How to Start Over and Reconnect with Distant Friends
With the holiday season now over, it is time to start the new year. Around this time, people are raring to make good with their resolutions for the year. It is also a good time to look back, reminisce, and see what has changed over the past year like achievements and failures, as well as the people gained and lost along the way.
You might be thinking of either rekindling old friendships as part of your New Year’s Resolution or simply because you miss having the familiarity of old bonds. Some friendships fade simply because life happens – people change jobs, move cities, or find themselves different life stages. Whatever the reason is, if you find yourself thinking about that person often, it might be good to start reaching out to them and rekindling the friendship.
If you are thinking of reconnecting, you might be wondering where should you start or what would you say. It might help to put yourself in their position and ask “How would I want them to reach out to me?”. Reconnecting with old friends might make you feel uncomfortable, but according to a study, 90% of people who felt anxious before reconnecting reported that it was enjoyable afterward. If you are still unsure of how to do it, here are some steps that might help you to reconnect.
- Little things matter
Reconnecting with old friends does not mean that you have to do everything that you used to do together. Try to eliminate the all-or-nothing mindset in reconnecting. You could start with something small and meaningful.
You could call, message, or email to let them know that you are thinking about them. During this pandemic, you can reach out and ask how they are doing. It can be something along the lines “Hey, how are you? We have not talked in a while.” If you have not been in touch for a while, you could also share what you have been doing to open the conversation.
- Bring up shared memories
Discuss something that you used to enjoy together or what interests both of you. Remind yourself and that person on what brought you together before and how that lead you to reconnect. Nostalgia can help people to feel more socially connected and bringing up old memories can help you to reconnect with old friends.
- Have a plan
When you have already had your initial catch-up, remember to make a concrete plan for your next meet-up. At this frail stage of your friendship, you must make an actionable plan to maintain it. If you do not set a date and time, it is likely that it will never happen. Once you take care of the logistics to get together, it will be easier to follow through.
- Keep it casual
It might make other people uncomfortable if you have not talked in a while and you invite them to meet all your new friends, so it would be better to have a one-on-one get-together with them instead. During this time, ask them open-ended questions that will help them feel comfortable so they can talk about themselves and what they have been doing while you can listen and learn more about them. If you are worried it might get awkward with just the two of you, try to choose an activity to do together like bowling, watching a movie, or going to a sports game. This will give you something else to focus on if things get awkward, and possibly something new that you might bond over.
Entering the new year is not all just about having a resolution and making a new goal; it is also about reflecting on your past self and experiences. If you find yourself wanting to reach out to an old friend for some time but keep putting it off, the new year can be a good time to start doing it. This might make you uncomfortable at first, but with good intentions and effort, you will not fail. Try to find little ways to show that you care and make an effort to build and maintain the friendship. Reconnecting with old friends will remind them that you still value them despite the time that passed, and this will give you something to build in the upcoming year.