mainly to learn about how WordPress worked and how blogs worked. My intent was to ramble on about things that I wanted to vent about. Like idiot drivers, horrible customer service, the stunningly inaccurate weather forecasts in Kansas City, how bad our local sports teams are and why, etc… I had planned to drop a few of the e-mails we all get and secretly love reading in here just for some content. Turns out that’s about all I’ve really done so far. When I’m driving, or lying awake and a rant pops into my head it sounds good and very blog worthy but by the time I get around to actually putting it down in “print” it either doesn’t sound so good or more commonly I’m just not that fired up about it anymore. But today, something a bit different. A reflection about old friends and why we lose touch and why it’s so nice when we hear from them. Deep Thoughts with Jack Handy it’s not but perhaps if anybody ever reads this they won’t at least be left thinking they’ve just wasted 6 minutes of their life that they can never get back.
During the year (it’s 2008 by the way, since things on the Internet never seem to die) I’ve gotten in touch with 3 old friends. I believe all 3 reached out to me first, which maybe says something about me (though I’m not sure what), of course I could be remembering wrong since it really doesn’t matter. One was my girlfriend of nearly 4 years starting senior year in high school and into college. I had been back in touch with her once before about 10 years ago, but only briefly and that had been after about 6 years since we graduated college. Another was my childhood best friend. Somewhat ironically aforementioned girlfriend may have been the beginning of the end of that friendship that didn’t quite survive all the way through high school. He too I had been back in touch with previously, very briefly a rather long time ago and again we had lost touch. Now we’ve been out for drinks a few times and saw a movie that was replayed at theaters one night only for it’s 25th Anniversary – we both recall seeing it together 25 years earlier. Stop crying, I know it’s touching…. Lastly, I got an e-mail from an old friend from college, again connected to said old girlfriend – she was her college roommate for at least 2 years , maybe 3….??? Anyway, her and I became good friends for a few years as well. And keeping with the theme were back in touch very briefly many years ago but again lost touch for a long time.
So it’s interesting. All 3 I had been back in touch with several years later, but several years ago and obviously we didn’t stay in touch then and yet we get back in touch now, again. Will it stick this time? Maybe. Maybe we’re all more secure and stable in our lives where jealousy, or old feelings (good or bad) are no longer a factor. Certainly it’s easier now with e-mail (which did exist last time we said hi, we aren’t that old) and new social websites (Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.. which didn’t exist last time around) but it still takes time to stay in touch. So will it stick this time? In at least one case I can already say no. My ex-girlfriend and I said hi, exchanged a few e-mails and caught up with our lives. As much as you can cover 10 years in a few e-mails. It was very nice, good to know that someone who meant so much to you, even so long ago is doing well and is mostly happy. But that’s been it.
It probably makes a really big difference on who they were in your past whether or not you stay in touch or just stop with the quick catch up. When it comes to my childhood friend I think we’re discovering we do have some things in common besides just very fond memories of our childhood and its possible we’ll stay in touch and even see each other once in a while. And that’s likely the most important thing – something in common now. That’s why we’re friends with people now isn’t it? Common interests. Someone to talk sports with, share political points of view (even if you don’t agree), etc…. That’s a more sound basis for a friendship then anything that happened 25 years ago, even if it was somebody you spent more time with than anybody else during your childhood.
Last but not least, my most recent lost friend who got back in touch by her own admission 18 months after she came across e-mail addresses for some old friends from college. We were good friends in college, spent a lot of time together. Not always by choice I guess and I don’t mean to speak for her but I think we “got” each other. Similar sense of humor and the benefit of no sexual tension – I don’t think either of us were trying to sleep with each other. Again, can’t speak for her but think I’m real safe here 😉
It was great to hear from her and who knows if we’ll do more than forward stupid (but often very funny) e-mails now and again. Only time will tell but if nothing else it was nice to hear from an old friend who seems to be doing well and is pretty happy. That’s all you can ask for. Happiness.
So why do we lose touch in the first place?
I think the real reason is that we live boring lives. What are we going to keep up with…hey I mowed the grass today and you should have seen what the cat threw up yesterday!
It really goes back to who they were in your past and how/why the relationship ended. For an ex-girlfriend it probably ended bad. To quote the movie Cocktail “everything ends badly; otherwise it wouldn’t end”. And if one person thinks it didn’t you can be pretty sure the other person does. For a childhood friend, people change. Especially when after their girlfriend breaks up with them a few months later is dating you. People find themselves and learn a lot about themselves in high school and college and sometimes what they find is that what you want to be or have become may not be the same thing as your buddy from 6th grade. I suppose we’re always finding ourselves and always changing but in 6th grade it means something different than it does as a senior in high school or freshman in college or as a 30-something guy married with kids.
I think for me, it’s that most people suck so when you find ones that don’t, or at least didn’t you should keep in touch.
Maybe it’s just nice to know that someone remembers you.