Long time no talk!

What do you do when you run into a person you haven’t talked to in a really long time?

“Oh, it’s so great to see you!” “How have you been?” Fake hugs, fake smiles, fake interest in each other’s lives.

When you talk to someone you talk to every day, even multiple times a
day, there are infinite things to talk about. “Did you see that man on
the street who looked just like our English teacher from 2nd grade?” “I
couldn’t believe that it turned out
pink.” “By that time, I was so sick of restarting the computer, I just
took the hammer and smashed it to pieces! Needless to say, my file was
not recovered.”

You’d think that the longer the time between talkings, the more there is to talk about.

You’d think wrong.

For people like that, the “really-long-time-no-talk” people–the
people you haven’t talked to in months or years–the questions become
very broad.

“What’s up?” “How’s life?” “What have you been up to?”

The answers are vague.

“Oh, not much.” “Life’s been pretty good.” “I’ve kept myself busy.”

It’s especially hard when these are people who, at one point in your
life, were at the previously mentioned stage of your talkingship where
you never ran out of things to talk about.

These conversations deeply sadden me. I want to reconnect with these
long-lost friends, but it’s so hard, with nothing (or really, way too
much) to discuss.

What’s the solution? Is there a cure?

My extensive research on these situations have produced the following result.

Potential conversation:
Betty: Oh my goodness, Veronica, is that you?
Veronica: Betty, you look great! How are you? How’s life?
Betty: Oh, it’s pretty good. How about you?
Veronica: Yeah, same here.
Betty: Yeah.
[extremely awkward pause]
Veronica: So, um, is that Archie over there?

STOP. Rewind. Here’s how this conversation should have gone.
Betty: Oh my goodness, Veronica, is that you? I haven’t seen you in three years!
Veronica: Betty, you look great! How are you? How’s life?
Betty: Thanks, I actually went tanning last week, and I got my hair cut
too. Life’s been alright, except for the weird dreams I’ve been having.
Veronica: Oh yeah?
Betty: I keep having dreams that I meet famous people! Like last night, I dreamt I met James Earl Jones.
Veronica: James Earl Jones! Oh my gosh! He’s like my biggest hero.
Betty: No way! Did you see that one Simpsons episode…
Veronica: With the “You’ve made an old jazz man happy, Lisa,”
“Kimba…I mean, Simba,” “Luke, I am your father,” and “This is
CNN”…!!
Betty: That reminds me…have you talked to Jughead recently? I hear he’s on a diet!
Veronica: No way!
Etc, etc, etc.

So, therefore, the morals of the story.

1. When conversations lead you to the “oh, not much, how are you”
discussions, find a really random topic to discuss. If it’s a good
topic for the two of you, a good conversation will ensue. If it’s not,
you’ll merely be at the same place you started. If it’s so bizarre
that the other person thinks you’re really strange, and thank goodness
they haven’t kept in touch with you, and maybe they’ll just walk away now,
then good, at least they’re gone.

2. If you see someone who will bring about a potential conversation
like the aforementioned one, run in the other direction. If you must walk
by her, become really interested in something around you, like the freckle on your
index finger or the crack on the sidewalk that has an uncanny resemblance to the shape of your township.

3. Don’t ever lose touch with anyone. It’s better to keep an unwanted friendship than have to face an awkward conversation.

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3 thoughts on “Long time no talk!

  1. I don’t know how well your ideal conversation would work, however. I’ve tried initiating the random into old friendships and the other usually doesn’t respond. I think it’s due to the fact that you think you know a person even if you haven’t seen them in years, so you don’t feel the need to talk about mundane things because you think “Oh, we’re past that! We KNOW each other!” But alas, it is not true. I had one of these awkward meetings myself about a week ago, and it wasn’t pretty.

    I also lost touch with my friends from California after we moved (because my address book got lost in the process, and there was no internet! How did we LIVE?), and while some still live in the same places, it would we SO WEIRD to call them after 10 years and be like “Hey. . .how was the rest of elementary school, junior high, and high school?” Too much to discuss in one sitting!

  2. It works!

    One time, in like October of last year, I got an email from Shosh [After we kinda lost touch], and it was all like “I was cleaning my address book, and instead of deleting people, I decided to get back in touch with them. Here’s some random questions:” And what followed were random questions. Look where we are today!

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