I’ve always been a sucker for staying connected and reconnecting with friends from my past. Maybe there is some deep psychological rationale indicating that I have abandonment issues as my father left the family home when I was younger – never to be seen again?? Possibly so but for me I reckon I just like the fact that we have a shared history and, in the main, soft fuzzy memories of happy times. – love, laughter and no responsibilities!
I think that whole vibe of finding people again started with Friends Reconnected didn’t it? (Look it up if you are too you to know what I am talking about!) I’m pretty sure that website predated Facebook. It seems pretty archaic in hindsight..no pictures, just a perfunctory paragraph on your school and work history and then fingers crossed that other people you knew added theirs. They you signed in and messaged them a couple of times ‘til you got bored!
With the launch of Facebook and Linkedin it was all change…seeing people’s lives, family, travels and work in technicolour is so much more enticing. Everyone having a good time feeds the temptation to be a part of his or her lives too!
So last week I felt the full force of the upside and the downside of keeping the friendship flames alive.
I met up and had dinner with a friend I was at junior school with .. We have known each since we were maybe 6 or 7..(FYI that was a LONG time ago!). I see him maybe once a year but it is always a joy. I have no idea why but the connection between us will never and could never be broken. I may not see him for ages (in fact I when I lived in Australia I think I saw him once in 5 years) but it doesn’t matter nothing will change between us. We talk, laugh, reminisce and tell each other everything. He knows more about me than any other of my friends. I tell him the truth because I trust him and for me he has always been a part of my past present and future. The years together have built a bond based on a shared history, respect and just loving each other’s company.
I have to add here that I have no idea why I am friends with him. I actually went out with him when I was about 16. I was at the girls grammar school doing my O levels. He was at the boys grammar school doing his A levels. I was in seventh heaven as I’m sure you can imagine how cool it was for me to go out with a boy 2 years older then me. Plus he had a motorbike and we used to go to local pubs, beach parties etc on the back of his bike. I was soooo cool!!
He then got a car. (yes he could drive too!) A Hillman Imp (again look it up if you are too young). One fateful night he took me to a house party. V exciting too! Whilst AT the party he dumped me.. Funnily enough I was really upset and wanted to go home. We got in his car and set off (about 11pm and very dark by then) As we made our way to my house we started arguing – understandably so.. I was so furious I told him to let me out of the car. He actually did let me out and proceeded to drive off!!I was abandoned. – with no real idea of where I was, no phone, no money and had to find my way home alone. Switch to real time and if any guy did that to my own teenage daughter he would be a dead man walking once I caught up with him but back then it didn’t seem so bad. No idea why!
But somehow through my distress at being chucked and the fact he then went out with one of my best friends for 7 years we stayed connected and I’m so glad we did!
My downside this week was meeting up with and old girlfriend from school. She connected with me on Facebook and my interest was well and truly piqued because she was one of the glamour girls at school Her family were super rich and she was such a rebel she folded over the waistband of her school skirt so it was a mini. So totally too cool for skool.
She seemed so keen to meet up she drove up from Dorset to Brighton to see me – I was flattered! She told me her life story since 18. Various kids by various dads, child abduction by one dad, a multitude of court cases and legal woes ensued and a result of partial resolution have taken their toll.
But she is happy and settled now. All good to that point. She chatted I listened.
But then as I told her I had to leave to go back to work she became agitated and the hard sell began. She wanted ‘6 minutes of my time to show me how my life could change and how I could be making more money that I could imagine’. Scary woman alert! I gave her the benefit of the doubt and 6 minutes of my time. It appeared to be essentially a pyramid scheme combined with a cult (Lots of group seminars and online affirmations). Honestly I thought the Scientologists have come to get me! I’m not ashamed to say I hit the ground running and got outa there pronto! What started as something light and frivolous turned to the dark side. I haven’t responded to her frequent emails yet… Reconnecting with old friends is not always that good!
Love to hear your stories too!