Advice Needed What would you do?

Discussion in 'Chit Chat' started by zenouchy, May 1, 2008.

  1. zenouchy

    zenouchy Member

    Hi Everyone,

    Hope you all are doing well. Thanks for reading and listening:

    I'm not sure what to do. A good friend of mine from high school who I haven't talked to in at least 18 years called my parents, and she wants to re-connect. Apparently our 20-year high school reunion is coming up this summer. I don't live in the same state and haven't for several years. She was a good friend in high school, but SO much time has passed that high school feels like another lifetime.

    I just feel torn about calling her and the thought of telling her "what's going on with me", or rather, what's NOT. The fact that I have a lot of health problems, am not able to work and was not able to have children because of chronic health problems is not exactly a positive update. I try to stay as upbeat and normal as I can despite the fact that I am not in a "normal" situation (living with chronic illness). It's of course a tough balance as you all know.

    The last time I talked to her ( it was a long time ago of course!), she was doing great and was an anchor woman at a news station. (Who knows what she's up to now, but she's obviously feeling happy enough to call and want to know if I'm going to the high school reunion.) As you all know it's tough being put on the spot and answering the "what have you been up to"? I can't blame her for asking since we haven't talked in several years. I just don't know what to really say that sounds upbeat. To say I have been volunteering isn't even truthful. I'm just busy keeping my household going and trying to stay healthy. Boring but true.

    Her call to my parents was very out of the blue and a big surprise, but it was nice of her. I feel like I should call her back and that it would be rude not to do so, but then every time I think about doing it, I feel really hesitant. It's probably a self-protection mechanism. Eeeks! Any thoughts or ideas? Thanks for your help!

    Have a happy/healthy day.

  2. rockgor

    rockgor Well-Known Member

    I went to one H.S. reunion. I didn't tell anybody about being disabled. Nobody asked. In fact, I was very surprised. There was almost no talk at all about what people were doing w/ regard to careers.

    Maybe because in previous years people had written a brief paragraph on what they were doing for a group letter. Folks just assumed everybody continued doing the same.

    Are you still working part time? You don't have to say it's part time.

    You can always say something like, Oh, I'm so busy with this church project. I'm up to my neck in scrap booking. I started painting the living room, and I don't know if I'll ever get it the way I want it.

    Usually people jump right in and start telling you about their church or scrap book or whatever.

    In the newsletters we've sent around every ten years, only one couple ever reported any kind of problem. They had a disabled child. The rest of us pretended we were living a wonderful life.

    Our 50th anniversary is coming up this summer. I am not flying 2000 miles to see people who weren't especially friendly anyway. I'm glad I no longer care what those people think.

    Good luck

  3. It reminds me, my brother gave an old gal friend of mine my email addy and she kept bugging me. We grew up together and were always friends, but I hadn't seen her in thirty yrs. She became a pain after marrying, she kept coming over and sitting for hrs almost daily. So I didn't want to start that up again,,she had become so annoying. Finally I told my brother not to give out my email addy and never answered, she got the msg finally. I have enough going on in my life and coouldn't entertain her again. But thats just me and my opinion, you never know you may enjoy her co.
  4. Juloo

    Juloo Member

    I think you should go ahead and call her. It may be as shallow a conversation as you might imagine, or surprisingly amazing and receptive. Most likely somewhere in the middle.

    We all change. Even people who had (or have) what looks like a perfect life.

    Are you thinking of going to the reunion? Even if not, I really enjoy my reunions as we all get older. Sure, there are those that still seem to need to show off, but there's an insecurity in that, as you know. I can see behind that now.

    Last year was my 25th reunion. It was most notable for two friendships being re-examined. One, my best friend in high school (we went in different directions after) and another, a guy friend that just sort of 'disappeared' after graduation.

    My BF and I spent two days together before the main function. But as much as I enjoyed her company, I realized that I did not know her anymore...she ended up having a bit too much to drink, and I ended up driving her home, which I think she felt was some kind of judgement of her. (No -- it was me valuing my own life AND hers ...completely selfish, I assure you!) I'm sad about it, and I miss her.

    The other friend (both ones, incidentally, I'd first met in kindergarten) I didn't get to see until the reunion. He seems to have drifted for a long time, but finally finds himself doing what he loves, in a place he loves, and is in a good relationship. He's really lived -- all the ups and downs -- but is all the more laid-back for it. We didn't get to talk enough at all (I was busy taking care of friend #1). But we're email buddies now (platonic!), and it's so great remembering that what made us friends before is still there (that we're completely and unapologetically total geeks!)...just in more seasoned form.

    In both cases, the issue of my continuing health issues were only mentioned briefly. We were too busy just catching up for anything else to matter.

    I like to think that we have different chapters in our lives. Go find out what hers is. Just be yourself. You'll know if things feel stilted and weird. But it might just end up being a pleasant talk. For me, especially when I talk to people I haven't seen in a long, long time, I keep my situation short (when asked), and don't go into explanations except when asked.

