Sometimes I get really sad when I scroll through my Facebook feed and see friends who were once my best friends but who my only connection with these days is the occasional like or comment on a social media post. They are living their lives, they look happy. Some have kids and families, some are traveling the world. While some I worry aren’t doing as well, it’s still nice to see what they’re up to. I watch them so fondly from a distance, with this loving heart that is so grateful that I know them. Or that I knew them. I cherish the memories.
But then sometimes my heart and mind get the best of me… they work together to start wondering if the way I still love them, despite our lack of an active relationship, is reciprocated. We didn’t have a falling out, nobody did something wrong — life just happened. I’m okay with that, I’ve accepted that, but I love them. I care about them still. I want them to be happy, and it would make my day to run into them again and catch up over a beer.
Sometimes I even have a tinge of envy when I see the friendships that have maintained, while ours wasn’t able to or just didn’t need to. Is that just me? It can’t be. I can’t be alone on this. If there’s one thing I’ve learned it’s that were rarely the only who has the thoughts, feelings, and emotions that we think are unique to us (and I mean this in a good, connected, we’re all in this together kind of way).
I wonder if they care. Why? That part isn’t super clear to me yet. Why do I care? That stage in our lives, that moment in time — whether it be working together at the same bar in college or growing up together filled with late nights and slumber parties in middle school — is something that made me who I am today. It’s special. I still want them to love me as much as I love them. I want them to be proud of who I am and look back on our memories with a sense of nostalgia and softness, the kind I feel when I look at old pictures of us (that are actually printed) or recall our inside jokes.
This sadness passes quickly, but it’s there. The desire I have to maintain an unspoken connection to the people of my past. The people who knew me then, who accepted me, challenged me, helped make me who I am today.
I think this is part of the reason I really love social media so much. Despite what people say, it does have a way of connecting us — across time and distance — in a way that nothing else can in this kind of way. Before the internet or social media, we just lost touch. Wondered what happened. Then one day we get news through a mutual connection that someone is married, or died, or backpacking across Thailand. But with social media we get to stay connected in a way that allows us to remember what was, accept what is now, yet still send intentional love and support with words and likes. This is my experience at least.