To All the Friends We've Loved Before

Recently I’ve been falling down rabbit holes of the social media accounts of friends I had in high school. I don’t know if this is a universal experience, but I think it’s so fascinating to see how the people that you were once closest to in the world have grown and changed since you lost touch. I still have a good handful of friends from high school that I talk to regularly and still am very close with, but in my senior year of college, I’ve definitely lost some along the way. This hasn’t been for any specific reason or downfall, or even for lack of trying, but sometimes you just drift apart. Especially because my parents sold our house in my hometown and moved around a lot throughout my college years, communication and quality time with those friends was hard to come by and maintain. 

It just absolutely rivets me that there are some people who I once ate every lunch with or spent dozens of hours at extracurriculars with and  I now don’t even know something as broad as their college major or relationship status. Social media is a tool to see into that somewhat, but you can only learn so much. They aren’t a consistent, conscious consideration but sometimes, through a Snapchat or Facebook memory or maybe telling a new friend an old story, they cross your mind again. 

I’ve heard it said that we are mosaics of all of the people we’ve ever loved, and it feels so real that I carry with me these small memories and instant connections while being completely separated from the person they’re from. There are an ex-boy band member and some idiot political figures who I still can’t see without thinking of a high school best friend who I haven’t spoken to in four years. For others still, it may be laughably bad Netflix movies or a comfort food you wolfed down together after getting bad news. And, naturally, a small part of you wonders if there’s anything that makes them think of you too- even after all these years. It’s the strangest sort of wondering, one without closure.

You hope they’re doing well. You wonder if they still do that thing that made you laugh or feel self-conscious about that thing that they used to hide. You wonder if they’re making good decisions or if they’ve kept up that hobby that they were so insanely good at. Maybe in another life, I was meant to study sociology and not education, but the gradual deterioration of a once unbreakable bond is a concept that I believe I consider more often than most. But also, maybe not. People rarely talk about it! You always hear about the heart-shattering breakups and the brutal best friend backstabbings, but nobody really talks about the drifting, the slow burnout, or the small fizzle. 

This has turned into a rambling, but I hope that it’s even a little bit relatable to anyone who thinks even a little bit like me. The people who, if it were socially acceptable, might just reach out to those lost friends to check-in and ask the questions I’ve posed out of a cloying curiosity that pokes its head out every so often. But we don’t, and we won’t. And we appreciate the periods of our life that these friends were there for and we accept that as enough.