The Friends I Lost (But Still Have To See On Facebook)

My best friend from middle school is now married to some blonde girl named Cassie or Kendall and looking at their wedding pictures on Facebook makes me feel so many things. Or maybe nothing at all. I can’t really tell actually because the internet makes my emotions all smudgy. When I think of my best friend from middle school though, I don’t think of him getting married to a Cassie or a Kendall. I think of sitting next to him as he received a hand job from underneath a table from a girl during fifth period and I think of the two of us listening to the Misfits in my bedroom and I think of all the sleepovers and I think of that time I saw him at a house party when we were both seniors in high school and how we both felt like we had seen a ghost. I was then openly gay and he had become a Republican. It was weird. Anyway, another one bites the dust.

There was a girl I was best friends with from Kindergarten to eighth grade. We lost touch in high school and now she posts status updates about receiving electric shock therapy for her bipolar disorder. (I wish I was kidding.)

The first boy I ever kissed and hooked up with lives in Europe now. He works at some clothing store and has a girlfriend, which I’m not surprised about, considering he never was out of the closet. I just knew he was gay because, well, we can smell our own. He seems happy and sometimes I think about messaging him but only when I’m drunk and think about how big his penis was. (It was huge.)

When I moved to New York over four years ago, one of my first friends was this wild party girl from L.A. who I had originally met on Livejournal. At the time, I was lonely and needed friends so I would go over to her apartment in the West Village and we would get drunk and order grilled cheeses from next door. We took a lot of pictures together and posted them on the internet which made us seem closer than we really were. Our friendship was brief because after five months of living in the city, she went back to California to go to rehab for the second or third time. She never came back and now, according to her Facebook, she’s sober, happy, and engaged.

One of my  other best friends in middle school was a depressed suicidal girl who shocked my small religious private school by wearing short skirts, cursing at teachers, and occasionally self-mutilating with a pocketknife during Spanish class. I was intrigued by her because she wasn’t like anyone else at my school. They all lived in nice houses with their loving parents who dropped them off at school every day on their way to work or, in the mother’s cases, to play tennis. Meanwhile, my parents had recently divorced and lost all their money so I related to this girl as being the outsider, as being one of the few people at our school who had been dealt a bad hand. We became close very quickly and I would spend hours on the phone with her every day, becoming obsessed with her well-being since I knew she was so fragile. My sixth grade teacher (a tired old woman with a fondness for wearing colorful berets and dramatic eye make up) once screamed at me to get my own identity but I couldn’t. I was bizarrely fixated on saving this girl. Things eventually came to a head when, after getting off the phone with me, she tried to kill herself by swallowing bleach and taking a handful of pills. She survived and I visited her in a mental hospital in Pasadena a few weeks later. Not wanting to come empty-handed, I remember stopping by a Borders in Thousand Oaks to buy her some magazines but the guards ended up confiscating most of them, including an issue of Cracked magazine because there was a parody of the movie Scream on the cover and they thought that would remind the patients too much of dying. After our visit, we sort of lost touch. I think she was sent to some school in Utah, although I’m not really sure. Sometimes I try to Google her name to see what came of her but I never get any results. It’s better this way, I think. It’s better not to know what happened to her. It’s better not knowing most things about people that once mattered to you but that’s a luxury no one can seem to afford these days. TC mark

Ryan O'Connell

I'm a brat.


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  • Carly Fowler

    That last one hurt to read considering I had a friend like that. However, she became more of the abusive friend later on.

  • Nicasio98

    Best line ever: ”
     Or maybe nothing at all. I can’t really tell actually because the internet makes my emotions all smudgy.”  Indeed. 

  • LL Trinity

    This article reminded me that there is a huge difference between knowing somebody’s life and knowing somebody’s life. Thank you, Ryan. I think I will delete a few dozen people of my friends list now.

  • LL Trinity

    This article reminded me that there is a huge difference between knowing somebody’s life and *being in somebody’s life. Thank you, Ryan. I think I will delete a few dozen people of my friends list now.

  • Realecornelius

    nostalgia at its worst.

  • Guest

    so you were friends with a republican guy who married a generic woman, the first person you kissed is closeted and lives in europe with his “girlfriend,” a childhood friend is bipolar and is undergoing ect, you had a drunk friend and she got sober, and a tawdry tale of an attention whore (like yourself) who doesn’t come up in a google search (ooh the mystery)

    the guy that wrote “nostalgia at its worst” couldn’t be so right on. 

  • There

    You don’t have any problems aging 15 years won’t solve.

    • Anonymous

      How narrow-minded, ageist and superior of you!

      • Anonymous

        Ooh didn’t know ageist was a word. cool! thx

  • Anonymous

    I felt like I was watching your biopic reading this, and it reminded me, for someone who writes so often, how infrequently you write like this about yourself and your past. It’s like a special treat.

  • Anonymous

    Girls were giving hand jobs underneath the table in 5th grade?  I’m even more of a late-bloomer than I thought. 

    • Raeesahlaisah93

      He said fifth period not fifth grade…

      • LP

        But it was still in middle school so a couple grades difference…

  • Guest

    Your articles are my favourite on TC! 

  • Anna

    I’ve unsubscribed from my high school best friend’s newsfeed.  She’s married now, pregnant and due in a month or two.  I’d rather see the wedding photos of a dozen ex-boyfriends than watch her live the life we mapped out so carefully as kids, and I have no idea why.

  • Guest


  • Lily Diana

    You’re great. We should be friends. 

  • Daily TC Reader

    This is the type of article that made me love ryan in the first place. Ryan please do more of these

  • Casey

    This article is easy to relate to because it is
    about Facebook friends who we are no longer actually friends with.  I always find myself browsing through random
    pages and seeing what is going on in people’s lives through their posts and
    pictures.  I am constantly updated on who
    is engaged, married, and pregnant.
                Facebook has made it easy to
    know where your old classmates are without even having to ask them.  Although it may be awkward at high school
    reunions when you finally bump into these people again, it does make it
    interesting to see the people you view on a computer screen in real life again.
                Facebook “friends” are not
    always friends, however many people are still okay with requesting people from
    their old high schools to be their friend. 
    It is nice to know that the people you once associated with or bumped
    into in the hallways of school are still doing well.

  • Friends Fornever | feelosophical

    […] I was reading Ryan O’Connell’s piece called ‘The Friends I Lost (But Still Have to See on Facebook)’ on Thought Catalog, I could hear bells ringing and light bulbs flashing off in my head as I thought […]

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