Friends For How Long?

My high school prom was held the day after graduation, back in 2009. It was one final hurrah, before we all went our separate ways. You know, all those cliché phrases.

If I’m honest, I would’ve rather been at home watching the NHL Draft that night. I’m not one for parties. But not going to prom felt too much like being a rebel without a cause. So, of course I went.

The time came where it was acceptable to start leaving. So I jumped at the opportunity and left. My dad picked me up.

I remember leaving the banquet hall knowing it would be the last time I saw most of the people in it. I said goodbye to a few people, nothing too sentimental, and walked out.

Don’t get me wrong, I had some great friends in high school, but there wasn’t any feeling in me that said, “Oh man, you’re really going to miss this.”

I wasn’t sure why that was.

Fast forward four years later to my final day of university.

I wrote my final exam in the morning and spent the next 14 hours hanging out with friends  who had become family to me over the years.

All of a sudden, 2AM rolled around and everyone was gone. It was just me, wandering around an empty campus, letting tears roll down my face. It was over.

It was the most bittersweet day of my life.

I had all these people who had become a part of me. When I defined myself, they were in the definition. And all of a sudden, they weren’t even in the same dictionary.

Sure, we could stay in touch via text message or Facebook. And yeah, we could have our reunions and go places together. But it would never be the same.

It would never be all of us in the same place at the same time, ever again. That’s why I was crying.

I wasn’t ready to let it go because these people had brought out the best in me and I was scared that when I moved back home, there’d be a void in my life. That there would be a piece of me missing.

As the weeks turned into months and the months into years, the friendships I had built at school slowly slipped away from me. I don’t blame anyone. It’s hard keeping in touch with everyone.

And I’ll be honest, sometimes I don’t want to keep in touch. Not because I don’t care about the person anymore, but because I don’t know what to say.

I hate putting people on the spot and asking them what they’re up to, because I know they’ll ask me the same thing and my answer probably won’t be as impressive. How’s that for honesty?

So I keep a distance, hoping that my birthday wishes on social media, coupled with a “Hope all is well” is enough to show that I still care. And in between birthdays, hopefully a “like” on their Instagram photos send that message.

Sad, right? But I doubt I’m the only one.

Subconsciously, I think I started filling the void of not having my school friends with me, by becoming friends with bloggers.

There’s no physical attachment with bloggers – in the sense that we won’t eat lunch together and then go walk around, before sitting in a lounge and laughing. All just to do it again tomorrow.

There is no smile to miss. There is no laugh to never hear again. There is no company that was once there, that isn’t.

Here, there are just words.

That being said, whenever I really click with another blogger and we become friends outside of these WordPress walls, in the back of my head I’m always nervous that we’re going to run out of things to say to each other. That our friendship is going to end, just like others have.

Sad, right? Again, I doubt I’m the only one.

I remember one of the first weeks working at camp a few years ago and having a lot of fun with the staff. And then it hit me like, “Man, this is all going to be broken apart in less than two months.”

I blame my last day of university for all of this – this habit of me looking into the future and knowing that the good times don’t last forever.

I’ve come to the realization that people will come in and out of my life, forever. They may stay one day; they may stay fifty years. But no matter what, they all contribute to who I am.

You can’t replace people; you shouldn’t even try. You can’t replace the memories, with new memories you make with others. They won’t compare.

On July 6th, I deactivated my Facebook account. I don’t know if I have a definitive answer as to why I did. I just know it felt like the right time to do it.

I didn’t get Facebook until the summer between my last year of high school and first year of university. It was July 12, 2009, if you want a specific date.

You know how I remember that? I was going to my university for orientation day on July 15th and had been reading the incoming students Facebook group, where everyone was saying what dorm they were in, and I thought, hey I want to do that too.

I got Facebook. I never posted in the group. It was too intimidating. Facebook was too intimidating.

I remember someone posted on my Facebook wall and I asked a friend where I was supposed to respond to them. Was I supposed to post the reply on my wall or theirs? They replied with, “Seriously? Lol”

Thanks for the help!

