The strange, interconnected world we live in (and Happy St. Patrick’s day!)
Back in the day when I had a black and white screen computer and a 2400 baud modem … you know, like 1997 … I really had no idea things would be the way they are right now. The ways in which our lives are publicly consumable–sometimes intentionally, sometimes not so–is a little strange.
I noticed this weird trend after the 10 year high school reunion I had no desire or reason to attend. It was 2005 and suddenly all these people I went to high school with were looking at my Friendster account. I’ll interject here that it’s not like I disliked any of them, nor do I harbor real resentment against the vast, vast majority of people I spent my childhood/teenage years with. I knew a lot of decent people, and a number of people who I really enjoyed spending my time with.
The thing is, as an adult, I’ve made very conscious choices about who my friends are and should be. I’ve little curiosity about what my former classmates are up to–excluding those whose friendships were important to me or the few who continue to be my good friends. I’ll admit, when I was living in New York, my friend Megan and I decided to create rumors about ourselves and see if they spread and it’s entirely possible the rumors that she was a stripper with implants and I was a dominatrix actually made their way into conversation…but I’d kind of forgotten we did that until I saw all those pictures of the folks I went to school with.
I was listening to RadioLab with Megan (not the Megan from the above paragraph, my wonderful girlfriend Megan) and it was about deception. A part of the hour was about this guy who decided to stop lying. He recounted a story about an evening he spent with people he didn’t really care for and then was invited out again–but didn’t want to go. He said he couldn’t make it (which was true that time), but when they asked what date was good for him, he said something to the extent of: I don’t have time for the friends I have…and this isn’t worth it.
Heh. Harsh, I suppose, but also true. I’ve used that in the past with people I’ve dated. You can call it mean, but it’s true–I have a lot of friends. People I don’t get to see nearly enough, and the only way I can really maintain new friendships is to be able to bring people together–which means there needs to be some hope that someone I see as a potential new friend would have good group interaction with the people I already love and make time for.
I was thinking about this quite explicitly last week, too, after my women and money class (yes, I am feeling rather empowered). The woman leading the class was talking about making time and financial decisions, specifically about how when she had four young children they were late to everything and she was always crabby. She decided she couldn’t do everything they’d been doing and had to make some decisions about that. People were upset with her because she wasn’t as available as she had been–one woman in class asked if her friends/others ever got over it. She said: they had to.
With the changes that have happened in my life this year, and with the changes that will start in the fall, I’m in one of those places. I’ve been on my own for so long, and completely uncommitted to anyone’s needs but my own, that people have gotten used to me being almost immediately available if something fun comes along. That’s just not the case anymore and it’s an adjustment for all involved. This isn’t to say that I’ve become some sort of homebody or anything, but that my life is structured differently. I’m really, really enjoying the difference and the way my life is changing and I know that in the end people will get used to scheduling things with me differently and I’ll somehow find time to hone the balance of work+relationship+school+friends as well as any human can.
I guess this has been a digression from the original paragraph, but it’s all tied together somehow. I guess I don’t really understand this need to reconnect with people I hardly know. I’m not adamantly against it or anything, I just don’t know how anyone has time for it. And I guess I feel differently about people I was friends with in college or graduate school. Those were years when I chose my environment… Maybe I’m just kind of a jerk. I can live with that too.