The h2g2 Post 09.08.07

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Posted: 9th August 2007



Here's to Absent Friends

I was editing Smudger's Snippet on Wednesday, and as I read about the manner in which he lost touch with a friend when he moved house, I was reminded (yet again) of that terrible fear, hanging over my head. I'm sure it's happened to you loads of times — you switch jobs or schools, you start a new phase of your life, you move to a different place and quickly loose contact with your old mates. Granted, this was a great deal easier to do in the days before the Internet — now we all keep in touch with friends we haven't even met, much less ones we don't see too often anymore. All sorts of things help us to do that, from email to instant-messaging to Skype to even the good old-fashioned telephone or 'snail mail'.

But it's never really the same, is it? It's difficult to hug a friend when they're two thousand miles away — and somehow '*hug*' just doesn't cut it. And without that reinforcement of proximity (which means that even if you don't see each other regularly, you could), I certainly worry that it's far too easy to lose touch.

I'm just about to enter my last year of school, so it's understandable that I've got several friends a year ahead of me. They're all leaving to start new lives at university, and I'm getting pretty familiar with this feeling of saying a tentative farewell. A couple kids have held going-away celebrations, and I've signed everyone's yearbook (or annual, or whatever you call it where you're from) with a heartfelt message about what a great friend they've been. I've hugged my goodbyes and shuffled through awkward rounds of 'Well, see you at Thanksgiving, then.' But in the back of my mind, I'm constantly wondering, 'Will I? And if I do, will it be the same?' It's going to be difficult just to get on without seeing certain friendly faces at school every day, or enjoying the luxury of being able to see a movie with a given friend, or go out to lunch with another.

New friends always come along. We're social animals (though some of us more than others); for the most part we befriend people wherever we go. But no one wants to let go of the accumulated friendships either — and so it can only remain to be seen whether a friendship conceived in the physical world can survive using the same methods as one conceived, for example, here on h2g2. Time will tell — and until then, I'm in denial, pretending that everyone's just gone away for the weekend.

(Apologies for the undue seriousness; one should never compose an editorial on little sleep. Deadline for the next issue is 19 August; until then, enjoy this edition of The Post!)




















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