Friends From The Past

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AaronTheSnob
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Friends From The Past

Postby AaronTheSnob » Wed Mar 18, 2009 8:49 am

For the third time over the past 10 or 15 years, I have inadvertently run across someone who, in my younger years, I considered a very good friend. You know...that person you shared so many laughs and experiences with, whom you felt you had to talk to or see at least every day, whose presence made every experience more enjoyable and meaningful? A person you didn't think you'd ever want to NOT have as a friend...

And for the third time, I realized that time, distance and change can totally overwhelm and obliterate whatever it was you thought you had in common years ago. It's not so much that we didn't "like" each other anymore, but more that we had moved in totally different directions, that whatever was there 30 years ago was no longer nearly as evident and left me (and probably them) wondering why we were ever drawn to each other in the first place.

I have heard of this type of thing happening to people who have Facebook or My Space pages (neither of which I have). I have read that many people are either disappointed and/or strangely ambivalent when someone from their past suddenly pops up from out of nowhere and attempts to revive that long-ago friendship.

Curious, isn't it?

Ned Flounders
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Re: Friends From The Past

Postby Ned Flounders » Wed Mar 18, 2009 10:57 am

A couple of years back I discovered that one of my two or three closest friends from high school (i.e., long, long ago) was working very high up in the Bush white house.

As you can imagine, we don't exactly see eye to eye anymore (this is Flounders writing this, not Flanders).

:?

mrak
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Re: Friends From The Past

Postby mrak » Wed Mar 18, 2009 11:15 am

Most people have a handful of friends they find themselves maintaining contact with, inviting to important events like weddings and stuff, and when you get together, finding out how little you have in common anymore.

Just as IT departments sometimes have to maintain legacy systems, we sometimes have to maintain legacy friendships.

Marvell
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Fiends From The Past

Postby Marvell » Wed Mar 18, 2009 12:45 pm

I have a slightly different take on this phenomenon:

When I was a sophomore in high school my family moved from rural Vermont to a small city in Ohio. Culturally, the shift was huge; in Vermont I enjoyed a large circle of friends who were educated, creative and iconoclastic, and who were culturally and politically engaged. In Ohio I found myself amidst a culture that was defiantly anti-intellectual and slavishly conformist, and who viewed with suspicion anything that didn't reflect the values and aesthetics of the local shopping mall.

As a result my experience of the rest of high school was one of extreme social isolation and a grim, daily battle to maintain my self of identity in the face of a peer group who relentlessly degraded and discounted the things I valued. My nickname at school was either 'Freak' or 'Geek'; I was voted 'Least Likely to Succeed' by my graduating class.

After graduation I got the fuck out of Ohio and never looked back. I lost track of everyone I knew from my Buckeye high school, and considered it good riddance to bad rubbish.

Fast forward to this year, when I create my Facebook account. All of a sudden I start getting friend requests from folks from my graduating class - and what's particularly weird about it is, from the tone of their contacts with me, they remember me from high school with notable fondness and esteem.

It's as if the whole nature of my high school experience as perceived by me never happened. I guess that, to them, it was all just 'good-natured fun' (or whatev).

Well, it's a quarter-century later; when I get these requests I allow them - I'm not generally inclined to carry grudges. The fact that I have what I feel is a great life helps me to be so magnanimous. But it does speak to the inherently subjective nature of human experience, and how even objectively cruel group behavior can be justified/glossed-over by individual members of the herd.

AaronTheSnob
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Re: Friends From The Past

Postby AaronTheSnob » Wed Mar 18, 2009 1:46 pm

Marvell, I have to say that was quite possibly the best post I have ever read on this forum. If you don't already, you should write professionally for a living.

mrak
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Re: Friends From The Past

Postby mrak » Wed Mar 18, 2009 2:07 pm

AaronTheSnob wrote:Marvell, I have to say that was quite possibly the best post I have ever read on this forum. If you don't already, you should write professionally for a living.

Marvell is on my short list of Forons whom I can nearly always count on for a thoughtful, insightful contribution to this forum.

supaunknown
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Re: Friends From The Past

Postby supaunknown » Wed Mar 18, 2009 2:59 pm

My high school experience was the pits too, though unlike Marvell, I wasn't a smartie transferred to Rubeville. I was just a mostly dumb, sensitive, fucked-up, socially and physically awkward kid with low self esteem. A lot of the probs I had were my own doing, but I also remember some genuine assholes that made it so much worse. I've befriended a few folks from back then (via Facebook) that were A-OK in my book. The rest can forever suck my fat one. Yup, I'm small enough to hold a grudge. Whatever. Get me tipsy sometime and I'll tell you the relative success stories of some known locals and what high school traumas they inflicted on me or others that I believe qualifies them as complete pricks. Yuck.

The thing about Facebook I find a bit weirder is the availability to former lovers. Ya know, people I shared a lot with but after the fugly breakups never thought I'd be talking to again.

lonesomejohnny
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Re: Friends From The Past

Postby lonesomejohnny » Thu Mar 19, 2009 12:23 am

Walter, you are just an echo of a world I knew so long ago
Walter, If you saw me now you wouldn't even know my name.
I bet you're fat and married and you're always home in bed by half-past eight.
And if I talked about the old times you'd get bored and you'll have nothing more to say.
Yes people often change, but memories of people can remain.

jjoyce
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Re: Friends From The Past

Postby jjoyce » Thu Mar 19, 2009 7:01 am

The whole Facebook phenomenon kicked in for me around my 20-year reunion over the summer. Most of my friends from then don't live near here, so the sharing of kid pics and other ephemera on that site works pretty well. But I've given the virtual heave-ho to plenty of acquaintances I've found to be just as annoying on Facebook now as they were 20 years ago.

juanton
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Re: Friends From The Past

Postby juanton » Thu Mar 19, 2009 8:10 am

I'm about to give some of the high school Facebook friends the heave-ho as well. There are some extremo conservative/religious/nascar lovin' cucko heads who won't shut up about Obama screwing up this, left wing media that, socialist this that this that, Kenny Chesney this, and Jesus, my savior, that.

I am so glad that I left Beloit after graduating high school.


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