How to Lose Friends and Disenfranchise People in a Digital Age

Dear Friend,

It’s been a long time since we’ve officially talked. Or…unofficially talked. Too long.

It’s strange, even a little creepy, but I still know the basics of the path your life has taken since last we spoke. Officially, I mean. I know you had another kid, but I don’t know what you named it. I think it was a girl, though. Someone said you were divorced now. I can’t remember who. Didn’t bother to investigate further, since everyone is getting divorced at least once these days. I heard you moved to another town, and last week I was reminded that you’ve been at your “new” job for three years.

Wow…three years. Has it really been that long? No, wait, I’m counting back from the time I saw that post. It’s actually been…what? Five years? Five years since the last time I heard your voice.

I think about you all the time, though. Well, not all the time, but a lot. A while ago, I picked up my phone to text you–or hell, maybe even call–but the screen flashed to life with a sudden little To Do list of immediate distractions. READ THIS EMAIL NOW. CHANGE YOUR STATUS. RESET YOUR PASSWORD. REPLY TO THIS TEXT FIRST, it screamed.

Remember when we used to take that class together? Work together? Live together?

We used to be so close, then. Talking all the time about our shared grievances, our hopes, our dreams. Those little daily annoyances of real life. We were real life friends, you and I.

A few months ago, I saw you tweet something about social awkwardness, and it reminded me of that joke you told at that party. How everyone laughed, because you weren’t telling it right, but that only made it funnier. I smiled, but then I felt really sad, for some reason. Then I went back to pinning funny GIFs, and I felt better. I forgot all about that story, again. About you. I might have starred–or hearted–the tweet, but I don’t know for sure.

Sometimes, I forget what that was like, to have a real life friend. I wonder if you feel the same. Do you think about me, fondly and often, the way I think about you? Do you forgive me for letting our IRL friendship die? For intending to call, but letting all those false little emergencies get in the way?

Do you hate me now? Do you think I hate you? Do you sometimes lay awake at night, wondering what you did to make us stop being friends in real life? True, I never actually un-friended you. Not on any official social media, anyway.

So…I guess that means we’re still friends. Right? At least by the modern definition.



Your “Friend”