It can be so exciting to meet up with a friend you have not seen in long time, especially one with whom you have shared a lot of laughter and tears. It usually brings out the best of memories and the best of times, yet there is a note of caution when we rekindle an old friendship or perhaps rethink an old romance!
It should be obvious, neither of you is the person each remembers! Catching up just where you left off years ago is fine, for a momentary illusion, but is not the stuff conducive to long lasting relationship. Time, distance, different experiences good and bad times, have shaped the person you have become and are becoming …you are no longer the same, nor is your friend!
Some things are plain to see; those funny bifocals now replaced by tinted contacts, the mop of hair you fondly remember close cropped or styled, the change in perfume or the few extra pounds. There are other changes as well, less obvious, much more important to keep in mind! When we expect or imagine all to be the same, disappointment is seldom far away!
“Well he really turned into a *&%$..”, “she sure has changed"…are often the postludes to high school and college reunions or other occasion of encounter with those we once hung with, valued or loved.
Whatever happened ?...Life did! The boy crazy coed has become a mom to 4 girls, heaven help us! The party boi found religion after one too many heartbreaks, the boozer survived thanks to AA, career, responsibilities, children, bankruptcy, wealth, illness , death of loved ones, divorce, middle age, illusions and disappointments, survival and success… God…”all things are made new”…the stuff of living!
Successful friendships demand we take this truth into account and, even as we reminisce about good old days, make room to get to know the familiar stranger we call friend! Chances are we will discover a new friend in an old one …or prolong the illusion and risk losing them both.