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Thinking of you
It’s normal for some friendships to fade. Maybe you went to school together and now you’re living in different cities and working different careers. Maybe you worked together and now you’re not. Or maybe you’ve simply grown apart. That’s okay, considering the word “grow.” Sometimes, in order to grow as people, we need to move in different directions.
Fading isn’t the same thing as ending, anyway. And by that, I mean, it’s also okay to reconnect. Even if it’s been ages.
I used to be very close with a friend I met through work. We’d spend time outside the office going to events, brunching on weekends, even starting our own business together. When I left for a new job on the other side of town, we stopped hanging out as much. The daily texts and outings faded into every other week, then every month or so, until there was a stretch of silence that lasted more than a year.
She crossed my mind a few times. I knew she had a new boyfriend and was changing careers. Her smiling face popped up on my timeline every once in a while, accompanied by others’ I didn’t recognize. Somehow it seemed too long and hence too weird to say anything. I figured we’d grown apart and moved on to our next chapters.
Then, one day, she texted me. It was a wall of text, decorated with emojis in her signature, heartfelt style. In her words I saw my own thought process. She’d thought of me often, had wanted to reach out especially during the Atlanta shootings, had wanted to ask how I’d been lately, but had held back until now. Where I had felt it was too weird, she had labeled that same feeling as, “I was scared and I don’t know why.”
It was a welcome invitation to reconnect, and after catching up over brunch, I saw we had grown up a ton over our time away, but not necessarily apart.
There seems to be an unspoken rule that there’s a time limit before telling someone you are thinking of them gets too weird or scary, so we choose silence. I wish I had been brave enough to break through that self-imposed barrier with my friend, but I am forever grateful that she did so. We’ve returned from our individual adventures into the unknown, with more stories and lessons to share.
Rather than an omen of a friendship that’s past its expiration date, that weird, scary, uncomfortable feeling may just be the necessary signal to come together again.