laborofwonder

Where Whine Meets Wine

Alone In A Land of (Facebook) Friends

on July 12, 2011

Do you have a best friend? Do you have a large group of good friends? Do you have people you can count on to celebrate life’s victories as much as mourn life’s pains? There are times when we can all get lost in the monotony of daily living. No matter what your social, martial, educational, or any other status may be, we all need someone. That’s the way we were made, heavily ingrained in our DNA. It’s often during those times when we can feel ourselves becoming lonely. As if we’re lost in the abyss with no one else to cling to. I have those moments. As I age, and probably more truthfully, as I’ve matured, over the years I have those times less and less- thankfully. But there are still times when I have a tendency toward the melancholy.  As we grow older, we also become more involved in our own lives, our own families, our own careers, and it can be easy to lost sight, or lose track of, friendships that once shaped who we were and at times, who’ve held us together.

I have a terrific group of friends. I have some that I’ve known for years and years. I have some that became family when life (or the military) threw us all far from those that share our blood. I have friends I can count on to go and have a good time with- to leave the cares and stress of life as a stay at home mom, well, at home. I have friends that I can call and pour my heart out to. These are people that I am most myself with. I am also unshakably thankful for these friends.

But what of the ones lost along the way? The ones you’ve lost touch with, the ones you’ve moved away from, the ones you’ve grown away from… are they forever lost in the abyss of “we used to be friends.” Because I am definitely a feeling personality-type, the loss of a friend -of someone my heart has loved- stings a little. No matter what the reason, whether a conscious decision, distance, or just time. And in this age of technology it’s so easy to have their lives flaunted in front of our faces, just out of the grasp of an actual relationship. We are all “friends” with everyone we’ve ever known without actually being their friend, or them being ours. It’s such a strange concept. And as I look through my list of Facebook friends (the majority of which are people I went to college with), the ones that strike me most are the ones who even if briefly, we thought we’d thought we’d always be friends, or at least could not picture a circumstance where we would not longer be friends. And that’s not to say that if we picked up the phone, or the laptop, and left them a message that we wouldn’t find that same friend on the other end… but how often do we actually do that? Especially if it’s been years since your last conversation. Reaching out (you know, something other than a generic “Happy Birthday!” or some other form of mundane agreeance with a status update) is a scary thing though, it leaves you with a kind of first-date jitters. Which is silly, really, because you were friends at one point, right? But still, it’s hard to fight the feeling of the unknown, you know, the will they like me? Will they think I’m funny? Will we have things to talk about? Will we still have things in common? Will they like my children? What if our parenting styles clash? Or the bigger questions- what if they just don’t like me? What if something happened, or something was said, that I don’t remember and they want to rehash it? What if it turns into a sob-fest of why they don’t want to be my friend?

Last Friday, I got together with an old friend who I’d basically only maintained a facebook-friendship with for the last 4 years, seeing each other only briefly and intermittently at best, in between. And to be honest, it did feel like a first date. Only one where you have known the person for a decade and a half but lost touch and decided to reconnect kind of first date. Ok, so maybe the technicalities of it weren’t like a first date, but it felt like one… Well, we were best friends throughout jr. high and high school, and even most of college. She was even one of my bridesmaids. Even though we lived far apart, went to separate schools, and really had very separate groups of friends. As we got older, we just drifted apart. I’m not sure if something happened, or if something was said (on either side) that instigated the drift, or if time and distance just did its part. Truly, I have no idea, but what I do know, is that she was in college (and then grad school) and dating her hubby-to-be; I was a military wife and expecting our first baby. We had very busy, time and life consuming things going on. It doesn’t mean that I didn’t want to be her friend, or that I specifically chose to not be her friend… it just kind of happened.

Flash forward almost 5 years. We’re now civilians, we have 3 children, and a house in constant motion (and remodel). She’s married, a teacher, an a mother to a sweet little girl. We’re not the 13 year old girls we were when we met, but thank the Lord for that! And where I’m leading with all this is just that, sometimes we have these ideas in our heads, these expectations, of who people are, and how they need to be… that they can’t always hold up their end of the deal we’ve made in our minds. And sometime’s we’re not mature enough, or open-minded enough to really see the big picture. To see that just as we grow and change, so do our friends. So you can either bend, and adjust to the new boundaries of the friendship, or you can break. So I could say, you know, it’s nice to see your pictures on facebook, but I don’t actually want to spend time with you in person, since we haven’t done it for soo long- why start now? (Which really just means, I’m terrified of being rejected by you.) Or I could say, we were such good friends, yes, time has passed…but maybe now we have even more in common (motherhood bonds even the most different of individuals), and can use the thorough knowledge of each other’s back-stories to help support each other as we embark on this new stage in our lives, and a new stage of our friendship.  So the next time you’re face-to-face with someone from long ago, or maybe the next time you’re making small talk with someone new, or maybe the next time you’re simply creepin’ on someone’s facebook page, following the steps of their life without actually being a part of it… just step up, take a deep breath, and believe in the fact that you are someone worth being friends with. And maybe that someone will be worth being friends with too. Besides, life is too short to be lonely. So don’t choose to be.

And really, with as big of “friend lists” as we all have, none of us should feel lonely.

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One response to “Alone In A Land of (Facebook) Friends

  1. mirjoyce says:

    1. TOTALLY agree with the first date feeling!! YES.
    2. SO glad we did it, despite any feelings of anxiousness.
    3. We have to do it again soon.
    4. And ohhh the fear of rejection. I can sooooo relate.
    5. Can’t wait to go shopping with you! =)

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