Why Some People Don't Want to Reconnect
A while ago, I tried to find some people I knew in the past through Facebook and LinkedIn. I received few responses from those I contacted. One woman I was looking for I considered one of my best friends in college. We stayed in touch for a number of years after we graduated. Then she went back to her home state, got married, and had kids. Over the years we lost touch.
I had been trying to find her for years. Facebook finally gave me access to her email address. In my message I expressed my great happiness that I found her, and asked about her life over the years. She gave a courtesy response, and some aimless ‘hope you’re doing okay’ type of comments. It was terse and impersonal, and it hurt.
I wondered why she was so distant. I still smile when I think about her and our college friendship. I wanted to see and talk to her again. It was clear, though, that she had moved on.
Her aloofness made me think about the whole concept of reconnecting with old friends. Facebook and other social networking web sites have made contacting old friends and relatives easier to do. After a while of soul searching, I decided that I have to accept that some people do not want to get together again with people from their past.
Why do people put others out of their life? Why don’t they want to re-connect? I made a list of the various potential scenarios why some people do not want to know you again.
- They’ve moved on. They’re not in high school or college anymore. They put that experience in the past and on a shelf. They are different people with totally different lives and interests. They think of you as a person who wants to talk about old times. They’d rather not.
- There are aspects of their past they don’t want to re-live. They do not want to be reminded. I remember calling one person years ago for fundraising. She was a classmate of mine. She said she did not have a pleasant high school experience. She asked me to please take her name and number off the fundraising roster. Her comments reminded me of her tenure at the school. I could see where she might have had a difficult time then, and doesn’t want to have bad memories pop up every year.
- Their plate is already full of friends, acquaintances, and relatives. They are happy to hear from you, but that’s all. They believe they don’t have the time for one more person in their lives.
- You did something to the person in the past that really hurt. He has moved on emotionally and doesn’t desire any further contact. The issue for you is that you don’t know what you did that caused him to still have negative feelings toward you. He isn’t going to tell you, and so you will never have the opportunity to make restitution.
- Perhaps when they looked you up in Facebook, LinkedIn, or Twitter, they felt that your achievements didn’t live up to their expectations. There is no payoff to knowing you. As far as they are concerned, you are not at their level
- Perhaps the person doesn’t believe they are at your level. Their best accomplishments were done in college. They peaked then, and now don’t want you to see them stuck in time.
- Perhaps he or she is a former lover. The good and bad memories are still fresh in the mind. There may still be embarrassment at how you broke up. He doesn’t know how the two of you would currently receive each other. Fear will prevent a person from re-connecting.
- Perhaps they really don’t know or remember you. You were firmly impressed when the two of you worked on a project together. But for him, you are a blur in his mind. It’s like receiving an invitation from a person on LinkedIn.com, and you haven’t the slightest idea who the person is that is inviting you to link to his account
Facebook and similar social networks no longer allow you to be hidden. It’s like going to your high school or college reunion. Seeing how people have changed over the years can be startling. Weight gain, hair loss, in a bad relationship, drugs, and alcohol abuse all have an impact on how you see yourself, how you want to be seen, and who wants to be seen with you.
One has to connect with other people in the world. The older I get, the more I feel that need. Some people are afraid to re-connect. I can’t really be angry or upset because someone doesn’t want to know me again. I’ve done the same thing at times. But it still hurts, and I’m sure the ones I have failed to connect with feel the same about me.
I have to be honest with myself. I may never know what kind of impression I have made on a person. Lack of acceptance sometimes is hard to acknowledge. I don’t plan to intrude on the life of people I once and still consider friends. They aren’t obligated to want to know me again. But I do want to acknowledge, even if just once, that there was a point in time, I was happy to know them, then and now.
© 2012 Carolyn Gibson