Fortunately, I posted my reply on their wall, instead of accidentally making a status update of my reply to them. It was all very confusing.

This is what people were begging me to get in high school?

This is what people dressed up as for Halloween?

I knew I was in trouble when a few months later, I would sign out of Facebook to start doing school work, and then found myself signing back in 10 minutes later. I was hooked.

Hey, Facebook is great for what it is. It was a great outlet for me to post creative thoughts before I had this blog. It was great for communicating with friends at school. It was great for many other reasons.

I could even return to it someday.

But for now, it got to a point where my list of friends didn’t reflect the people who were actually in my life. At the end of last year, I started unfriending people. I had never done it before and actually felt a bit guilty.

I went person by person and could remember a bunch of things about them and our friendship that no longer existed.

Listen, there are only 24 hours in a day for me to care about anything. I’m not going to spend even a minute worrying about what Johnny Calculator from Grade 9 math is up to.

I’m not that curious. I don’t need it. I don’t need to compare. I’m tired of comparing. We’ve been comparing ourselves to others since Kindergarten. Except, back then, it was about who came to school with the best snack.

When you don’t talk to someone for six years, what is that? Is that a friendship? By Facebook’s standards, it is. But if Facebook didn’t exist, it’s not. It is not a friendship.

And that’s where the world of social media gets weird.

Because I can sit here today and say that by me “liking” someone’s Instagram photo, and by them “liking” mine, that we are friends. And yet, we never speak to each other.

It’s weird, is it not?

I was tired of Facebook. I didn’t have a purpose for it anymore. I didn’t need it to post pictures. I didn’t need it to write words.

I just wanted to disappear from a social world that did nothing but remind me of how long it’s been since I’ve spoken to everyone on my “friend list”.

By the way, your official “friend list” is the one that exists in your head. The ones on social media are greatly exaggerated.

All this brings me to this past weekend. Myself and three friends from school went on a road trip to watch a hockey game in Ottawa. It was the most fun I’ve had in a long time.

The 4.5 hour drive there was nothing but stories and laughter. I didn’t stop laughing the whole way there. My cheeks hurt, my vocal chords were sore, and my “ribs” were in distress.

That set the tone for the entire weekend. It was just great being around these people again. They’re the kind of friends who I can go months without talking to, but as soon as we see each other, we snap right back into where we left off.

I first met them in my second year of university. I thank God every day and twice on Fridays that I decided to return to residence for my second year. It scares me to think of what my life would be like if I hadn’t.

The individuals living on my floor that year changed my life.

This is why I’m so certain that people are put in our life for a reason. I am proof.

As people get older, you hear them say that it’s all about quality and not quantity, when it comes to friends. Maybe we should tell young people that.

Maybe we should tell them that just because someone has 800 more friends than them on Facebook, doesn’t mean they aren’t cool.

Heck, “cool” isn’t even a thing that exists, really.

We all talk about “the cool kids at school”. What exactly made them cool? If they were so cool, why didn’t we want to be friends with them?

Exactly.

“Cool” is just a word that creates a fake hierarchy. It is a word that allows insecure people to distance themselves from the words “lame” and “nerd” for fear that no one will like them, or worse, add them as a friend on Facebook.

I’ve gone all over the place in this post, but I think everything is connected, so it’s fine.

I want to end with a quote from a book I read earlier this year. The book is called, Hockey Towns, by Ron MacLean.

“Life really is about collecting people you like to be around, and when you come across them, you don’t take them for granted. If you want them to remain in your life, you’ve got to make an effort to keep them in your life.”

About Paul

I think of my blog as an all-you-can-read buffet. There's something for everyone and complimentary mints at the door as you leave.
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54 Responses to Friends For How Long?

