A few weeks ago I was doing that thing that we all do too often, even though we know we shouldn’t: I was filling time by mindlessly scrolling through Facebook when I came across a photo. This photo featured 6 of my old school friends. One of them in a wedding dress.
I know this wedding was going to happen from things I had seen on social media on the days leading up to it. So the wedding itself wasn’t a shock to me. The shocking thing came in how this photo made me feel.
I felt a pang in my stomach, an intense fear of missing out. FOMO, as the kids call it now. A feeling of sadness. These were my friends and I wanted to be there. But I wasn’t. I wasn’t even invited. Why should I be? I tried to think back to the last time I saw these girls and I couldn’t remember.
I had moved away from my hometown in 2005 when I went to university. Although I saw my friends when I was back for the summer, I stopped coming back for the summer when I finished university and we had simply drifted apart.
I had made zero effort. My visits back home were short and just to see family. No time for friends.
Looking through Facebook, the last photos of me with two of the girls in the photo was 2011. 7 years ago!
I felt terrible.
I looked at every one of those girls, now all in their early 30’s and realised each of them were now mothers. They had children I hadn’t met. Partners I hadn’t met.
I decided to change that.
I messaged the girl (Wait, women – we are in our 30’s, after all) who I was closest to at school and asked to meet up. We set a date and last weekend I got in my car and drove an hour to my hometown and had lunch with her and her adorable 6-month-old baby boy. 7 years. She was exactly the same but had so many new experiences to talk about.
We spoke about meeting up nearer Christmas with some of the other girls. Though she did admit that the wedding was the first time she had seen lots of them in a long time, which made me feel slightly less guilty about being such a terrible friend.
Anyway, the moral of this story is: don’t wait for a big event that you are not invited to for you to realise you’ve drifted away from your friends.
As you get older, it’s so hard to make time for everyone. I had friends from university, friends from home, friends from old workplaces, blog friends, other online friends as well as family to keep in touch with and it’s so difficult. But it’s so important.
All isn’t lost and you can reconnect with people again. With a simple lunch.
One thing you won’t ever get back is missing out on something special like your friend’s wedding. A lesson learned the hard way.
But learned, nonetheless.