The most beautiful discovery true friends make is that they can grow separately without growing apart. ~ Elisabeth Foley
Keeping in touch with old friends is worth the effort. Not only does it keep you happier now, it’s one of the biggest regrets people have when facing death. This was true when my dad was dying of cancer four years ago; he wanted to contact friends from his younger years. Luckily, that was possible and he had some great friends who came to visit and/or called. I don’t want to wait until that point to reconnect with my old friends, and I’m sure you don’t either.
Let’s be honest though, life happens. Time goes by – it even seems like it’s going faster than 10 years ago – so it’s natural to lose touch with past co-workers, college friends, or friends who moved to another neighborhood, city, or even country. Maybe you “keep up” on Facebook, but you aren’t making a one-on-one connection by clicking “like” or giving a quick comment about how delicious their lunch looks (seriously, those pictures always make me hungry).
While we have hundreds of friendships on Facebook, I’m talking about the old friends that you had a deep connection with in the past and have simply lost touch. These are not toxic, unhealthy friendships. Those need to go as they suck your energy and aren’t serving your highest good.
However, healthy friendships (old and new) are important. I tend to move every few years, and I make friends and create deep connections relatively quickly. As a result, each time I move or even change hobbies, some friends start to fade. I know there’s a popular saying that “people come into your life for a reason, season, or lifetime”, but I think some friends can be “seasonal lifetimers”.
One friendship that falls into my seasonal lifetime category is with my friend Amber. Amber and I worked together in San Diego for a little over a year and developed a healthy, fun friendship. We walked around the lake by our work a couple times a week, shared the good and bad parts of our personal lives, learned about our different religious beliefs, enjoyed lunches together, and even kept in touch sporadically after we both left the company.
However, our keeping in touch really came to a halt after I moved to Brazil last year. That is until today. Today I was on my LinkedIn profile when the name Amber popped up on my screen. It wasn’t my Amber, but seeing the name made me think of her, and I decided that now was as good of a time as any to send a quick email. I told myself, “it’s only going to take 5-10 minutes out of your day, just do it”. So I did. The most surprising part to me was how amazing I felt after hitting the send button. Seriously, I was high on sending this email.
So, what did I do next? I sent another email to one of my other “Ambers”. It felt great too, so I decided to share my experience/joy with you in hopes that you will contact your “Amber”. Here are 5 simple ways you can reconnect today.
- Email, Baby. We all have email (unless your friend is like my grandpa who is content to never touch a computer in his lifetime), and you probably still have your friend’s email saved somewhere. Not sure where to start? My subject email was “Hi Amber…It’s Shannon” and I started the email by saying I had been thinking about her and wanted to say hi and see how she was doing. Simple, right?
- Facebook Message. Next time you see a status update or a family/vacation/gourmet dinner photo, instead of hitting “like” and continuing to scroll, send a quick Facebook message. Again, nothing too intense; you don’t need to tell everything you have done the last year. You’re getting a conversation started, and only you guys can decide where that will lead.
- A Good Ol’ Fashioned Phone Call. Now this is my grandpa’s style. Pick up the phone and dial. If your friend doesn’t answer leave a quick message. Even hearing your friend’s voice on the recording will likely boost your mood.
- A Really ol’ Fashioned Postcard. A few years ago I received a postcard from a friend I hadn’t talked to in months. It made my day! Now, I admit, this is not my personal best way to reconnect (I have 5 postcards I bought in January to send to friends/family and still haven’t sent them). If this is your style though, go for it, I know your friend will love it.
- Text Message. If all four examples above seem too difficult/time consuming, grab your cell (I know it’s right next to you) and send a quick text. Plus, you don’t really have to worry about grammar and punctuation, it’s a text after all. (Disclaimer: My pet peeve is receiving texts full of “u” and “r’. But, if a old friend reconnects with me like that, I won’t hold it against him/her!)
Did you think of your “Amber”? Are you ready to reconnect with her/him? Share your experience in the comments below.