DEAR HARRIETTE: Every time I see a certain friend from home, he spends the whole time together going down memory lane. This is a bit awkward since we actually see each other a few times a year. We have full lives -- or at least I do -- and I rarely reminisce about what I did in middle school, high school or college. We are well into our 50s now. How can I get him to talk about current days? It’s almost as if his happiness resides in the past, so that’s all he wants to think about. I don’t share that sentiment, and I do not want to stop and drum up old stories all the time. -- Be Here Now
DEAR BE HERE NOW: Next time you see this fellow, ask him about his life today. If he reverts to yesteryear, bring him back. Find out whatever you can about who he is now. Is he married? Does he have children? What’s going on for him? Perhaps he finds peace in the past because he has suffered some kind of challenge. Try to figure out what it is. Do your best to get him to talk to you about now. This may push him away or shut him down. That’s OK, especially if you are unwilling to continue reminiscing with him.
Also, listen closely to see how coherent he is. There is a chance he is suffering memory loss. Sometimes people get stuck in the past when that’s the only safe place for their minds to rest. You cannot do anything about that, but if it seems to be the case, you may be able to muster up a bit more compassion when talking to him.