College Friends

I am about to attend the Nth video call with my college friends.Through the weeks, we have piled up topics that need to be discussed in the next one. The list is growing every day.Probably, quite natural when you have 15 years of catching up to do.Yes, you got that right, we finished our engineering in 2005 and went our own ways.We have been connected on social media.Met 1-1 when we were in the same city but never all together, not even virtually.Until now, in the ‘new normal’ when we suddenly realized that video calls work.

I believe all of us went through this, what I now term as the corona friendship revival process.Triggered by fear of Corona, forced to stay at home/work from home. In the first step, it was realizing the gravity of the situation.In the next, we got into a complaining mode.Naturally we needed people in our vicinity to vent out our emotions.So, family members and neighbors were the quick access confidants.Then came a wave where connects/online games were scheduled with family and friends.Along with it, the up skill in cooking, baking, gardening – the indoor activities happened.Eventually we landed up also activating old friendships.The contacts with people from school/college/previous organizations, which we had dropped somewhere on the way, made.

The reconnect wasn’t comfortable.It was awkward in the beginning like any first interaction.We have moved ahead in personal and professional life, few are married, few have kids, few single.Few decided to have their own business, few continuing in the corporate world, few making a great mark, few just struggling to keep up.Each person with their own life story, their own scars that doesn’t make it easy to openly share. 

We started by sharing the good things, things we are proud of.Then going down the memory lane and remembering incidents from the past.Memories that make us laugh, discussion of crushes, love stories that resulted in marriages and ones which fell apart.Gradually moving towards sharing our life story, the learning – the experiences- the sadness.

While this is happening, I am observing and reflecting on human nature.The behavioral pattern has not changed at all for example – few express more than the others, few emote more, few boast, few observe (and few write 😉 ) .So is the case with interpersonal relationships, with the friends I was close to during college, they understand my thoughts – I don’t need to say it, even on a video call.It is almost like we picked up friendships where we had left them.

I am sure many of us appreciate the friends they got back. Let’s face it – it is not easy to make friends from professional world. How many people do we meet outside work?

While i am happy to be reconnected, a part of me knows and fears that things might start falling apart yet again when life gets back to normal.Our work, our travels, our commitments will occupy us. Once again, distant friendships might take the hit unless we make the extra effort of keeping the virtual connections alive.

This phase has got our old support system back to life. Now the choice is ours – to treat this as a filler during the lock down or to nurture it and look back at it, in 15 years from now, as the phase that revived friendships.