You see. I have two kinds of friends. Some who, like me, have moved and moved and moved - if not all over the country - then from city to city. These are the friends who keep in touch the best because we all know the importance of maintaining old friendships. Yes, we can make new friends in our new cities, but there is nothing like an old friend who loves you over the miles.
The others are friends who have lived in one city their whole lives. I'm the one who moved away so the onus is on me to maintain contact. Otherwise - out of sight-out of mind.
Within the stay-put friends, there is another category of those who have married and had children. This single girl in the city just isn't on their radar anymore. It hurts.
I've been thinking about all these weddings I have attended - and I can't recall the part of the vows that says "I vow to forget about all our single friends. Only you and I exist now."
I promise you I have never heard that part in a marriage ceremony, yet it seems to be true for all. Maybe only the married people can hear it!
A few months ago - one of those married with children friends insisted that I join F&ceb00k. It's such a great way to stay in touch she said.
It was... for a while. Now she hardly even updates her status. She never comments on mine. But most serious, she doesn't call or email me anymore - nor does she respond to my calls and emails.
The Internet creates an illusion that we are so very connected to all of our friends. But it's actually a disservice. It is just an illusion. Now that we have daily peeks into our friends worlds - we don't bother to make the phone call. Or plan for a visit.
It's been bothering me a lot lately - so I said just that on my F&ceb00k status today.
The first response back was from a former co-worker, now 700 miles away from me who lost his 6-month-old son last week. They woke up one morning and found him dead in his crib. The funeral was today.
He read what I had to say... and here is his response...
You are wrong. I am so grateful to have this network. I have reconnected with many friends I had completely lost contact with, and it has helped me through this tragic time in my life. I was holed up in my room...unable to talk or see anyone. Yet I could read my friends comments and feel loved and take comfort in it.I think both perspectives are true.
If not for the Internet, I would not even know how much this old friend is hurting and I would not have even known to send a card of condolence. But through this faceless technology, I have been able to offer tiny, meager words of support - and they mean more to him than I can possibly know.
A blessing and a curse; this technology. We should all use it wisely. Support our friends in simple ways but never forget that hearing their voice or lending a shoulder is worth more than every communication in your tw!tter account combined.
People are flesh and blood and feelings. 1100011000010000111100001010 's can never replace that.