Facebook and other social media are great for rekindling old, prized friendships; deepening contact with near or far relatives; and planning activities to do with current buddies. It can be a positive player in staying social when life is busy. Keeping in touch in spite of differences. Ensuring friends are somehow part of the day to day tick-tock.
But it does create the potential for noticing something else in the comments, the replies, and the photos swirling about. That is, social media can point out people who are no longer your friends. Little memories that warm the heart. Smiles you miss. Unique discussions once enjoyed. Trouble you partnered with in the past. Something a person offered that you now lack.
What makes a friendship stick? Why do some people remain in contact day after day after day while others let go? Why are some relationships unbreakable over many years, trials, and life changes?
Living in a small town with many people that I went to school with, I frequently witness long term relationships. And I think it is wonderful. I love it when I see a wedding party photo with people who have hung out for more than a decade, or two. I find it touching to see couples who used to be high school sweet hearts and are still holding each other's hearts. I love seeing adults who ran around and made a mess together as children. (As a result I love to take a picture of my daughter with her playmates. Who knows which ones will be dear to her later. Look at this, sweetie! That friend you just brought home for lunch? I have a picture of you two eating dirt as toddlers!)
Looking at my school years, I only actively spend time with one high school friend (though she lives far away) and very lightly keep in touch with a few others. I have a spattering of friends I have kept from right after school until over 15 years later (I am getting old). But, for whatever reason, the majority of my childhood friendships have diffused. My life has changed. I never used to enjoy the outdoors. I didn't go to church growing up. I now have a child. I am certain the biggest factor was my self consciousness that made it difficult to connect. Why would anyone choose to stay my friend when my selfishness never gave them a desire to connect in the first place?
Sometimes when the people in my life are busy and I want to do something I wonder how many others are in the same boat. Is there someone wishing I would call them? Is there someone who enjoyed my company but never let me know? Does someone miss me? I sound like a school girl!
Maybe you can't relate. Maybe I'm the only one who makes plans to have a no show or who has something get in the way. Just today I wanted to go visit a friend I haven't seen for years while she camped here from another province. As I tried to get my daughter ready it took much longer than anticipated which was zapping my desire to go. I couldn't find her hat. I still didn't find my hat. As we finally left I was suddenly aware I was still in my jogging clothes with no make-up and my daughter was already tired. When we finally got there later than intended we had just missed them coming in for supplies.
I treasure unique people and want my daughter to see me push through relationships when I am tired or busy or feel the house is too messy. Or when I feel pushed aside or forgotten about. Friendships are very difficult, but very, very worthwhile. I am grateful for people to call up when I need help or someone to talk to. Face to face. Not Facebook. Not just online or through texting. Making the time to drop everything and get together. Real, move-past-the-difficulties-of-understanding-body-language connecting.
I love my daughter but need adult fellowship, too. I've never felt confident in the area of talking with others. Spending my day with a toddler seems to make that worse. I'll get an opportunity and feel like I am a burden or that I am turning to topics about her too much (my selfishness again?). Sometimes I feel out of practice in the area of mature conversation. The wheels on the bus go 'round and 'round.