Saving things from "just friends" = unusual?

I have never considered myself to be sentimental in any way, shape or form. Old love letters have been unceremoniously tossed, as have old gifts, bills, whatever. I don’t like a lot of clutter. I have kept a few things that I thought other people would like eventually (the outfit each of my kids wore home from the hospital kinds of things), but for the most part, I just don’t keep a bunch of stuff for sentimental purposes only. The caveat to that is I have kept a few things from friends. In particular, a friend I knew when I was a teenager that was in the Marines. While he was stationed in Japan, we kept a fairly frequent pen-pal relationship going. I kept all of his letters and pictures and goodies that he sent me. I did so mainly because we were close friends and some of the things were funny, interesting, etc. I never thought much about it, as he has always been “just a friend.” We remained very close friends for years after he exited the military and only lost contact around the time I graduated high school. Recently, we re-connected via Facebook, and that prompted me to post some of his old pictures (of course in an effort to embarrass him – that’s just the kind of friend I am :smiley: ). His current girlfriend (admittedly a very jealous/obsessive type) threw a tantrum and said that “no one keeps that kind of stuff for 20+ years!” :confused: BWAH?

So, am I the weirdo for still having pictures of a pen-pal and uber-close friend 20+ years on, or is she just a psycho?

FWIW, when I say “friend” I mean friend. We never so much as kissed. We were pen-pals for about a year while he was in the Marines when I was 13-14, and then hung out after that until right before (maybe right after? like within a month one way or the other) of high school graduation, when he moved out of the state. Yes, he is older than I – like 8 years?

The implication this girlfriend is making have pissed me off beyond belief, but I am seriously curious now. Does anyone else still have pictures, cards, etc from old friends you haven’t seen/spoken to in 20+ years?

I’m a guy, and I’ve kept mementos of platonic friendships. Not insignicant things; more like “i should donate this book to to the library to make room for new ones, but my best old ex-friend Dave from college gave it to me, so I shan’t.”

My husband has lots of this stuff, me not so much. I don’t really think either way is “normal”, I think everyone’s different with this sort of thing.

On a more practical level, I can see why it would worry her; so many people do carry a torch for 20+ years, and if she doesn’t know you, why wouldn’t she think you’re one of them? Do you have other pictures, ones not including him, that you could scan and put up in a Facebook album? Might help to convince her that you’re just one of those people who sometimes holds onto stuff, without turning it into a big deal.

Every birthday card I have is from someone who was just friends. Coworkers, dorm mates, classmates.

I have two teddys and a Pillsbury Doughboy that are presents from a FWB and a boyfriend.

I have a couple books I’ve never been able to slug through, but I keep them because they were gifts from friends.

Nope. That doesn’t make you a weirdo. I’ve got pictures of friends from 20+ years ago. Very good friends, but plutonic friends. One of the joys of a pile of pictures is being able to go through them occasionally and rediscover memories that you hadn’t thought of in a long time.

“Dang, I forgot about that concert. That was so cool.” kind of thing.

Would that be friends who you can’t really decide if they’re friends or not?

Or friends that are very very far away?


I pretty much keep anything and everything anyone has ever sent to me. Since I don’t generally keep a journal, it’s pretty much my only account of me, other than my fading memory. I don’t very often look at these things, but, if I start feeling introspective, I will sometimes go back in time with these letters, mementos, etc., to see who I’ve been and who I’ve become. It’s the closest thing I have to time travel.

The funny thing is that when I scanned those pictures, I also scanned a few others of other people and posted it to a new album titled “I almost miss the 80’s.” One of those pictures was of me with 3 classmates which prompted my response in this thread.

Oddly enough, while I can understand her thinking “heh, so she held onto those pictures all these years, maybe she’s a threat” I can’t understand the sentiment that “no one” holds onto pictures. I would understand if I had posted his letters, or his drawings or any number of other things that were personal between us, but pictures? Hell, I am the least sentimental person I know and I don’t throw pictures away, ever.

What makes my lack of sentimentality so funny is that my husband is totally sentimental. As in boxes of old junk. Love letters, etc. I don’t care. He’s married to me, I don’t care if he does still carry a torch or not, so long as he’s still faithful to me, meh. Right? I know I have gotten love letters, those have been thrown away, the only exception being the letters my daughter’s father wrote me while we were still together, but not living together – I saved those for her. They’re not love letters so much as just general “how is the pregnancy, I miss you” kinds of letters. If she doesn’t want them, it’s no skin off my teeth for her to throw them out, y’know?

I would probably discard most “things”, but certainly not photographs. I can’t imagine throwing away pictures of anyone I knew, at any point in my life. Even if I never cared about the person in question, I’d keep pictures because of how powerful they are in capturing the past.

I have lots of fun, now, looking at pictures of things from even 5 or ten years ago. I hope it’ll be even cooler to see how much I’ve changed after 20 or more years, and to remember that part of my life.

You are not at all weird to keep those.

Heh. Just the other day, I was looking in an old music box I have. In it is a stupid little bar of “Antique Soap” (it’s about the size of a piece of motel soap, in a fake antique box). It was brought to me as a souvenir from a guy I had a huge crush on in high school, 35 years ago. I don’t think I’ve seen the guy in almost 30 years. I keep thinking it’s probably time to throw it away, but so far, it’s still there.

The other little music box has a 2" piece of crochet that he did. I’m totally not carrying a torch, but both things remind me of a happy/bittersweet time in my life. So I’ve hung onto them.

Crochet? Ok, so with the username, one would think you might like more manly men, but ok :slight_smile: Funny thing is, I honestly don’t think I have any old flame memories, other than whatever I may have written in my various and sundry yearbooks. That’s what makes this whole thing so absurd. I can’t imagine anyone throwing out pictures. Letters, cards, gifts, sure, but pictures? We’re not even talking about pictures of the two of us together, just pictures he sent me while we were pen-pals. Ugh, it’s good to know I am truly not the odd one here.

Hey, as far as I know, it’s the only bit of crochet he ever did. And I’ve got it. :slight_smile:

It’s weird neither for you to keep stuff from your friends, nor for the girlfriend to be (initially) suspicious. If she continues to be jealous and distrustful of her boyfriend, that says more about their relationship then you. In any case you don’t answer to her. Let the boyfriend take the lead. If he says he’s not comfortable with the mementos right now, back off for awhile with them.

I still have a bible that a friend gave me. If it had been given to me by anyone but him, I probably wouldn’t have even accepted it in the first place. I have no romantic feelings for the guy (in fact, last time I saw him I found him too hard to be around as his mental health is bad and getting worse) but I still have fond memories of the days when we were “bold and strong and waiting for the world to come along”, back when we used to hang out together. I can’t imagine ever throwing the bible away, just as I can’t imagine ever reading it.

I can’t relate to anyone being weirded out by keeping photos… getting rid of photos seems the weirder course of action to me, especially if there’s never been bad blood between you. Still, I can see where an insecure woman might feel threatened by her boyfriend’s long-standing friendship with another woman and would probably tread lightly so as not to make things worse for him.

Another vote for completely normal.

Funny thing is, the gf is making herself a soon-to-be-ex girlfriend with her massive insecurities, so it’s all pretty irrelevant now. Apparently, she also takes issue with his talking to his (4 year old) son on the phone instead of her.

Yeah. As they say, it’s not you, it’s her.

No, they’re the friends from hell.