In high school I had a friend that was like a sister to me. Two years older, we were inseparable. We lost contact and haven't seen one another for over 25 years. Then on Facebook recently, I received a request from her to connect. I had thought of her occasionally and wondered what she had been up to. Excited by the potential of reconnecting and chatting about old times, I immediately accepted her Friend request and sent her a note with my contact information. She quickly responded and it seems we were on our way to a past due reunion.
Since we have connected on Facebook we have been corresponding on this site. It appears that my old friend is in need of help that I can not provide. Why now after all of these years did she reach out to me? And what does she want? Is she in real trouble and contacting her old friends for help? Or is she remembering a time in her life when there was a hopeful future and countless opportunities? Time has a way of limiting these opportunities with every decade that passes us by.
So it got me thinking that when should we help out an old friend from the past with whom we have lost contact with? Is this something we should do or take a pass on? I guess it depends on how close we were to them and how busy we are. But, the friend we knew then is not the same person that they are now. We only know them as they were, not as they are today. If we don't know much about their life during these many years that have passed and the choices they made, should make ourselves available to them?
My instinct with this old friend of mine is that she is really is not the same person I remembered. Her life choices have changed her, as it does all of us. I sense that we no longer have anything in common. The days of us talking about our high school crushes and going to bars together to pick up men have long passed. She says she is jobless, but wants no help. Yet, why then reach out to me after decades?
There are some troubling signs that I should have paid attention to. She has no photos of herself on Facebook and either does her daughter have photos of her. Facebook was created on posting photos, so where are the pictures of her? It seems that she doesn’t want to be seen. She has called and left messages and rambling emails defending her position in life, of which since I haven't seen her in 25 years have no idea what she is talking about.
We have exchanged voice mails, yet I suspect we will never talk. My feeling is that my old friend has been "on the run" for some time, living largely by herself and making friends along the way in her journey. Has she has reached a dead end? I don’t know. Is she happy? I am not sure. The reality is that this person is someone I no longer know and it is best to keep her in my memory rather than connect.
A lesson to be learned is to be cautious when an old friend finds you on Facebook. Take a moment before you respond and do a little research. Do some soul searching and question why they are contacting you. Find out more about them before you accept them into your network and life.