The Delicate Art of Reconnection

Have you ever used Facebook to get in touch with someone you hadn’t talked to in many years?
Sometimes, it’s simple, fun, and easy. For example, I’m now FB Friends with a bunch of my younger second cousins, a far flung group some of whose members may barely remember me. I get a kick out of keeping up with them. One young woman is a cool San Francisco artist whom I last saw when she was a year old.

Other times, the whole reconnecting thing seems trickier. C’mon, you must know what I mean, right? Well, maybe I’m the only one, but there have been occasions when something like this happens:

1. Idly enter Long Vanished Person’s name in FB search.
2. There they are!!
3. I click “add friend” and “enter personal message.”
4. Then, I dither and debate the perfect tone and content for the brief message:
“Hi, remember me?!” (of course he remembers me, we flipping lived together for over a year.)
“Wow, Facebook is really something, isn’t it!” (too lame.)
“Gosh, it’s been so long. I grew up, got married, had kids, and what about you?” (I’d never friend someone who said that.)
“I heard about your dad passing away, and I’m really sorry. What else is new?” (wrong, wrong, wrong.)
5. Finally I compose a message, hit send, and wait.
6. Well, lo and behold, I’m now FB Friends with Long Vanished Person!

So far, so good, but what happens next?
I’ve decided to try to reconnect with a few of these folks.
Just in case that’s not modern enough, I’ll blog about it!
Here are the victims, er, beloved new FB Friends:

1. First, and easiest, an old friend from the town where my DH and I lived as newlyweds, * cough * about 27 years ago. This friend I’ll call “Nancy” because that’s her name. She was one of a shifting group of SAHMs with babies & kids in the same age range. I remember her as really funny, smart, and kind.
However, I didn’t much like living in this particular hot, sprawling, military town whose name starts with an F (I’m looking at you, Fayette-Nam), and in 1988 we moved to the Land of the Tarred Heels and never looked back. She sent me a funny birthday card about 17 years ago, but basically we’re totally out of touch.

Her son gave me the email address and encouraged me to write, but What to say? What if she’s joined a cult? Wants to convert me?

2. and 3. are equally challenging, so, flipping a mental coin,

2. A young man whom I last saw when he was 3 years old and who is now in his 20’s. I was a good friend of his father’s. Unfortunately, his dad committed suicide when the young man was a toddler. I was So Mad at his father for doing that, although in retrospect, I see warning signs that weren’t obvious then.

I was determined that, when the little boy grew up, I would be available – maybe to tell him more about the positive fun side of his dad, or just to listen if that’s helpful, maybe pass on souveneirs I’ve kept all these years. The son has the same wild look in his eyes as his dad did, it’s spooky.
Anyway, after I wrote a mild-mannered, hopefully-not-crazy-sounding message, we are FB friends. I have no idea where to go next, but I’ll let my nonexistent public know when/if I figure it out.

3. Last, and a bit of a classic – my first “serious” boyfriend. With the perspective of * another cough * decades, I see that we were just doing what young 20-somethings always do – engaging in Much Drama About Nothing – you know, jealousy about such burning issues as “you talked to her all during the party!!”
I liked him before all the drama, and would like to be friends again, but there are a couple of weird quirks (aren’t there always?)
First, we grew up in the same area. I knew his siblings and still know a couple of them, and in general we know each other’s childhood families. I don’t know, maybe that’s not such a weird quirk.
Secondly, after we split up (*cough in the 1970’s *) he went on to become a fabulously successful film producer. Name 10 blockbuster movies of the past decade, I guarantee you he was involved with a couple. He’s basically in that “rich and famous” category that includes a lot of public information about a person. So, I don’t know, you don’t suppose he’ll think that is why I’ve looked him up, do you?

So, where on earth to start? I’m going to take these people in order, decide whether or not it’s a good idea to contact them, and see what happens!
If you’ve had similar experiences, bring ’em on!

One response to “The Delicate Art of Reconnection

  1. Honestly Tamsie, this is the best post of yours so far…it had me laughing and thinking and all at the same time. My facebook friends list consists of my kids, some of their friends, a couple of high school friends, and several of my long lost cousins. It’s been great for connecting with my cousins whom I was close to in my childhood but grew apart when our family moved to the other side of Canada from where everyone was.

    It will be interesting to see how your old boyfriend reacts to it. He most likely will just see it as a reconnect as that’s what everyone is using it for and especially for you since you were once so close. And I bet Nancy won’t make you join a cult but she may request you join some lame groups or do lame quizzes.

    Again I loved this post.

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