Thanks to Facebook and the other multitudes of social media, the folks who drifted apart after high school are drifting back together. In fact, I used Facebook to organize a mini-reunion for the kids I was in marching band and chorus with all those years ago; we gathered at the location of our old school banquets and award ceremonies. (It’s also a wedding reception hall!) Between the gossip of who is doing what and where, we found time to reflect and reminisce about the “simpler times” before cell phones, Twitter, HD televisions, and the Internet. Heck, one of our biggest complaints growing up was getting a busy signal when we tried to call our friends. People still wrote letters to each other and sent them through the mail. And, most memorably, we had crushes on each other and hand holding was a big deal. We also just started getting email by the time my graduating class got into college and we sent those annoying forwards to each other because we could, not because they were really funny or interesting. As we took a trip down memory lane, we realized that because we didn’t have Facebook, most people in our circle of friends lost touch as we went to separate colleges and then pursued careers. And this is where the dilemma came up about inviting long-lost high school friends to your wedding.
You see, now we all reconnected and felt that joyous sense of nostalgia together. While it had been fifteen years since we had hung out together, we all seemed perfectly at ease together again. Laughter and mirth surrounded us for those few hours that winter morning. When we left to go back to our real lives, we all felt like we had come home again. A few of the folks at the reunion were engaged to be married. Now that we had rekindled our friendships, ought not some of the most influential people in their childhoods be invited to their weddings? When you have a limited budget but a big social circle, does a co-worker trump your best friend from eleventh grade when doling out the invitations?
Some of us did get invited to a couple of those weddings; most of us did not. I saw the photos posted as they passed my Facebook news feed, and I tried not to feel a pang of jealousy for the weddings I didn’t get invited to. Even if it wasn’t these friends from an era long ago, it is natural to watch those wedding photos go by and feel a little let down to not have been asked to attend anyone’s wedding in your life.
I’m so glad I reconnected with my classmates and, even if our reborn friendship didn’t warrant a wedding invitation, it doesn’t take away the years we had together marching around the football field or singing at concerts. Reuniting with old friends may bring your pals back into your life in significant ways or it may just be another great memory that they are a part of. If you have the space, invite old friends–they were there when you had braces, pimples, and less-than-flattering hair; they want to celebrate with you in your new life! If not, drop them a note and let them know that space wouldn’t allow it, but hopefully you’ll all get together soon. As Elisabeth Foley said, “The most beautiful discovery true friends make is that they can grow separately without growing apart.”