Let me preface this by saying that this post is prompted by a facebook photo that I just ran across. The photo belonged to a girl (woman?), with whom I have a mutual friend; she went to my high school and graduated a couple of years before me. I wouldn’t say we’re ‘real’ friends, but I feel justified in looking through her random facebook photo albums…. please, isn’t that what facebook is for? In any case, I found it quite interesting when the majority of her current photos (posted December 2009) were snapshots of her and the same friends she had in high school. Now, I’m all for keeping friendships alive and maintaining bonds, blah, blah, blah, but really? At 26, isn’t it time that you had new friends, too? When 90% of photos are of you and the same people you were friends with at 15, I think it says something. If I had to guess, I would think it says, “I haven’t really grown/changed/advanced much in life and I still hang out with, and find interesting, the same people that I did when I was 14.”
Let me also say: a) I have no problem with this girl — she was actually very spirited and fun, so I’m not saying this out of anger/jealousy/whatever other emotions people associate with scorned women; and b) I also have a handful of friends from high school with whom I maintain friendships. It’s not the maintenance of friendships that I find irksome. I actually think it’s awesome to be able to keep in touch with people from the past and keep those friendships alive. Rather, I think it’s quite awkward when people maintain the exact same group through life without incorporating new individuals and new personalities into the group. Even if I tried to keep in touch with the same group of friends I had in high school, there would only be a select few that I would still share commonalities with. We all grew up and went our separate ways, finding new things that interested us. Some of us pursued higher education, some got married, some joined the military… some even have children. For us to all still find common ground would be a rather unachievable. The things that we find interesting now are so varied. I have no interest in spending three hours talking to my girlfriends about their over-achieving babies nor do I find interest in planning upcoming nuptials. Likewise, I find it highly unlikely that any of my girlfriends want to have a conversation with me about the effects of poverty on HIV/AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa.
Now then, my question is, how does this happen? How do people continue to hang out with the exact same individuals for decades on end when their initial friendship began at such a young age? I understand the concept of adults meeting and maintaining life-long friendships, but it just seems that so much happens from the ages of 15 to 25 (high school graduation, college, college graduation, career choices, moving, marriage, children, etc.) that you really aren’t the same person that you once were. Doesn’t it say something about your growth as a person if your friends haven’t changed? Isn’t it important to meet new people and allow their perspectives on the world to open your eyes to new things?
Maybe it’s just me… maybe it’s late and looking at facebook friends’ random photo albums is unhealthy. Or maybe it really is weird to be BFFs with the kid you met in 9th grade geometry when you’re 26.
Either way, I would love input from people on this… it’s a topic that I find bizarrely fascinating/irksome.