I still have one or two friends from childhood, though we rarely see each other. One close childhood buddy moved to Florida and I haven't seen her in years. I doubt I'd recognize her if I saw her on the street. Another friend who attended the same elementary school, high school and college lives about 30 minutes away, but our paths never cross and we only keep in touch for birthdays and Christmas. One very dear friend from high school died about 20 years ago, probably from AIDS, the cause was never disclosed to those of us who attended his memorial service. I remember how shocked I was at the time to learn of his death; how could that possibly happen to someone my age, I'd thought. And in my mind I relived happy moments we'd shared, recalling funny things he said and did. And I pondered whether I had told him often enough how much I liked him and how good a friend he was.
I have two very good friends these days, women I met at two different jobs I held years ago. Somehow we've kept in touch over the years even though we don't see each other on a regular basis and don't share the common bond that brought us together. They're both single which hasn't mattered much even though I'm married with kids. I guess the fact that we share a love of books, music, movies, dining out--things like that--kept us friends, kept us united.
But lately I've found that even those common bonds haven't been enough. Sometimes when we talk, the conversation falters, leaving too many silent pauses. Where it used to be so easy to talk on the phone for hours, now there are awkward moments. What happened? I wonder.
How do you stay connected with friends in a time when people live such separate, busy lives? Does friendship really matter to people these days? And what about virtual friendships? Do some of us "talk" more to people we've never met (via the Internet) than to flesh and blood, real live human beings?
What are your thoughts on this?