Socially, there isn’t much worse than finally getting together with an old friend that you haven’t seen in ages just to feel…nothing. No chemistry, no easy-flowing conversation, no…comfort.
It’s almost easier to have a big fight with someone and never speak to them again. (Not that it feels great to lose a friend that way either.) At least that way you can keep yourself sane by believing you’re better off without them. Chances are, you are better off. Or they are. Either way, there’s a winner. And life feels better when relationships are cut and dry like that, right?
But sometimes you can’t leave a friendship feeling that way. Sometimes you hang on to a friendship just a tad bit longer than you should have, or maybe you went just a little too long without a phone call, and now that person that you loved is a stranger. It’s a painful nostalgia to reminisce with someone about times you shared, when they feel like someone you’ve never met before. And then, worst of all, you have to keep the charade going when you depart. You hug, you make empty promises to keep better in touch or to see each other again soon, you say it was great to catch up…but was it great? Or was it awkward and forced? Aren’t you actually secretly relieved to be saying goodbye, even if it is for the last time? Doesn’t that make you an awful person?
I used to think it was so weird that my parents didn’t remember the names of some of their friends from high school. I haven’t even been out of high school for 10 years yet and I can’t tell you how many people I’ve forgotten. How many stories I’ve confused or attributed to the wrong person entirely. And now I’m acutely aware of when I’m at the crossroads of “friend” and “stranger” with a person. It doesn’t feel great.