One thing I hate doing is making empty promises. I usually do this to myself, like when I tell myself I’m going to dedicate an entire weekend to cleaning and organizing or that I’m going to start reading a book a week. I love reading but I’ve been so busy with work and other things lately it’s hard for me to even get through a chapter much less an entire text.
Anywho, whenever I run into old friends or people I haven’t seen in a few years, after we briefly catch up and look each other over to see how much we’ve changed, inevitably we exchange phone numbers and promise to keep in touch or even get together for a drink. But typically that never happens. And I wonder, why is that? Is the promise to meet up simply out of politeness or is it that we don’t think this person fits into the new era of our lives and we aren’t going to even be bothered to try and see if the relationship can be rekindled?
I know I’ve been talking about Facebook lately but I do think it’s played a large part in how we view our past and the people in it. Pre-Facebook it was not unheard of to not hear from or see high school or college classmates until a reunion or you randomly run into them at Target. Now we can not only find people from kindergarten but we can keep up with the minutiae of their life. Being able to like statuses and comment on pictures provides an illusion that we have a closer connection with these people of our past than we really do. And it’s never more evident than when you’re actually face to face, struggling to come up with a graceful way to end the conversation.
Sure I’m fairly busy, but if this person was my friend then why can’t I squeeze in a few hours on a Saturday afternoon and meet at Starbucks? I think some of it’s us, that we’ve grown and changed and simply can’t relate to each other anymore than recounting memories. As enjoyable as high school or college may have been, the fact is is that it was years ago. New people and events have entered and shaped our lives and we’re all a little different now.
And then of course, this thought always crosses my mind, as callous as it may seem. If I haven’t talked to you in, let’s say five years, and my life is going great, were you really that important to me? What difference does it make now if we’ve run into each other? Falling out of touch with people makes you realize who really holds a place in your life.
How do you feel when you run into old friends or classmates? Do you ever stay in touch or get together?