Internet with its social networking sites provides ample opportunity to connect back to people whom otherwise we would have never imagined to get in touch. In a world without internet (example that of my parents)there might have been situations where school or college friends may physically meet in a shop or movie hall but not recognize each other as age metamorphism will be difficult to imagine.
However it is important to recognize that less than 1/100th of people moved so much across the globe or even within countries and the need to network through virtual world did not exist. For sure the boon of Internet is the ability to get back in touch with friends who otherwise would be just in faint memories.
Coming back to the learning's of connecting back...I do think the most important of all learning is to take it slow. The usual informality which existed in School or college days is not to be taken for granted at middle age or beyond. Sure it comes back but the time to accept this transition is different for different people. There are some people who take this to an extreme when they address people who are a little more successful or lucky as "Sir or Madam"...this is lack of self confidence. You should not go to the limit of calling the pet names or some specific habit the person had while young making the other person uncomfortable but building a distance by calling him/her Sir or Madam is also not a good starting point.
There are several ways one gets connected back-maybe through the social networking sites when someone guesses it should be you and calls to connect. This usually is quite sober interactive mode as it is one to one to begin with. There is a cascading effect to this that with enough quorum there is a need to build an Alumni Group.
This starts with a lot of zeal with friends getting friends and slowly building the network. There are some uncomfortable moments when the group tries to reinvent its current position with likes, what will tick, when things can be viewed seriously (in college days these were not even noticed), when to appreciate, when to wish etc.
This journey needs to be managed well. Usually the initial enthusiasm soon dies down with people taking to normal day to day affairs and not bothering to move further on the networking while some of them are very eager to pump emails/seek responses.
There is an important learning here-motivation of people who were together in their teens and led a carefree life competing with spirit (maybe partying with spirits too) evolve to be responsible parents with a cautious approach to everything in life including networking friends.This motivation difference is difficult to gauge and manage as most are spread out across the world and want to disclose as little as possible of what happened in the 20 years they were not in touch. A lot of them are apologetic but a lot more are wanting to stay aloof assuming friendship can be burden. (to be continued)
- ▼ 2009 (34)