A few weeks ago, Daniel Nester wrote about Ex-Friends, which got me thinking about my own friendships. I can’t think of a current ex-friend, someone who was once my friend but is now my enemy. I did have a good friend in college with whom I had a falling out about a decade later, but we reconnected a couple decades after that, and while we’re not in regular contact, there’s no animosity anymore.
This is not to say that I haven’t lost contact with friends. I was cleaning the attic this summer and came across a Rolodex, which, for you youngsters, is a device on which one hand-printed people’s names, addresses, and phone numbers. There was room for fax numbers too, but cellphones and e-mails weren’t around. I found names of people for whom I had great affection! How did we drift apart? There was no schism predicting this. Did I forget to return a call? Did they? My life or their lives went in other directions, perhaps with children or careers; some still live in the area, but we haven’t talked in years.
Some move away, of course, or I have. But I have two friends from kindergarten who, though they are in New York City and in Austin, Texas, are still among my best friends. Likewise a friend from the first day in college.
Sometimes you rediscover people you knew on Facebook and discover that they are almost exactly like they used to be, which is not exactly a compliment. Whereas others have progressed in their lives in a way consistent with the interests and values they were showing when I first met them; they are worth keeping in touch with.
As I have indicated before, I think it’s possible to have friends on the Internet that you have never met; you know who you are!