The Code Between Friends Made Before the Age of 21

by Nina Badzin
Originally Published: 

You might find it helpful even if you do live in the same city as some of those old friends because life is busy, and it’s easy to let too much time pass between non-texting non-emoji-filled face-to-face chats with the people who knew you before Mark Zuckerberg was even a thought in his parents’ minds.

The Code

1. We will email, text, and use Facebook when we have no other choice, but these methods of communication will never compare to hearing each other’s voices and having a conversation on the phone if we cannot find our way to the same place at the same time. We will not pretend that seeing each other’s pictures online is the same as being at an event together. But we will accept that it’s better than nothing and humbly thank the Lords of the Internet for allowing these easy glimpses into each other’s lives.

2. Even if those coveted face-to-face conversations happen once every five years or less, they will be so fulfilling and genuine that it will seem as if no time has passed. We will easily pick up where we left off because our friendship is in a category all its own. In some cases, we’ve never seen each other’s living rooms and kitchens, or children, but we’ve seen the acne, the broken hearts, the humiliations, and in some cases, the trauma. Some of us will find it so hard to believe that we’re the adults now that having a friendship frozen somewhere in 1993 will be reason enough to stay in touch. We can witness for each other that those years happened, that the memories are real, and that we were once young.

3. We will so closely associate certain songs and movies from the ’80s and early ’90s with each other that even just hearing the titles will unlock memories that we’ll have to share on the spot. We will text each other if “For Just a Moment” from St. Elmo’s Fire or anything from REO Speedwagon randomly plays on the Love station, and we will remember calling into Delilah’s show and waiting by the boom box for her to choose one of our songs.

4. We will know that any question pertaining to each other’s family members that might sound like casual small talk coming from anyone else is indeed a real question. “How’s your dad?” “How’s your sister?” These questions mean something, and their answers will mean even more because we know each other’s family members from so many angles. We will know that time apart does not erase having known each other as full people with parents, siblings, grandparents, and cousins and having essentially lived at each other’s houses, dorm rooms, and in each other’s cars.

5. We will not remind each other (aloud) about stupid mistakes we made back in the day, like people we never should have dated, times we drank too much and said too much, or the phases in our lives when we let our friendship fade too much. None of that matters. We are here now. And if we can’t be there, we will understand that, too.

6. We will get that there is a current life with responsibilities and struggles and even joys that neither of us is a part of for the other because of distance, time, and reality. We will not hold this against each other or pretend that pictures on Facebook changes that fact. We will just get it. Our friendship will exist in that rare time and space protected from the drama of hurt feelings. We’ve been through enough middle school, teenage, and college angst together that our taste for it as adults has long since passed (at least with each other).

7. Most importantly, we will love each other unconditionally because our memories are too precious to let conditions get in the way.

This post originally appeared on the author’s blog.

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