How do you know that someone has changed or not changed?
It may sound like a vague question, but I’m serious. It all came up on Facebook. One old friend asked another old friend if, since we were once again local to each other, half way across the country from where we grew up, if we ever hung out. We had, once. And while I’d extended several other invitations, all of them were shot down (although kindly). And that reminded me of how our childhood friendship had ended (years and years before Facebook existed). I had called this friend to hang out, and she told me that she thought I was “too weird” and she didn’t want to hang out anymore. A crushing blow to a sixth grader. Now, not so crushing, but another reason to think people are too judgmental of other’s choices in life. This friend now seems rather “weird” herself in some ways. But, hey, isn’t our own personal weirdness what makes us unique and fun?
But there’s still a little of that sixth grader in me, and I wonder, has this friend really become as enlightened as she seems? Or is she still the same girl who was cruel to me all those years ago? Do people really change?
I have one other Facebook friend I wonder this about. She also blew me off oh-so-many years ago. I learned where I ranked in her hierarchy of friends – as long as I was helpful, she wanted me around. Beyond that, I was Queen in the Land of Blow-Off Land, and she would deign to shower me with her presence only when it was convenient to her. But I still accepted her friend request on FB because somehow I still cared. So has she changed? Does she actually care about me and my life?
I have no idea. I can’t answer these questions. I’ve already culled the people who weren’t ever truly friends with me or who hadn’t changed from the pettiness of grade and high school, but sometimes it’s hard to tell.
At the same time, I’ve been happy to rekindle some friendships – people who just fell out of my life for one reason or another: moving, changing schools, bad scheduling. And there are other people I’d like to find and “friend.” But what if those people have changed for the worst and would disappoint me?
So how to tell who’s a FB friend or foe?