October 23, 2020

Getting In Touch With Old Friends

When I wrote my blog post recently about what I imagined it might be like to be a celebrity, I mentioned some celebrities I'd met here or there over the years. Almost as an afterthought, I wrote of my friendship with Adam Grant in high school. I wasn't sure if anyone reading my post would know who he is, so I was surprised when some people commented about being fans of his.

Adam and I became close friends in high school after meeting in an AOL chatroom. My memory these days is terrible, but for some reason, I can remember so many random things from when we would hang out back then. We lost touch sometime after I went to visit him at Harvard during his freshman year. He had moved to Boston, and I was still in Michigan, and back then, it was harder to keep in touch with people.

Here is a photo from that Boston trip. I'm cringing at my "1999-2002" look--hair dyed reddish, cut very short, dark lipstick, and a choker necklace.

We'd emailed once or twice after I had Noah, but then lost touch again. I tried emailing him every couple of years with no reply. I knew NOTHING of his career until one day a few years ago when I saw a tweet on my Twitter feed by "Adam M Grant" that someone I was following had retweeted. I was confused for a second, because I didn't really understand what I was seeing--the photo looked an awful lot like the Adam Grant I'd been friends with, and then I clicked over to his profile and was blown away.

Apparently, in the time we'd lost touch, he became hugely successful--becoming a professor at Wharton, writing all sorts of best selling books, giving TED talks, recording podcasts--and I had no idea. I was super impressed (although I honestly was not surprised, because he was always very smart and determined).

I wrote him an email (yet again), but didn't receive a response. I thought maybe it was because I'd sent it to his old email address and since we were officially "grown-ups" now, he may have a new one (you know, considering we were in our 30's, haha). I tried Facebook to no avail. 

I tried again a couple more times, but I knew he probably received a shit-ton of email and I wasn't sure if he was even seeing mine. I even had this pit in my stomach that maybe I'd said or did something to offend him back in the day, causing him to not talk to me. I used to tease him (good-naturedly, at least in my mind!) about being a "Harvard nerd".

SO, in getting to the point of this post, I'm so glad that I wrote about him on my blog--because he emailed me! I had tweeted him the link to my blog post, hoping that seeing the photo of him in Boston would at least catch his attention, and behold the power of social media--he sent me an email that sounded just like the same old Adam I remember. Very kind, funny, and a little nerdy ;)

I was so happy to finally hear from him. He told me if I'd used MY old email address (which was also my old, very juvenile AOL username, haha) that he'd have noticed my emails much sooner.

I don't know if we'll stay in touch from here (I'd like to) but regardless, I feel like a huge weight has been lifted off of me. Not that I felt I did something wrong or that I harped on it all these years, but it was always in the back of my mind that our friendship just seemed to disappear without explanation. I wanted to know why, and when he didn't reply to my email attempts, I questioned myself about whether I did something wrong.

Sometimes I really hate technology and social media because it has the potential to bring out the worst in people, but I love when good things happen because of it--like my blog readers sending Mark get well cards in the months before he passed away, my parents finding their stolen bikes via a Facebook post, and now getting in touch with a friend I thought I'd never hear from again!

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