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Home Advice & How-ToFriends A Guide to Reconnecting with Old Friends

A Guide to Reconnecting with Old Friends

by Pamela Fay

Old friends are like a comfortable pair of your favorite shoes: They just fit.  So when you’ve lost that familiarity, how do you go about reconnecting?  There are many things that get in the way of friendship.  But with technology, you don’t have to let those cherished past relationships drop.  

Your logical side may tell you that too much time has passed, but your heart says otherwise.  Genuine friendships transcend time, distance, family obligations, as well as the myriad changes that have occurred in your life.

Still, it can be intimidating to reach out after so many years.  How do you reconnect?

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Why You Should Reconnect

Perhaps you parted ways after an argument or betrayal.  You may worry that your old friend will no longer be interested.  Maybe they still feel the sting of rejection. Or maybe they will not be able to accept you in your current situation.  To complicate matters even further, you may be embarrassed to have allowed so much time to pass.  But how will you know what could have been if you never even try? 

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Psychologists suggest  that during periods of stress, our need to focus on the positive is strong. We are all living through a time of day-to-day uncertainty and relentless change.  There can be tremendous comfort in reconnecting with the people who knew you when life was much simpler.  These friendships can help ease feelings of loneliness and isolation, allowing us to enjoy the good in our lives. 

How to Reconnect with Someone

Now that you have a reason, how do you make it happen?  First, let’s start with a few ground rules for what not to do:

  • Don’t open with an apology, particularly if it’s about the lack of contact.
  • Don’t offer excuses or tell a meandering story about what happened.

By focusing on apologies and excuses, you bring immediate attention to the negative. That’s no way to rekindle the warm spark of friendship. If you feel the need to explain yourself, you can do it later. Instead make a positive first impression. Here’s how to accomplish that with this handful of do’s: 

  • Do pick up the phone for the most personal touch.
  • Do say that you missed them and want them to be part of your life.
  • Do be enthusiastic and upbeat. 
  • Do make a concrete plan to meet up. 

Regarding email or text messages: They are not the best choice, since your message may get lost in the inbox clutter, leaving you wondering whether your approach was unwelcome.  Admittedly, it takes gumption to pick up the phone and call after a long period of silence.  Remember, also, that if you and your friend are over age 40, this may be how you made your deep connection in the first place.  Just don’t let fear prevent you from making a move.  If the thought of a phone call is too overwhelming, send a letter by snail mail instead. 

Reconnecting with an Ex

What about exes?  It can be tricky connecting with a former boyfriend, girlfriend or spouse.  Their life circumstances and priorities may make it difficult or awkward to re-establish a deeper connection.  People do change and they move on.  Before you call, consider whether you are stirring up negative emotions unnecessarily.  The best practice is to reach out to touch base with them without the expectation of anything more. 

However, if you really are trying to rekindle an old flame, you should be honest about your motives.  Don’t push an in-person meeting if the other person is in a relationship or simply not interested.  And stop trying to contact them if they do not respond. 

Finding the Information You Need to Reconnect

It can be tricky to reconnect with an old friend.  They may have changed homes, jobs, or even their name.  With just a little information, you can find a phone number, email address, mailing address or even social media profiles using a people search engine like Spokeo

Of course, it’s not just that your friend may have new contact information.  It’s that people change, as well, and not always for the better.  If you have any doubts, you can minimize your risk by gathering as much information about them as you can before you call.  You can always ask a mutual friend, or you can creep on their Facebook page.  Still, you may not get the information you need.   

There is a ton of information available online.  Search for your friend’s profile and posts on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram and you can learn a lot about them.  Google them by name and email address, as well.  You can also scan their profile photo into images.google.com to see other places where the image is posted.  Keep in mind, however, that everything you read on social media may not be accurate. 

It can be both frustrating and time-consuming trying to find online profiles.  Plus, you may not get everything you need to make an informed decision.  Spokeo can help you find contact information, even when you only have a maiden name. It can also provide answers to the following questions and more with just a few keystrokes.

  • Do they have online dating profiles?  If so, where are they located?
  • Are they married, living with someone, or raising a family?
  • Do they have a criminal background?
  • Are they employed?
  • What political and social organizations do they belong to?

Before you reconnect, take time to know who you’re dealing with.  People do change.  Spokeo can provide that needed boost of confidence when you decide to reach out.