In the last month or so I have been quietly freaking out over the fact the vast population of Facebook has been joined by a number of significant ghosts from my past. I have bravely accepted the fact that pretty much everyone I have ever known is joining Facebook. For example – Much of my husband’s extended family is now there (and I started a family reunion site for them, hopefully a positive thing) For the most part, I have no problem with this. But the fact that certain people are coming online there all within several months’ time is unnerving me just a wee bit. I have to wonder if they too are having a similar reaction to the phenomenon.
Let’s be honest here: My childhood sweethearts from over 30 years ago have NO reason to be worried. I am happily married to someone who understands the pull of the past. We actually talk about these kinds of things often.
But let me take this opportunity to compose an open letter to those who might be wondering about how to deal with this new opportunity to intervene (i.e. interfer) with people from your past:
– Most of us are focused on our lives today, not so much on the past
– If you are obsessed with the past, you better reconcile yourself to the fact that others may not be – get over it
– If someone from your past contacts you on Facebook, don’t freak but rather celebrate the fact that the person thinks enough of you to be curious. Of course, if that person is someone you’d rather not interact with, you can “block” them – but I would caution you from doing this unless you really think they are in stalking mode.
I got very excited about discovering a childhood girl friend a couple of months ago, and I sent her a long, enthusiastic message which she has yet to really respond to. To be fair, she is the CEO of her own company and with the challenges of the recession, I imagine she does not have time to focus on this unless it really interests her. I’m busy too so I completely understand not hearing from her. Yet there may be more to this – maybe she is uncomfortable with opening up this way to someone from her past, someone who might be dredging up memories she’d rather leave fallow.
Which brings me back to old friends and lovers.
Without naming names, let me explain my plight.
1. The first boy I ever kissed – (I am deleting parts of this entry because my original words really did sound bitter in retrospect and honestly I am not !) His life and mine went totally separate ways. This person did accept my “friend” request on Facebook but I suspect he may feel guilty about some things, or at least a little uncomfortable. After some of the things I said in this posting originally I suspect he’ll block me! Don’t please, I am just trying to work through this.
2. The Boyfriend I Almost Married
This was a decent and well raised young man who went on to a good life and I have always been sorry it didn’t work out. All my friends and family were devastated when we did not get married. I just found him on Facebook tonight which prompted me to this posting. It was inevitable that he would be “out there” with his wife and family members and old friends. Forgive me for bringing you into this posting but you need to know that all over the world people are thinking about the friends they did not finish up with. I’m glad I found you and it’s nice to know you are doing well. You don’t want to hear from me – you always told me you’d never go back and I trust that you meant it, so I won’t try – but I sure am curious, nonetheless.
3. The Boyfriend From Hell
This was the person who attracted me for all the wrong reasons. We had some good times, but it was a train wreck of a relationship. I got out of it by the skin of my teeth with nothing but what was left of my good credit rating – which I managed to salvage somehow. After climbing out of that hole, life just got better. But I still have nightmares about this one and I really don’t want to be friends on Facebook with him, or anything else for that matter.
There are a couple of other significant or interesting relationships I should probably leave in the past and not be tempted to dredge up, (stop looking in Facebook, stupid!) and I guess after surviving this long, I want to settle some scores. The Internet makes it too easy to confront the past. Best to leave it alone, probably. I don’t think I can though, it’s like an itching scab.
Leah was appointed Executive Director of the Charleston Conference in 2017, and has served in various roles with the Charleston Information Group, LLC, since 2004. Prior to working for the conference, she was Assistant Director of Graduate Admissions for the College of Charleston for four years. She lives in a small town near Columbia, SC, with her husband and two kids where they raise a menagerie of farm animals.