In 2007, people kept saying to me "Why aren't you on Facebook?" and I kept saying "I don't get it. I'm already in touch with everyone I want to be in touch with. What's the point? ... I have email. ... and oh, I'm on LinkedIn!" to which those same people would shake their heads and say "It's not the same."
In 2008, I joined the Facebooks after being nagged for months. I also learned I was moving to Chicago and thought it might be a good way to keep in touch with everyone, after all.
That's when this interesting phenomenon happened - it looked like this in my thought bubble -
"Oh! Oh! Oh! I forgot about her. She was so nice! Aw, her kids are so cute."
"Oh! Oh! Oh! I forgot about him. He was so funny! Aw, his wife is so pretty."
I love Facebook. It makes me feel close to not only my truly close friends but also all of the layers of friends beyond that. You can't be intimately close to hundreds of people - it's not practical or possible. But, thanks to Facebook, even though I might not have the cell phone number of someone I sat next to in US History during my junior year of high school, it still warms my heart to see pictures of her kids on the first day of school. "Aw, Emma has gotten so big! It seems like just yesterday I was liking her baby pictures." Even though I've never actually met Emma in the flesh, that's OK ... this, my friends and 'friends,' is the age of Facebook.
So, why go to your high school reunion when you have Facebook?
You might be thinking "I don't get it. I'm already in touch with everyone I want to be in touch with. What's the point? I mean, I'm on Facebook. Isn't that good enough?"
But, my friends and 'friends,' reading status updates and seeing photos of the reunion instead of actually going is *shakes head* ... it's just not the same.
Why? How? Well, you can't do any of the following on Facebook:
1/ Hear people.
Your friend that you sat next to in US History had the funniest laugh. She used to snort. She once had chocolate milk shoot out of her nose.
Can you hear her laugh over Facebook? Is she going to post a picture of chocolate milk - or now, more likely, wine - coming out of her nose on Facebook? NO! The answer is no. You need to go to the reunion and relive memories of your US History teacher wearing Vaseline on her eyelids to hear that laugh again. And it will warm your heart. It will.
2/ Smell people.
The guy who sat on the other side of you in US History smelled bad. Sure, now, in his Facebook pictures he looks all cleaned up, stringy hair snipped, a tux on his wedding day. But, come on, they don't call it Fakebook for nothing. There's only one way to tell if he's finally cleaned up his act. Can he carry on a conversation now? Yes, I bet he actually can. I bet he has a lot of interesting things to say now. I bet you would enjoy talking to him and be glad you caught up and learned something new and who would have ever thought he was so funny. He never spoke in high school. A decade or two can really bring a person out of their shell. But, you won't get a whiff of him now - he discovered showers and cologne in college - or, even better, get to talk to him if you don't actually go to your reunion.
3/ Hug people.
You weren't popular. The mere thought of seeing anyone who made you feel like crap in high school makes you feel ... well, like crap again. You'd rather just avoid it. That's understandable but consider this - the people who made you feel like crap have matured - believe it or not, they've had their hearts broken, jobs lost, maybe loved ones lost. It hasn't always been perfect for them since high school because it hasn't been perfect for anyone. Everyone has a story. That's life. They're not going to be mean to you at the high school reunion. If anything, they'll smile and say hi. They'll probably be really happy to see you, actually. And, surprisingly, in that moment, you'll be happy to see them. You will feel healed. And so will they. Reunions are therapeutic!
4/ Have a real conversation with people.
Some people post rather personal things on Facebook. But, you may have follow up questions! I know I do.
Some people post only good things on Facebook. But, you may need to see someone in person to have a real, heart to heart conversation. I know I do.
5/ Network, Fall in Love, Get Blog Material.
You could find a new job, real estate connection, potential client. Yes, you can find these on FB too but it's more natural when it happens in person - and it'll be more likely to happen in person than on FB.
Same for romance! Sure, you could fall in love on FB but you won't know if you have chemistry until you see each other in person again. Cue cupid.
And what's more ripe for a blog post than a high school reunion? RSVP now. Please. I need the material!
In the spirit of Roses, here's to every event/party/gathering/shindig I didn't feel like going to but went anyway because 99.99% of the time - no, always - yes, I'm always glad I did.
Fern Ronay relocated to Los Angeles in 2014. Her first novel, Better in the Morning, the story of a single 29-year-old Manhattan lawyer who is guided in her dreams by her dead Italian grandparents, is available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Follow the hashtag #BetterInTheMorningBook on social media and follow Fern on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat @FernRonay.