Over the Christmas holiday one of my dearest childhood friends was visiting me in my new apartment. As she walked throughout my place she stopped in front of one of my photographs that was hanging on the wall. “You took this right?” she asked me. “Yes,” I replied while she continued to look at it. Finally she said, “This is a cool picture.” I found it amusing that after probably seeing this picture about a hundred times in my old apartment (and the apartment before that) that suddenly she was noticing this particular photograph as if for the first time. A while later I told her that I’ve noticed from her posts on Facebook that she’s been doing a lot of volunteer work. I also told her I was floored by how many Facebook friends she had amassed in such a short amount of time. It surprised me not because I don’t think my friend is great, on the contrary I think she’s pretty awesome, but because I always thought of her as more of the quiet, introverted type. During our college years my friend was practically a hermit, but then again she was busy not only getting married and raising two little ones, but was hard at work attaining her medical degree. If you had asked her two years ago about anything relating to social media networking she would have given you a blank look. However, today she uses FB as a platform to effectively mobilize people to humanistic, medical causes that she’s passionate about. “You know,” I told her, “not everyone knows how to effectively network. I think they write manuals for this kind of thing and here you are using FB to the fullest.” Which led me to ask my friend, “Do we ever really know our friends? Do we sometimes get too stuck in seeing them in a certain light and don’t realize that they may have another skill set or interests that we know nothing about?” After contemplating these questions she told me that recently she had attended a high school reunion. Catching up with one of her former classmates, she was surprised not at the fact that he had become an award-winning journalist, but more so that in his spare time he volunteers at a children’s hospice. “I always knew that he was very intelligent and well read,” my friend told me “but I never thought of him as the kind of person that gravitated towards working with children under these types of circumstances. I was pleasantly surprised.” That evening my friend and I realized that people have many layers and sides to them that sometimes for a multitude of reasons we fail to notice. I guess sometimes we are like my childhood friend who never really noticed my photograph until it was hanging on a different wall in a new place. Maybe one of our New Year’s resolution should be not to pigeonhole the people that we know by our preconceived notions of them, but to realize that perhaps there is another side to them that can be pretty awesome. Cheers to all my friends’ snazzy sides that I don’t know about, but hope to find out about in 2012!

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