Sunday, February 10, 2013

On transient relationships

Moving away has given me a new perspective on a lot of things. It has made me realize that the wonderful thing about where I grew up isn't necessarily the World Famous San Diego Zoo or the stretches of sunny, perfect beaches...but the people I've left behind. Granted, modern technology helps me maintain these relationships in ways that are as close to being there as I can get without becoming piss-poor from excessive plane tickets, but there is also a downside to relocation.
Here's a question: How many people do you still talk to from college? High school? Are the numbers dwindling? Most people have relocated or changed schools, jobs, and social circles at least once. It's something I really value in childhood (i.e., adjusting to new social situations, peers in their classrooms, etc.), because I think it teaches children valuable skills in forming new relationships, engaging others with diverse personalities, and entering into social situations from an early age. However, I feel we often focus on the "making new friends" part and less on the "keep the old ones" portion of that famed silver and gold song.
What am I talking about? Well, let's say you get new job, move, or start school. You form new relationships and often, especially in the case of college, become very close. However, these life circumstances thrust people together and then they just as quickly fall apart. M. (my fiance) doesn't keep in close contact with his friends from college. He keeps telling me "it's a guy thing," but I still feel like Facebook and social media makes it so simple to at least shoot a quick hello to someone every other month or so. Now that I've moved, I think about my own relationships: which friends from high school will still talk to me? If I was living in my hometown still, they would be my primary social circle. But even when I was in LA, there were more of them keeping in touch than they are now. I know that I'm out of sight and out of mind, but are these transient relationships?
This is even more salient in my latest efforts at wedding planning: making a guest list. How many people, once 2015 rolls around, will still be talking to me and have an invite to the wedding? Now I have friends from high school, college, grad school, my first job, and my current job, along with my Chicago social circle. This doesn't even include family, M's business school friends...the list goes on. How many of these people are we supposed to invite?

Readers--help! What was your rule of thumb for building your guest list? Do you still keep in touch with friends from all these different life situations?

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