I spotted a few people on social media.

Looking at some recommendations, I came across about 5 people who I spent my primary school years knowing, moderately liking and heavily disliking. All of whom I haven’t spoken to for 7 years.

Considering I’ve just left Sixth Form, I was intrigued to see how much these people had grown and matured compared to how I remember them when they were young 10/11-year-olds. One boy (should I say, man) was unrecognisable from the first picture I saw of him, soon getting to put the pre-pubescent version and the 18-year-old him together and noticing the connection.

Others looked very much recognisable, however, the only difference being a very noticeable and obvious maturation in their physical appearance.

I decided to get in touch with one of them — one of the girls who I wasn’t all that close with but who I was comfortable with reaching out to for the first time in the 7 years I haven’t been in the same building as her.

So, I followed her on Instagram, messaged her to say hello and we were in the beginnings of what I assumed to be a very brief and polite conversation. I say that in the past tense, not because the conversation was amazing and it lasted ages, but because the conversation finished prematurely. She literally sent a single message and no more. (Update: About 10 minutes after this was published, she responded and the conversation has resumed.)

And then I thought:

I don’t know her anymore. She’s now a stranger to me and I’m a stranger to her.

Which is obvious when there have been so many years between the last and current conversation.

But it got me thinking of the way I talk to the people who I used to be friends/enemies/associates with.

I mean, my primary years were shit to put it politely; I hated them. I didn’t ever speak to people rudely, neither did I ever intend to be anything but polite and friendly. I guess it was because of the colour of my skin.

But the level of expected politeness and friendliness has soared up and now I’m no longer talking to a “friend”, I’m talking to a stranger whose face I recognise. And it’s the same for her and everyone else. I can’t let loose and be myself and open up and tell him/her personal things. I have to treat him/her like a stranger and I expect he/she feels the same way when talking to me.

It’s a weird feeling really, suddenly coming across someone you spent every school day in close proximity to on a social media page, after years of not seeing them at all. I personally feel like there are three ways to react to such a situation:

  1. Message them with a calm tone asking how they’ve been since you last saw them, in my case, again, 7 years ago.
  2. Message them with utter excitement, exaggerating the amount you’ve missed them and wondering how the heck they’ve been and what’s changed in their lives and you should both meet up again ASAP, for sure.
  3. Ignore it completely because who really cares? If they really wanted to talk to you, they would’ve made the effort to find a way to contact you and message you first. But how likely is that going to be?

My primary school memories are all negative and zero positive. Obviously not one of my classmates are the same as they used to be and because of that reason alone, I am very interested to see how they’ve changed. Although how I would go about seeing how their personalities have developed, I haven’t the slightest of ideas.

All I can say is that it’s an absolute delight seeing how they’ve all grown up and considering I don’t have the confidence to message each of the ones I’ve found to see how they’re doing, I am going to assume they are living the life they each deserve.

Originally posted on my blog: https://medium.com/@bshahriar, July 17th 2016

Published by Bushra Shahriar