  1. 4 minute post posting was too soon to comment, so I read another couple of posts and then came back at 17 minutes post posting so you wouldn’t know how big a fan I am. Heh. Loved today’s post. In case you were wondering ☺

    Liked by 2 people

  2. shalini says:

    Very beautifully written… And very true. I have friends on social media but they are virtual friends. In times of crisis I can only rely on friends from real life.
    Loved the last lines of the post… Though I don’t collect friends.. I let them go. Nonetheless beautiful thought

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Jad says:

    I really enjoyed this post and some of your observations rang true. When I moved from Australia to the United States I wondered just how many of my friends would put in the effort to stay in touch with me and remain friends but for me Facebook was the platform that allowed me to maintain and nurture those friendships from afar.
    The biggest thing for me about friendship is that you get to choose your friends, some may only be short term friends, there for a specific reason in your life but some and lifers, they are my friends I can fart in front of!!

    Liked by 3 people

    • Paul says:

      Haha “they are my friends I can fart in front of”. Love it. Yeah Facebook is good for keeping in touch with people you’re not geographically close to. I guess I gave up on that a while ago lol. You’re right though, we get to choose our friends. That’s a pretty cool choice to have.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. I didn’t go to my prom and I don’t regret it one single bit. It was a mess and had to be shut down for about an hour and a half because one of the students decided to overdose on some sort of drug mixture.

    As for Facebook, I keep trying to delete it but can never bring myself to do it. I have friends there who I have no other way of communicating with. But I do purge my list every so often. At first, I felt guilty, but then I was like “I haven’t talked to this person in *any way* in the last year. I don’t feel like sharing my life with them so why are they still here?” Now FB is just a time suck for me. I don’t update my status, but it holds my pictures from my university years and my travels, kind of like an extra backup “just in case”. Maybe one day I’ll be able to do what you did and just end it completely haha. But today is definitely not that day.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Paul says:

      Oy, our prom was also a mess in the sense that the teachers boycotted it because of “pranks” some students did. We were there by ourselves with police officers.

      I completely understand your hesitation to let Facebook go. The good thing (or maybe it’s a bad thing) with deactivating is that all you have to do is log back in and your account is reactivated, exactly how it was. My only regret was I didn’t save some pictures from my profile before deactivating, so one day I’ll have to sneak back on and get them off.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Ooo that is good to know. I deleted it for about 6 months when I was in university but then got it again to keep in touch with people over the summer. Thankfully I have my pictures all backed up in other places which is nice.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Jess says:

    OH HEY STRANGER! I was actually just thinking about this the other day. I should probably specify. These last couple of months, my childhood friend has texted me and said things like, “Do you remember so-and-so from high school?” Or, “Were you ever friends with so-and-so?” And every time, I’m like, “UHHHHHHHHHH. The name sounds familiar? However, the face…no.” It’s been at least 5 people she has asked about and I can never actually remember who they are. I just know that I did know them at one point in my teen years. Basically, I 100% agree with you on this post.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Paul says:

      Sorry, you are….?? Haha I kid, I kid. Honestly I think you were the first person who made me realize that deactivating Facebook wasn’t a terrible idea. You’re to blame for all of this.

      As for the story in your comment, it sounds like you’ve displaced people from memory lol. Probably a good thing. I guess at some point we all forget certain people. Like we’re not going to be 60 years old and wondering what Person X from high school is doing. I hope.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Jess says:

        I’m writing a post right now and it’s a strange feeling haha.

        Some people might think I have no heart for not remembering these people, but at least you’ve made me feel better about it haha

        Liked by 1 person

      • Paul says:

        You’re writing a post??? I don’t wanna admit to the tingly feeling I got.

        The way I see it, is our brain is like phone storage. Sometimes we don’t have enough space for everything so some things get cleared out. Not our fault we don’t have 256GB up there.

