Miss Manners: Internet dilemma: Reconnect or disconnect?

June 10, 2012

DEAR MISS MANNERS: What do you make of the practice of old high school/college classmates reconnecting with someone only when a major life event is taking place?

A friend and I became acquainted while we were college classmates and maintained a friendship over the years. Seven years ago, other things began to take precedence over us keeping in touch, I guess. She moved away and I remained.

Flash-forward to present day: I got a call from my ex-husband, saying that she had come across his name/profile on LinkedIn and wanted his help in passing her contact info along to me (she obviously no longer had mine).

I knew immediately that she was either getting married or engaged, or was having a baby. I don’t know how I knew this, but it turns out my intuition was well placed.

When we finally connected, she was all chatty — “Girlll, it has been ages since we’ve talked! You are the only one I remembered from the Glee Club!” She then went on to tell me that she wanted my address so she could send me a wedding invitation.

Now mind you, she was in my home town last year, but obviously didn’t feel motivated enough to reach out to me then — until now, when she’s getting married.

I just think it is so interesting when people feign concern for another person, when clearly there is another agenda. For me, this has occurred on more than one occasion.

In a reversal of the situation, when I was compiling my wedding guest list, I did not feel compelled to reach back and invite people who I had not been in contact with in over 10, 15 years. I felt it appropriate to invite only friends/family who I had remained in contact with.

To me, it would have been phony to reconnect with long-lost people only for the purpose of engaging them in the “special moment,” especially if I truly had not been motivated to keep up with them in other, less glamorous life moments.

Am I getting bent way out of shape? What is the best way to react to this type of overture should it happen again?

For the record, I played along and did attend her birthday celebration, which was taking place in my home town during the same weekend as her wedding shower. I declined the RSVP to her wedding, however.

GENTLE READER: Isn’t half the Internet taken up with people trying to reconnect with their old classmates — or at least trying to discover that they turned out badly?

And isn’t it possible that a similar impulse — well, the nostalgic one, rather than the vindictive one — moves people to include old friends at important events?

As you did not have such feelings, you were right to decline the wedding invitation. Miss Manners is only trying to assuage your cynicism.

DEAR MISS MANNERS: What should you do with an engagement ring after a divorce? Should you sell it, keep it, etc.? It was already agreed for the ex-wife to keep the ring and not return it to the ex-husband.

GENTLE READER: There must be some formula for this, weighing a former wife’s feelings about the husband and about the ring. For example, if she hates him but loves it, throwing it in his face, or in the river, would provide short-term satisfaction and long-term regret. In any case, Miss Manners recognizes that the ring is hers, and she gets to decide what to do with it.

Visit Miss Manners at her Web site, www.missmanners.com, where you can send her your questions.

2012, by Judith Martin

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