    Call her!
    [This Message was Edited on 05/01/2008]
  5. Juloo

    Juloo Member

    At my 10th reunion, there was a guy who came up to me that has dissed me in high school. At least, he went out of his way to, although I was pretty oblivious. I was talking to a friend, and he came up to me (drunk), and said, "Hey, I wonder what you think of me ..."

    I just ignored him -- his opinion has never mattered to me, and I always thought it funny that he thought it did -- but I kept thinking of a famous line from 'The Fountainhead' (I think).

    The female protagonist is asked this same thing from an old 'friend' who screwed her over.

    She replies..."...but I don't think of you..."

    Love it!
  6. PVLady

    PVLady New Member

    If it were me, I would try to focus on the positive things about my life in the past 20 years and keep asking about her life. Everyone in the world has problems, and you cannot assume your old friend has not had her share. Many times people just don't share those things unless they really know or trust someone.

    Being so long since you have even talked, you are not good friends, you are strangers now. She is someone you used to know and might have changed alot in 20 years.

    Just keep it general and keep your health condition etc. private. You should not feel pressure to discuss your personal life or anything that makes you uncomfortable.

    Try to keep a open mind and let the conversation flow naturally. Spend more time asking about her. People always want to talk about themselves, then think YOU are a brilliant conversationalist. So here is a tip - every time she tells you something about her life, say "is that right"... keep saying that and she will spend the entire time telling you all about herself.
  7. pasara

    pasara New Member


    I went to my 20th high school reunion a few years ago and I had a blast! I didn't think I would but I did.

    Funny story, one guy I couldn't quite remember, he looked familiar but I couldn't place him. then he said, "yeah, I was a real a**hole in high school..." and then suddenly I did remember him! LOL! He WAS a real a**hole, but now he is really great, and actually he was part of a small group of people who atayed out even later after the reunion.

    Anyway, if and when you call your friend, you don't have to avoid mentioning your health. The key is to not focus on it. If it comes up just say you have been working on some health issues, and go on about other stuff. What is the real conversation stopper is when you start feeling like you have to go into detail about what you are dealing with, or the history of your illness, or feel like you have to educate them about it. Even though it is front and center in your life it doesn't have to be in your conversation!

    These type of conversations can be very surface, and that is fine. Twenty years have passed for goodness sake! Everyone has changed and been through good and bad. It is nice to connect and find out where life has taken old friends. But you don't have to pour your heart out for hours.

    If your friend asks if you are going to the reunion you can just say you are still thinking about it and there are some things you have to work out first. You don't have to commit or give an excuse.

    We don't have to be ashamed of our health problems. It is only when we dwell on them that others do.
    [This Message was Edited on 05/02/2008]
  8. zenouchy

    zenouchy Member

    Wow, you all are great! Thank you Rock, lincamp, fibrobutterfly, Juloo, yesterdayschild1, PVLady, and pasara for your excellent advice, words of wisdom and cute stories too.

    I realized my profile says that I'm working "part" part-time. Well, I was but my friend's startup company isn't doing too well so that isn't working out at the moment. Guess I need to change my profile!

    I understand everyone's points. Keep things upbeat and light. Turn the focus back to my friend if I'm not sure what to say. Makes sense. I just needed a little jump-start to get things going. And it's true what PVLady mentioned too. She was a close friend years ago, but she feels like a stranger now. However, she did reach out to me, so I should call and see how it goes.

    High school was not the greatest time for me either. My high school graduating class had over 900 students! It was really big and easy to get lost in the shuffle.

    Thanks for the laughs and much-needed perspective. I will think of your stories and words of wisdom when I call her and let you know how it goes!

    Thank you all for being so TOTALLY AWESOME!! ("totally awesome" was the "in saying" when I was in high school ;-) )

    Have a happy/healthy day,


  9. Janalynn

    Janalynn New Member

    Hi there!
    Absolutely call your old friend. I think it is great that she wanted to reconnect with you. Life is what it is and you have nothing to be embarassed or ashamed about - how your life has turned out. It doesn't have to be all doom and gloom anyway - you can tell her what you've been struggling with, then tell her the positives that you have learned from your trials/tribulations i.e. you have learned to appreciate the simple things, etc.

    Believe me...I went to my 25th HS reunion - everyone's lives are totally normal - experiencing everything to illness, death, divorce, disabled kids, job loss etc. We've all grown up.
    I might add - the best part <wink wink> the girls that were "it" in HS - looked THE worst! I think those who peaked during those years...well they went downhill from there. Those of 'us' who didn't live for high school only got better as the years went on. I got more compliments at my HS reunion than I ever did in HS that's for sure. The football players....they were all bald and fat. heehee

    I have always tried to remember people from my life. It's a shame to forget people who once meant a lot to us. Relationships change, but for a moment, certain people were important in our lives, we shared laughs, dreams, tears...some friends got us through some tough times. I always think it's a shame when people disappear from our lives.
    Call her and say hello. Your life is what it is - your heart and soul are the same (probably better) - don't deny her that.