        Liked by 3 people

      • Jess says:

        Ugh, I’m so flattered.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Tanushka says:

    One of those rare posts that reminds of the memories I have supressed deep inside my head, and makes me tear up.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Squid says:

    Ahhhhhh I love this!! You’ve written what my heart has been feeling since camp ended this summer. I too walked around campus, listening to the flagpole clanging in a void where voices used to sing… And thinking about all the friendships I made in its presence, all the people who molded me into who I was at that moment. I wanted to cry, but it didn’t feel right, because I was too thankful for all they had meant to me. I was asking God “Why did you let these amazing people come into my life and now they have to leave??” But I knew they really were a blessing, no matter how bittersweet.
    I found a rock song called Remember the Memories by Spoken, and it spoke well to this phenomenon. Thanks for the feels avalanche! 🙂
    Squid

    Liked by 2 people

    • Paul says:

      Yup it sounds like you experienced exactly what I did. Camp is even worse than school because it’s such a short period of time and it’s not like everyone is going to return the next year like students do to school.
      Pretty sure I also listened to a bunch of songs with “Memory” or “Memories” in the title at the time lol

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Yoly says:

    Oh my. We are very alike. I also deactivated my FB. I agree with you, social media can definitely be overwhelming. This blogging world is my little secret getaway from my reality. I don’t have my blog linked to any of personal information because I want to keep it that way. I can relate to you. Keep on blogging. The birthday thing, I actually try to hide from people when it’s by bday. Why should I celebrate that I’m getting older? Ha ha! I’m a grumpy person when it’s my bday.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Paul says:

      I like how the blogging world is a place where we can all be ourselves, without revealing everything, if that makes sense. I also try to keep my blog away from my other personal social media accounts. I have to really know a blogger before I blur those lines.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Some of my best friends I ever made were a group I served in the Army with oh so long ago. In fact one person in that group I liked so much I married her. Well back then we each went our separate ways. Thanks to Facebook we were able to reconnect and we got together almost exactly 20 years after we had last seen each other. It felt like we hadn’t missed a day. Those are true friends in your life, the ones you can be apart from but the times you get together it is as no time has passed. High School friends have come and gone, college friends the same, but my Army buddies are the ones I am closest with still. Great post as always…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Paul says:

      Those kind of friendships are the best. I’m sure you and your army buddies have a stronger bond than most just because of the nature of your work. It’s a blessing that we find these friends who we can be ourselves around.

      Like

  10. Ely says:

    I have to say a few things about this. And they’re going to be Super honest. Because you know how the fox does. Honesty is a thing for me. 1- you’re like the ONLY male person my fiancé does not know, but is fully aware that I have a friendship with on social media. He’s NOT normally ok with that sort of thing but he’s totally cool with my random conversations with you and doesn’t even question it which is super impressive. Regardless of the whole blog or social media thing- I consider you a legit friend. So thank you for being so awesome and supportive and so YOU! I hate Facebook and little by little I’m moving away from that. It’s true. I also couldn’t care less about Johnny Calculator from 9th grade math or Scientific Simone from 10th grade chem. They’ve done nothing for me or my life. The fact that these generation live this FAKE nonexistent competitive lifestyle amongst each other, is insane. You’re right. I feel the same. And as far as prom goes I dropped out my 11th grade year of high school so who the fuck knows and I didn’t really care. I had ZERO friends who were there to convince me of how STUPID I was being with my impulsive “adult” decision that I’d be better off on my own without high school. And that’s the equivalent of a friend who would let me drive away from a party after binge drinking just because I said “I got this.” NOT FRIENDS. You realize that later on in life. Too little too late sometimes! Glad we BOTH finally got around to posting lol!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Paul says:

      I’m honoured. I consider you a legit friend as well and I’m glad I haven’t posed any problems or concerns of any kind because that’s the last thing I’d want to do. As for those fake friends who didn’t tell you when you were making careless decisions, you deserved better than them. And of course we would both post on the same day lolol

      Liked by 1 person

      • Ely says:

        LOL! #teamgenius and not at all!!! Had there been any problems I wouldn’t have told you either way because that’s awkward but it’s refreshing and that’s why I mentioned it! Lol! And totally agree! People should really speak up when their “friends” are making fucked up decisions! So annoying. Anyways this post calmed me down a lot. Considering mines was like 6,568,876 WTF’s per Hour (wtfph?)

