We have probably all felt it: you used to be close to someone, but you’ve fallen out of touch because one of you has moved, school is over, you’ve stopped working together, etc., then when you seen them again they act like they don’t know you, and things feel weird. Take heart, this is more likely to be because of some insecurity on their part rather than having anything to do with you.
I remember when I came back to NJ for an engagement party. There were several people I had known from my high school days. I’d spent a lot of time with them, ate lunch with them, considered them friends. Yet, when I saw them at the party, I flatly ignored them. Ignored. I had gained about 60 lbs since I’d left high school (no joke, not proud of it, hated myself in spades because of it) and the embarrassment of having gained so much weight, the obvious message that I’d let myself go, the belief on my part that these people had lived absolutely perfect lives and were all fabulously happy and doing wonderfully created in me this curiously stomach churning mix of embarrassment, jealousy/envy, self-protection, and shame (even though I knew no one would mention it directly, I didn’t want to see the pity, horror, smug delight, or whatever in their eyes). I am pretty sure I could not have handled it. Instead I slapped on a persona of haughty dislike, and flashed my not unimpressive wedding ring set around* (see footnote for more on this).
I am sure I confused people with my behavior, and probably hurt them. I walked right past people I knew, I avoided conversations, I acted as if I was better than and above all the people I knew, yet the reality was that I felt lower than an ant. Interesting how that works, eh?
The next time you see someone whom you used to be close with, and they ignore you and act as if they are superior in some way, see if you can feel some compassion. I will bet there’s a lot going on inside that you can’t see. They may actually be in a world of hurt. It does not excuse poor behavior by any means, but it may soften your heart and make you more understanding.
*Now, I have to say my rings are not ridiculously extravagant by any means, but they are flashy, and I took a lot of strength from that external source. Incidentally, I actually have stopped wearing my wedding ring set. Not because it has anything to do with my marriage, but because I found that I would get up in the morning and put my rings on like armor. I derived my self-esteem and sense of worth from metal and stone and I didn’t want to do that anymore. I know a day is coming (it’s close, I know) when the rings will just be symbols of marriage and nothing else, but that day isn’t here yet. In some strange way, they keep me from being present and from feeling real feelings. For example, I meet someone who I feel is above me in some way (more pretty, more intelligent, etc.) and I subtly display the rings as if to say, “See, someone loved me enough to get me these and now you might think we have money, or we have prestige, or I'm worth something.” But when I don’t have them, I am free to be me, and forced to rely on the strength of my own character. In some ways it makes me more vulnerable, more open, and more honest. To exit the one up/one down game and give myself as I am at that moment. To only be me. You might find all this strange, but it’s true.