Reconnecting with Family & Friends

In this series, I’ve explored various facets of the complicated world of connecting with others. We’ve learned about the importance of first impressions, how to work at building relationships, and why having a sense of community can be so beneficial. To finish off this series, I’d like to discuss the value in reconnecting or rekindling relationships.

In today’s digital age, we can look up an old friend, flame, or family member and often uncover quite a bit about their lives. We may even ‘friend’ or follow them, but what is it that occasionally makes us want more out of that now-defunct relationship? Is it because we truly miss them and cherish the memories? Or is it obligation or concern? Perhaps it’s because we are lonely or nostalgic, and feel that it’s easier to rekindle a relationship than start fresh with someone new; kind of ‘the devil you know’ scenario? Whatever our reasons, there’s a lot of good that can come from reconnecting with people who were once very special to us. It can fill a void, enrich our life, or simply put a smile on our face knowing we’ve ‘got the band back together’.

When relationships fail

Sometimes we don’t even know how we fell out of contact with friends and family. It’s amazing how fast time passes if we don’t make a conscious effort to keep in touch. We may part ways because of work, school or family obligations, and because keeping up was too much work at the time. Other times we stop connecting because of an argument that we, or they, just can’t get past. Misunderstandings and wrongdoings often tear relationships and families apart. Rebuilding those relationships can take a bit of work, but if we’re committed to trying, then we can at least sleep at night knowing that we’ve done our best. However, if a relationship is toxic, then it’s never in our best interest to pursue that.

They key is to reflect on those issues when thinking about rekindling, and asking ourselves: “Is this still important to me and will I put in a good effort?”. If the answer is yes, then by all means let’s reach out and see what’s out there! We have little to lose and so much to gain.

How to reconnect with success

Now that we have a good understanding of why we’re reconnecting, there’s only one thing left – getting started. Sure, there’s a chance that we may not hear back, or we may get an earful about past grievances, but we can’t worry about those ‘what ifs’. We’re certainly no worse off for having tried. Our egos can handle it; we’re pretty tough, and frankly, we don’t want to pursue something that isn’t mutual.

Here are a few tips for getting started:

  • Connect with sincerity – not just a ‘happy birthday’ message on Facebook
  • Pick up the phone or request to meet up
  • Let go of past grudges – agree to start fresh
  • Acknowledge that we have changed and grown, and they have too
  • Rebuild trust that has been broken, be genuine and compassionate
  • Find out what they are passionate about and try to find mutual interests
  • Make new memories together, instead of just recalling old ones

I’ve made an effort recently to reconnect with friends from university and other areas whom I haven’t seen for a long time. It’s been amazing. Moving forward, I’ll make more of an effort on an ongoing basis, because when we make our meaningful relationships a priority, we are much less likely to fall out of touch. If you’ve got someone from your past that you are thinking of fondly, go ahead and take the risk and reach out. Our lives are richer because of the people we share life with, and when you know you’ve got something special, it’s always worth the effort.

“Let us be grateful to the people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.” – Marcel Proust