Facebook | The Enticement of Finding Old Friends
© Copyright 2011 Tracy Lynn Conway with all rights reserved.
As an adult, the picture perfect memories of my childhood friends and experiences had mostly faded; my current life keeps me busy. As I grew up, keeping in touch with friends from camps and grade school was not easy and most people lose touch with these friends. It is fun to reminisce about those days and special friends we hold so dear to our hearts. Now as an adult with a family of my own, I would sometimes wonder what happened to many of these dear friends of mine, how are their lives going, do they remember or think of me? Finding them held the possibility of rekindling these friendships that had slipped through my fingers like sand, never to be found again.
Then Facebook entered the stage, as did the expanding internet search possibilities. I joined Facebook in 2008 at the encouragement of my brother, but really had no idea of what I was getting into. I suddenly found some of these cherished friends “friending” me, and when this happened the details of many of those childhood memories flooded my mind. One friend posted photos and reminded me of how we got in trouble on a teen camp trip to Montreal and had to stay in our hotel room one night. I had forgotten this. Memories of the boy that asked me to be his girlfriend in elementary school and a few days, after I said “no” threatened to beat me up in a note saying “meet me at the mailbox at 3:00.” He is now my Facebook friend as well.
I thought wow, now I don’t have to wonder anymore about the lives of my long lost dear friends. On some level I dreamed of rekindling some of these cherished friendships that ended due to life changes. As time went on I found that the idea of rekindling anything was highly unlikely and might be better off left as a fond childhood memory than an adult reality. This is the same bittersweet experience that has been related to me by numerous friends. In a discussion on the topic, a eloquent friend of mine once said "to me those memories are like still lifes, or something incased in amber." Maybe they are better left untouched. The allure of rekindling these old friendships can end up being less than fulfilling.
The reconnection goes something like this: there is a thrill to finding that cherished childhood friend, a few messages are exchanged catching up on each others lives and then there is a dead internet silence, since once both parties are filled in and now as adults there most likely isn’t anything more to say; there seems to be little commonality.
Perhaps our lives are complete without this person. So they stay in the periphery of your life on Facebook, maybe “liking” your vacation photos to Disney World. Are the golden memories of childhood better left in the past?
I find myself revisiting this question of whether to click the “add a friend” box to newly found old friends that pop up on Facebook from time to time. Will doing this erode the memories that I held of them? However, being the friendly optimist that I am, I hate to miss the opportunity to say hello even if I pay the price down the line.
In My Life by The Beatles
In childhood, we press our nose to the pane, looking out. In memories of childhood, we press our nose to the pane, looking in. ~Robert Brault
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