How Facebook Made Me Cry

September 4, 2008


Yes. I got on Facebook. Okay, actually this is the second time I’ve had a profile. The first time I was on for all of 8 hours. I might have had some sort of panic attack and deactivated it. I can’t remember.

But, yes, I am back on it. I got guilted into it by a few friends who were touting how fun! and exciting! It was to reconnect with people. And now I get tackled with nostalgia every time I open my inbox.

And it is fun. It is. It’s amazing to see who is doing what with whom and where. It’s fun to see who has grown up, who has come out, who has led, who has followed, and who has jobs that are truly enviable.

But for all the laughs that come with the remember whens, there are things that break my heart. The girl with devastating breast cancer. The guy who died last year. The friend who is now a widow at the age of 37.

And it doesn’t matter that it’s been 15 or 20 years. In that instant my head and heart feel like we’re back on campus and I hurt for my old friend like not a day has passed, when, clearly, so many have.

I’ve been thinking that this notion of time is interesting. It is impossible to catch someone up on the past 15 or 20 years of your life. All that remain are the residual feelings – and that’s where you pick up. Except in the most extreme instances, who can remember why someone lost touch or why you might have stopped talking?

In catching up with some old friends it has become very clear that my memory has big holes. But my heart remembers almost all of it. I couldn’t tell you the address of my sorority house, the details of a party, why we broke up or even whether I made a trip to visit someone. I have photographs in my mind, little tiny treasures of moments that flash when I think of someone, but the whole story isn’t there any longer. At least not the narrative.

But I can tell you how I felt about that person. I can almost in some cases physically remember and feel the bond of friendship or respect or love that was there. And more often than not it is both astounding and reassuring.

So maybe that’s how we pick up where we left off. Old friends tempered by time and circumstance. A little awkward, but always warm. And sometimes through tears.

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4 Responses to “How Facebook Made Me Cry”

  1. bill Farrell Says:

    About 5 years ago I reconnected with a friend with whom I had lost contact over 25 years ago. It wasn’t as easy as doing a Google search, but Google got me close and it took a couple of hops to get my note to the right person. I sent an email that said something like this:
    “You don’t know me or the person I’m trying to contact, but would you pass this message to Ms. X so she can pass it to Ms. Y? Thanks!”
    And it worked. We exchanged a few emails then made that fateful phone call and it was as if the intervening 25 years melted away. We had a nice conversation, had new stories and adventures to tell and I think the experience reminded us why we were friends in the first place.
    Email is an easy way to keep up on the day-to-day stuff and we still talk to have those conversations that take too long to write out.

  2. mp Says:

    I haven’t made the Facebook jump yet. I think it would be a huge time suck..and I’m afraid to get connected w/ people I dont want to be..and I don’t want those people to know about my blog. Hmm. I would love to connect w/ old college friends, I wonder though if they aren’t on if they would be on facebook. I should just check it out..ugg..

  3. Lisa Says:

    Wowza, problem solved like it never haneeppd.

  4. Says:

    This was a great read – I’m 22 and I’ve been having trouble because I keep feeling like what I’m doing isn’t… “right.” (I moved to Australia for a man I love and because my visa is being processed, I can’t work so I stay home most days and read and read and read… and blog). But I’ve been going non-stop since birth and this has been a great opportunity to just be. This post made me feel better about my decision.