        Liked by 1 person

      • Paul says:

        Haha perfect! Well I did mention school a lot in my post and you can’t speed through a school zone so…. (I have no clue how I came up with that response).

        Liked by 1 person

  11. Reid says:

    Well done Paul. I love reading your posts. I saw your photo the other day with you and your buddies all wearing Maple Leafs jerseys. Looked like fun! I’m glad you enjoyed it. There is no doubt those types of friends are the best ones and it’s great you could get together in person. I’m much older than you (16 years) but I still value those college friends too. In fact, fantasy sports is how I remain close to them after all these years. Those friends from high school and college are valuable and can be everlasting, hopefully so. Keep in touch with those guys b/c if you don’t, someday you may regret it. Go Leafs! (Leaves! LOL!)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Paul says:

      Woah first off, I would’ve never guessed you were 16 years older. At most, maybe 8-10. Yeah, fantasy sports are a great way to keep in touch. My basketball league is comprised of my high school friends and fantasy hockey is university friends. Bragging rights never get old. The Leafs game was great! Might do a blog post about it in the next few days.

      Like

  12. Lee says:

    Thanks bigly for this, Paul. I applaud your sentiments and honesty.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. This one hit me right in the gut and echoes a lot of the things I’ve been feeling with regards to friendship, social media, and now blogging. It’s nice to know I’m not the only one (and isn’t that the beauty of writing anyway, how it seems to connect us?) Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Paul says:

      Happy to hear you could relate! So true, writing brings us together and makes us see that other people feel the same way we do. All it takes is one person to get the ball rolling.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Barb Knowles says:

    What a wonderful, wonderful post. I think it is interesting that you talk about “this habit of me looking into the future and knowing that the good times don’t last forever.” I think I’m guilty of the opposite. I think that the good times will and then am surprised when they don’t last. Here’s an example: I worked for about 5 years with a friend who was about my age….maybe a little younger. We shared an office and got along like 2 peas in a pod, socialized outside of work with and without boyfriends, and talked on the phone when we weren’t at work. They moved away and our friendship abruptly stopped. This was before social media and cell phones so you had to work a little harder to stay in touch. I finally reached her and she said ” Oh I have friends where I live and when I move I sever all contact and get new friends until I move again.” That was the strangest thing I had ever heard but I’ve found that other people, while perhaps not being so abrupt about it, do the same thing. You seem to expect it; I’m shocked by it.
    I loved the description of the road trip. The best of friendship.
    This is an awesome post. And I love the quote at the end. Perfect.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Paul says:

      Thanks Barb! That is strange how that friend of yours seems to of had a strict guideline that they followed, rather than still trying to put effort into your friendship. Even if you guys grew apart, at least it would’ve happened naturally. I guess I just expect the good times to end because a lot of my friendships were based on time and place. And when the time and place expire, then the friendship will never be exactly the same as it was.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Barb Knowles says:

        That’s true. Plus people really do change. I’m sure this has happened to you as well, that you get together with someone you haven’t seen in quite a while and you think “I have absolutely nothing in common with this person anymore.” I guess that’s where Facebook comes in. We don’t usually talk about NEW times with high school “friends,” we talk about OLD times.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Paul says:

        Yeah I’ve found that too. There are some people where all we ever talked about was school or nothing important while eating lunch or dinner in a dining hall. Now, since we can’t talk about those things anymore, we have nothing to talk about.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Barb Knowles says:

        And conversely….well nothing conversely has happened. lol

        Liked by 1 person

  15. Myka says:

    I love this. I love that you have come to the realization that people will stay for a day, or a decade or an eternity – and still manage to all have an impact. I ran into a homeless man the other day (I will blog about this soon) and I feel like he had a larger impact on me than most of my “friends” ahem acquaintances.
    I was never one to have a lot of friends. I don’t now, either. The poor souls I wrangle into my circle are going to get complete earfulls because I don’t have many people to spread the words around too – but such is life.
    I think it’s super weird – wait, no, I don’t but OTHER people – think it’s super weird that you (and Chris, and Meghan and Jess) are people I call friends because we’ve never met. But I feel closer to you all than most people I know in America/reality. Am I rambling? Ugh, always on a tangent. Basically, I love your perspective here. I love your blog. Your words. And the friendship (yes) we share.
    Ps. I realized I said allowed in my last comment instead of aloud. Imbecile!
    .xo.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Paul says:

