4 Ways to Reconnect with Old Friends
posted on March 5, 2019 | by Sanhita Mukherjee
Friends who moved to a different city, friends whose lives are drastically different from yours, friends you used to party with in college but don’t really hang out with anymore… By the time we are in our twenties, most of us will have at least a few friends in each of these categories.
We lose a lot of friends in our twenties – that’s only natural. If you’re lucky, you’ll still have a few old friends whom you hang out with all the time. Or the ones you can just call and pick up right where you left off. But you’ll likely have countless more people with whom your only interaction is the occasional birthday message on Facebook.
Which brings me to another category of friends that many of us have in our twenties – friends we’ve fallen out of touch with, but wish we hadn’t. Reconnecting with someone can feel as complicated as going on a date (Will they think it’s weird you texted? How much is too much? What if they’re still mad about that fight you had that one time?) And the more time goes by, the more difficult it becomes to just pick up the phone and call.
So if you’re thinking of making the move, hopefully these tips will help you avoid some of the awkwardness and uncertainty of rekindling a friendship.
Be selective about the friends you want to reconnect with
If you are really looking for a meaningful reconnection, make sure you and this person shared a real bond to begin with. As you get busy with paying bills and the other not-so-fun parts of adulthood, you could simply be feeling nostalgic about people you shared fun times with.
So if your friendship was just based on keg parties and classroom gossip, you may find your conversation tapering out after you’re done reminiscing about the good old days. You can still drop them a message to say hi, but don’t go in expecting them to become your new BFF. On the other hand, if this person was someone you really used to be close to, you have a more solid foundation to your friendship – and your friend is more likely to want to reconnect, too.
Send out feelers
When you’ve not spoken to someone for years, it may be weird to suddenly start texting them and inviting them for brunch out of the blue. Start small – maybe by congratulating them on a job promotion or by asking them about the cool vacation they just posted about. Rather than just commenting on their post with a one-word greeting, send them a slightly more personal message. Their response will help you figure out if they’re happy to hear from you.
Do be genuine about the things you say though. Don’t go overboard telling them how cute their new kitten is, if you’re not a cat person. Such white lies are easily caught out and can ruin any chance of rekindling the friendship.
Tell them about it and see if they’re on board
Once you’ve had a chance to catch up a bit, tell them honestly that you’d like to make more of an effort to keep in touch. Unless your friend actually knows that you’re trying to rekindle the friendship (and is on board with it!), you won’t get very far. They will likely be confused about you making so many plans with them all of a sudden – and you’ll end up feeling resentful at always being the one reaching out.
This is where you also need to address why you stopped talking in the first place. If you had a fight or a falling out of some kind, make sure you’re in a place where you can forgive and move on. And if you were in the wrong, be prepared to make amends. On the other hand, if you had just grown apart due to distance or lack of time, figure out how you can prioritize your friendship, this time around.
Respect the fact that they may have changed a lot
Our twenties are filled with big life changes, so don’t be surprised if your friend is very different from what you remember. The person you used to sneak out of classes with may be running her own business now, or busy being a super responsible mom! Likewise, your tastes, schedules, and priorities may have changed too.
Respect these changes – and plan around them. Hitting happy hours might have been your way to bond in the past, but that will no longer be feasible if your friend usually works late or has a toddler in tow. Figure out a time and activity that works well for the people you are now, instead of trying to recreate the fun times you used to have in the past.
You’ll also need to get to know your friend anew, so plan activities where you can really chat one-on-one. A simple coffee date or a brunch is a better option here than say, going to a workout class together (where you can’t really talk) or a huge party (where there will be too many new people).