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Social networking – although I have had my instances in which I have questioned it – is pretty amazing. Besides connecting with current friends, there is also the chance to reconnect with old ones. The best part of that you can still get back in touch even if they have moved far away and have been gone for years (hopefully not because of you).
However, sometimes reuniting with old buds does not always go so well. You may think that your original friendship will pick up right where it left off, but if doesn’t always happen – a tragedy indeed. So with that being said, let’s take a look at the four stages of social networking with old friends.
The First Encounter
Let’s break this down real quick. The first encounter is different for everyone – that casual glance of an old schoolmate in a mutual friend’s friend list, the sudden recognition of a familiar face in a video, the realization that your childhood friend is on the same social network as you… It’s freaking magical, and at some point, you realize that it’s time to bring this virtual friendship to life – thus, you get the idea to press the friend request or follow button. But alas, your inhibitions may get the best of you:
- “What if she ignores me?”
- “What if he doesn’t remember me?”
- “What if she has a secret distaste for me that can only be measured in increments akin to the world’s general hatred of Hitler?”
However, something will eventually inspire you to click that button. I don’t know what that special something is, but you’ll eventually man up and do it. Whether you are on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, or even Reddit, you’ll click that magic button, and the wait will begin. It may take minutes, hours, or even days for them to respond, and the entire time you’ll have an inner dialogue with yourself:
- “She IS ignoring you.”
- “He DOESN’T remember you.”
- “She DOES have a secret distaste for you that can only be measured in increments akin to the world’s general hatred of Hitler.”
The Honeymoon Period
The honeymoon period is pretty simple. If you’re on Facebook, you’ll end up liking everything he or she posts, and if you haven’t seen the person in a while, you’ll write a message that goes a little something like this:
“Sup, bro! Been a long time! Hope you’re doing well. Lol. Saw that you’re working hard these days.”
Then he will respond:
“Yeah, man! Like what – two years? We should totally hang out some time!”
You’ll say something along the lines of “Yeah!” or “Sure!”, but the truth is that you won’t ever do anything together. It’s all just a dream – but that’s the honeymoon, my friend. It’s full of these dreams and fantasies, and although they sound pleasant, not all of them will come true. However, you’ll spend this period of time responding to everything he Tweets, chatting with him, and if you happen to be the stalker-type, adding his friends from college that you don’t know. (You creep.)
Things will settle down after a while. You’ll become familiar with the fact that you have reconnected with your old friend, but something will hit you – he isn’t the same wild and crazy person that you knew from years earlier. He isn’t getting drunk every weekend and hustling pool wearing nothing but boxers, a tie, and some Air Jordans while listening to Duran Duran. Oh, no. Instead, he’s playing Trivial Pursuit every Friday night with his wife and the neighbors. Worst of all, he’s going to be in bed by ten – and actually asleep.
Your friend is not the same friend that you knew before. Things have gotten dull, and you will have just now realized it.
She doesn’t respond to your comments. You don’t like any of her status updates anymore. She even wrote your favorite one about the zombie apocalypse and tagged you in it, but it just isn’t doing anything for you.
He Tweeted using the hashtag “#mchammer” and you didn’t respond with something clever. You didn’t even write any Tweets about one’s inability to “touch this” or the proper time to hammer. Life doesn’t make sense.
What has happened? You’re in a slump, and there’s nothing you can do about it. The online friendship will dwindle away into obscurity, and things will die. They will remain on your friends list, but the interaction will be moot (or minimal) – the death of an online friendship.
Needless to say, this is definitely not how every online reconnection goes. Sometimes people end up genuinely getting back in touch and actually meeting up with each other for a cup of coffee and to chat about old times. That’s one facet of the beauty of social networking. However, other times, the old friendships end up like this (though this article does dramatize things a bit).
What other stages of online reconnection can you think of? Has this ever happened to you?