With the Internet, it's easier than ever to find and connect with people from your past. According to a Pew Research Center survey mentioned in a CNN article, 70 percent of people have gotten in contact with an old friend via the Internet. Although bridging the past may seem daunting, reconnecting can be easy and rewarding.
How to Reconnect with a Friend
Think about if you really do want to reconnect. Reconnecting with old friends can be rewarding, but before you pursue the old friend, think about why you disconnected and why you want to reconnect. Did you have a falling out? Did you move far away, get married, change jobs? (If you bear some fault in letting the relationship go, be prepared to offer an explanation at some point.) Sometimes people change and friends simply drift apart. If that's the case, consider what you want out of a reconnection. To become friends again? To briefly catch up?
Locate the old friend. With the Internet, this can be very easy. Google, Facebook and LinkedIn are all good sources for finding people. You may also be able to get contact information from a high school or college you attended together.
Decide how to connect. It's important to connect with an old friend in a nonthreatening, noninvasive way. Don't show up at her doorstep! Consider your relationship with the person. Is it someone you worked with? Maybe it's best to send a message on LinkedIn. A friend from high school? Maybe get in touch on Facebook. Are you friends on Facebook but haven't talked in a long time? Sending an email might be a good idea. If you were very close friends, writing a letter or sending an email suggesting that you set up a time to talk on the phone or on Skype might be appropriate.
Decide what you want to say, and then say it. Be clear about what you want. Do you want an update via email? Send an update about yourself and then ask about the other person. Do you want to talk on the phone? Ask if you can call or Skype sometime. Do you want to meet in person? Suggest a lunch or coffee date. If you're nervous about an awkward meeting, consider meeting as part of a group. For example, if your friend recently moved to your town, invite him to a happy hour, party or other social gathering to help him meet new people while giving you a chance to catch up. If there is something you need to explain about how or why you disconnected in the first place, you may want to wait to see if you are invested in rekindling the friendship before you discuss the issue. If only a small apology or explanation is needed ("I'm sorry I lost touch after I moved to Kansas."), then it's fine to say it up front.
Paige Johansen has been writing professionally since 2003. She holds a B.A. in psychology and English from Cornell University and an M.F.A. in fiction writing from The University of Virginia. Between degrees, she worked in the fashion industry for two years.
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