Here is the challenge. Just as scaling the organization, as I grew, well, to 30-some, the relationship network I accumulate over the last 20 years started to reach a scale that is hard to manage the old way. Maybe that is the reason why time flies faster and faster. Think of Yifan – he only has about 10 person relationship he needs to manage right now (at the age of 4, parents, grandparents, teachers, and a girl-friend). I have at least 1000 people in my address book that I had once kept pretty close relationship along the way.
Stay with the Past
Although it is so nature that when we move on, the old relationships fade out from the horizon. High-school classmates, past colleges of old companies. There is actually not too many reasons to re-union, but the past is always what defines us today, and science research shows staying with the past makes us happier.
Communication won’t happen automatically, unless you design it to happen. I have friends who hang up photos of his friends. It is a good way to remind people of the persons they care about. Out of sight, out of mind. If there is a way to keep people in sight, it is easier to keep them in mind, and makes the connection easier.
There are Facebook or other tools, but they are not helpful if the person is out of mind. I have to say the most impressive offline event I saw was Carroll’s tree trimming party. There is friend who comes to the party in the last 43 years! A tradition like that will greatly help to keep people connected.
We were away in February and I missed this post! You are right, Jian Shuo– the cultivation and maintenance of a collection of friends takes time, and it also requires at least occasional proximity. Modern social networking has changed that last requirement to a certain extent. I really love being back in touch (through Facebook) with people whose paths have not crossed my own in real life for a very long time. The commenter above, Qingwei, is right that 1000+ people is an extraordinary number of people to call your friend. But I feel sure that if my generation had had the means to maintain connections the way young people like you do today, I would certainly still be in touch with very large numbers (at least that many, if not more) of formerly in-person real friends from high school, college, and previous work places. Even if the connection becomes slight and infrequent, the ability to keep up with the important changes in their lives, and to wish each other well on special occasions remains meaningful. We truly treasure our in-person friends of many decades, but I would also treasure some of the friendships I have lost over the years because of being too lazy to write real letters or make an occasional phone call. In the end, I think life is really all about love, and the memories you make with people you care about. Not possible to have too much/too many of those! :-)