I used to think that I would jump at the chance to reconnect to all my old high school friends. I miss them, and think of them, and wonder what their lives are like now, and all the things most of us probably do with old friends from long ago.
Now, here I sit, looking at the profile of my best friend from my entire high school career; we were close for over five years. I’ve seen as much of her profile as her privacy settings will let me; enough to know that she still lives where we grew up. Enough to have seen her face; enough to feel nostalgia wash over me in waves, a kind of homesickness.
But I’m not jumping.
My former very best friend for years is right here, one simple click away. I’ve searched for her for ten years; I followed leads, checked friends-of-friends, asked around. I was nearly desperate to find her – and find her, I finally have.
And yet, I’m not jumping.
As I looked at her profile, a sense of peace swept over me. I took a deep breath. I realized that somewhere along the way, I forgave her for the traumatic way our friendship ended. And more, I realized that I don’t need her to know me now. I don’t need her to not know me, but I don’t feel that sharp desperation I once had for her approval, for her to see me now and tell me how awesome I’ve become.
I can tell myself how awesome I’ve become. I don’t need it from the outside anymore.
We spend a lot of time these days finding and reconnecting with people from our past. Sometimes, that’s a good thing; old friendships rekindled, common ground found where time and distance once separated us.
But sometimes, it’s good to reflect on our motives for that reconnection. It’s important to make connections that fuel and heal us – and equally important to steer clear of connections that drain and deplete us. Reconnecting brings its own mixed bag: old wounds reopened, regret, behavior and thoughts and feelings we thought long buried.
Before you next click that connection button, as easy as it has become, pause. Breathe. Make sure the connection you’re creating is healthy for both of you. Make sure you’re connecting because it’s what you want, not because it’s expected – and not because of what you once had.
If you met this person now, today – and didn’t share history – would you become friends?
In my case, my heart said no. I gave her a silent farewell, sent her wishes of goodness and waves of forgiveness, and closed the tab.