Sometimes I will go onto Facebook and see an old friend from high school posting pictures, and a sense of longing will crop up in my chest. I’ll remember the summers we spent making home videos in my backyard or sleeping over at her house. I’ll want to comment but it feels too awkward because over the years we have lost touch.
In the midst of growing up, we often lose contact with once close friends. Life takes a sudden turn that moves you across the country, a new job shifts your schedule in an unexpected way, friends start getting married and having kids, and everyone’s priorities shift to meet the demands of their adult lives. While it may be unintentional, growing apart from people we once shared close bonds with can be a painful experience, especially once you start to feel settled into your adult life and feel a longing for those old relationships.
While it’s important to know when to let a relationship go, it is equally important to know when to reach out and rekindle an old friendship. Reconnecting with lost friends is a great opportunity that can yield amazing bonds because you already have a relationship and history to build off of. Here are three steps to reigniting an old friendship, even if years have passed.
1. Reach out
Send a note to see how things are going. Let them know that you’ve been following along on their journey via social media (trust me, you won’t come off that creepy because everyone does it) and that you’ve been missing them in your life. I have found that when I am upfront about missing a lost friendship, the other person is usually experiencing something similar. One day, I even got a phone call from an old friend as I was writing her a message, even though we hadn’t talked in over a year. If you’re feeling drawn back to someone, there’s a good chance they might feel the same way.
2. Do something fun
Don’t just let the conversation end with a “we should get together sometime.” That is the kiss of death that likely brought your friendship to a close in the first place. If you really want to reconnect with someone, make plans and make them concrete. Plan a pub crawl together, or set up a date to revisit some favorite spots you used to frequent when you were younger. Take a cooking class together or go for a hike. Give yourselves the perfect platform to reignite your friendship.
3. Connect on a deeper level
You might rekindle a friendship that will stand the test of time from now on, following you into all the complicated stages of adulthood. Or you might not. But if reconnecting goes well, try to take it to a deeper level. Go to a book club together or set up weekly coffee dates. If you don’t live close by, set up a phone date. When I rekindled a close relationship with a friend who lived across the country, we decided to call each other on Sundays to check in with our personal budget goals and talk about everything that was going on in our lives each week. The accountability factor forced us to keep it up and brought us closer. Make sure you are building your renewed friendship into your routine so it doesn’t fall by the wayside again.
Originally published on March 13, 2019.