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“We all lose friends. We lose them in death, to distance, and over time. But, even though they may be lost, hope is not. The key is to keep them in your heart, and when the time is right, you can pick up the friendship right where you left off. Because even the lost find their way home when you leave the light on…”~ Amy Marie Walz
A thousand reasons
There are a thousand reasons why a friendship may have changed over time. Maybe you grew apart due to aging, maturing, and “adulting.” Maybe you lost your connection because you had to relocate for a new job. Perhaps you fell in love, got married, and had a couple of kids. Or, you had a massive blow-out and vowed never to speak to one another again. Uh-oh!
Life happens. In fact, it can guide you in a totally new direction at any given time. The result? You may grow apart from the people who once felt like “home.” Thus, at some point in your life, a friend or multiple friends will drift out of your life. It’s inevitable. The good news is others will enter your life – some for a brief time and some indefinitely. But, the new people can’t replace the friends you lost, right? I get it.
When you are young, it’s hard to imagine ever growing apart from your BFFs, because you wholeheartedly believe you’ll be friends forever. Your heart says, “That will never happen to me because my friends would never leave me.”
What if you do separate?
But, what if you are wrong and you and your friends separate in the future? Then, what? What if after all these years, you find yourself feeling at-odds or detached from the very people you thought would never leave you? What if your interests, passions, and lives are no longer the same? What if you no longer relate to your friends?
Wait…when did that happen? Who knows? But, your lives are way different now. You’ve grown apart and it saddens you to even admit it. How could you let that happen to your friendships? It now dawns on you how much you really miss them. You desperately want to reconnect, but how?
Is it too late?
No, it’s not. You can reconnect with the friends you’ve grown apart from, and establish even better friendships. However, there are a few things that need to happen first…
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Read the longer version
You can learn more about how to reconnect with friends by reading the following articles: 9 Signs You’re Drifting Away From Your Friend & How To Know If You Should Try To Fix It, 5 Simple Ways to Reconnect with Old Friends, and It’s Been Too Long: 7 Reasons Why You Should Reconnect With Old Friends.
Keep the “good times” at the forefront of your mind
Don’t allow the “bad times” to overshadow the “good times” you had with your friends. Why not? If you constantly re-hash old wounds, your friendships will eventually fade away, and it will be hard to get them back later. So, if you want to reconnect with the friends you have grown apart from, you’ll need to keep the “good times” in the forefront of your mind.
In other words, you’ll need to think about the times that you laughed and had fun with each other. Thus, you’ll need to recall the “happy times” you spent together. Talk about those times and share funny stories of your adventures together.
On the flipside, others enter our lives repeatedly and have a repetitive purpose in our lives. In other words, they come and go when we need them or when they need us. That is their purpose in our lives. The sooner we accept that, the easier it is to reconnect with friends who are meant to be there for the long-haul. Keep in mind that some people enter our lives for a “season” – for a specific purpose. When that purpose has been fulfilled, they leave.
Make the first move
Someone has to make the first move, so why not you! Reach out with a phone call, text, private message, or email to let them know you miss them. Make sure to give them time to process your move once you’ve made contact with them. Then, proceed, if the “vibe” seems positive.
Invite them (separately or as a group) to meet you at a coffeehouse, the mall, a sporting event, for dinner, etc. Making the first move signals to your friends you are serious about reconnecting.
Make sure the initial contact is respectful, light, easy, and brief. Don’t use this time to re-hash old hurts or bring up things from the past.
You’ll also need to apologize if there is something you should apologize for. If you’ve done absolutely nothing wrong to cause your friends to drift away from you – great! However, if you said or did something to offend, anger, or hurt your friends, you’ll need to suck it up and say, “I’m sorry.” You can do this through a phone call, letter, text, private message, or email.
Be totally honest with yourself and your friends. Understand that this rift may have caused them to feel resentment, pain, or anger towards you – emotions that may be reawakened after you apologize. This is why it’s so important to give them time, before contacting them again.
Your friends need time to process what you said and how they feel, before determining if they want to take the next step. Be patient and wait to see if they contact you. If not, try again, but brace yourself, in case the next call, text, letter, or email doesn’t go as you had hoped. Regardless of what happens, asking for forgiveness when you’ve hurt someone is always the right thing to do.
Let it go
Next, you’ll need to “let bygones be bygones.” In other words, forgive. Your friends may never apologize or even acknowledge they hurt you way-back-when, but that doesn’t matter. Yes, it will sting not to get an apology, however, forgiving is not solely for them, it’s also for you.
You’ll never be able to fully move on with your life if you continue to carry the hurt and pain on your shoulders. And, you’ll never be able to reconnect with your friends if you don’t forgive.
Try not to cancel plans
If you and your friends decide to give your friendships another go, try not to cancel any plans you make with them. Why? Because, if you continually cancel on plans, your friends will start to believe you’re not serious about reconnecting. Then, you’ll lose them all over again. Stick to your plans and go…even if you don’t want to. Be honest with yourself and don’t make plans with your friends if you aren’t ready to commit.
What should you do if something comes up? Reschedule with them. Things happen, if something pops up that prevents you from meeting with your friends, apologize, explain the situation, and ask for a “rain check.” And, if your friends invite you to an event etc., go! Make time for your friends and be excited about spending time with them. Your enthusiasm will show your friends just how much you want to reconnect.
About the Author
Dr. R. Y. Langham
Ph.D. in Family Psychology
Ree has a Master’s in Marriage and Family Therapy (M.M.F.T.) and a Ph.D. in Family Psychology. She spent over ten years counseling families, couples, individuals, and children on adjustment issues such as blended families, same-sex couples, dysfunctional family relationships, relationship issues, etc. Now she writes for famous health organizations and is a published author.
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