I met Abby on our first day of university. We were studying the same dual degree in Journalism and Advertising and I remembering feeling that immense sense of relief because I knew that I would, at the very least, have one friend amongst the swarms of strangers.
And so over the next four years I could count on Abby to commiserate with over yawn-inducing lecturers, sleep-deprivation, and the dreaded group assignments where we were inevitably grouped with people who frankly didn’t give a shit and were happy to scrape together enough work just to pass. We understood each others performance anxiety and over-achieving mentality where anything less than a high distinction felt like failure. When we graduated Abby scored a highly-coveted government graduate position and so began her working career. I chose to work not in industry but in our business. There, our paths began to diverge. But we were still in the same city, working similar hours so our friendship plodded along. We discussed our ideal jobs, dreamed about one day working for ourselves, and how we would juggle family and career.
Then Sydney called. And the bright lights of opportunity glittered and seduced my friend away to the southern city. I don’t blame Abby for leaving Brisbane. It seems to be almost a right-of-passage for Gen Y graduates to seek better jobs and bigger possibilities from Brisbane’s southern cousins. Hell, there’s even a movie about it aptly titled “All my friends are leaving Brisbane“. The movie was pretty average but the theme was on the money.
Since Abby moved away we’ve kept in touch sporadically. Keeping up with the big events in each others lives – her job promotions and my growing family- but it’s not the same. As she said to me a few nights ago, our friendship got cut off at the wrong time: a victim of circumstance. And that made me sad. Because she is right. You don’t meet many people in your life that you really, genuinely ‘click’ with, but for me Abby is one of them. And yet our friendship has been relegated to intermittent emails and yearly visits and all the minutiae of each others lives are lost to time.
I do take heart, however, that perhaps one day life will find us once again in the same place, our friendship no longer a victim of circumstance.
Tell me, how do you continue the same friendship when you’re no longer in the same place? Does technology really replace actually being there?
Image from here.