      Well to those people who think it’s weird that you’re friends with people on the internet, if they don’t think we should classify ourselves as friends, what are we then?
      At one point in my life I thought I had too many friends, yet it was the happiest time of my life. It’s just hard keeping people in the loop as the years go on.
      Looking forward to reading about your homeless man encounter!

      Like

  16. MagLyM says:

    I really love this post. I started to type all the things I love about this (it’s too much though), so I’ll just keep it simple. Love it. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Great post, so much I can identify with…love the end quote too…
    I’ve collected my friendship family carefully over the years and yep you gotta make the effort – but I do find the best of friends understand when sometimes you’ve not been in touch for a while and regardless you can just pick up where you left off – I hope that everyone can find a friend like that, they are precious beyond words xx

    Liked by 1 person

    • Paul says:

      Very true. I’ve been fortunate enough to have many friends like that – where we go our own way for a little bit but always find our way back to each other and nothing ever seems to change between us.

      Liked by 1 person

  18. Lynni says:

    This hit me right in the feels. Damn you Paul! 😭💛

    Liked by 1 person

  19. This rings so true to me. Just 2 weeks ago I left my school for good. And although i well see them 3 times in November, I know we will never get together again like wr did in school. I hated our goodbye party. Somehow loved the holidays (it wasn’t all of us). So part of me is sad to not ever get this again, another part is glad I can have a orivate life again eithout anyone bothering me when I last dated, haha.
    Same goes for facebook. I keep telling myself I need it for my friends all over the world. But I don’t ever talk to tehm on facebook apart from some occasional likes. It’s not worth it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Paul says:

      I just live vicariously through you based on your comment lol. I had a surprise goodbye party…felt like I was attending my own funeral. It was fun. But funerally. I went back twice after leaving, both times felt really weird. I felt like a visitor. Be prepared for it. And yeah, Facebook is an illusion we’ve all created where we think it’s such a great place to keep in touch…when really we only care about 10 people.

      Liked by 1 person

      • moonbabydoll says:

        You keep living vicariously through any comments I make 🙂 love it!! Wow a funeral sounds dreadful!! I think I would feel or react the same way you did!! I like the whole fb being an illusion and only caring about ten people! ^_^ o agree!’

        Liked by 1 person

  20. moonbabydoll says:

    I really loved this!! I can totally relate to this post!! Sometimes I rather not make any friends or keep in touch. I always feel that those who are meant to stay will stay those who don’t I’ll see you on social media. There is the one saying that says friends aren’t the ones you’ve known the longest , friends are the ones who stayed and never left.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Paul says:

      Well said! Glad this resonated with you. I feel like the best friendships are effortless and if you have to try, or are worried you haven’t talked to someone in a while, then it’s probably not meant for the long haul.

      Liked by 1 person

      • moonbabydoll says:

        You know I think about that all the time. Sometimes I wonder if I’m the one putting more effort In some friendships. Most of the time I am and it’s sad. So I try to do me and this who wish to stay may stay and those who don’t it’s kool. It also makes me think about the “season, reason, or a lifetime” thing. Do you know what I’m talking about? “People come into your life for a reason season or a lifetime.” The lifetime friendships are the effortless ones.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Paul says:

        I completely get what you mean! I’ve had some friendships where I’m really close to some people for a few months due to circumstance, and then the circumstance changes and our friendship drifts. Life can be weird like that. A lot of times, friendships can be based on geographical proximity…and when you’re far apart, it’s harder to stay connected despite all this social media.

        Liked by 1 person

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