One day I ran into two of my best friends from middle school at a museum. We had slowly drifted apart in high school, and fell out of touch as we headed off to different colleges; this was the first time I’d seen them in years. We exchanged pleasantries, and it was genuinely nice to see them again. I learned that one was studying nursing and the other was taking a year off school to qualify for the US Olympic Badminton team. And, like one often does when running into an old friend, we half-heartedly said we should hang out sometime, exchanged numbers and parted ways.
I never expected to hear from them again, but to my surprise I got a text from them two days later, inviting me to the Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles. We ended up spending a lovely evening together, catching up and enjoying each others’ company just like old times.
I realized that I had a lot to learn from these girls about the value of relationships. I didn’t think we’d be in contact any time soon, and I never would have thought to be the initiator. But when friendships fade out, it’s usually a two-way street of not wanting to be the one to reconnect first.
Relationships need exercise, just like cars. If they’re not taken out for a drive every so often, they’re more likely to fall into disrepair. But that doesn’t mean that a rusty relationship can’t be polished up, and really, all it takes is one person to initiate it.
If we live in a cold region, chances are we spent much of winter in “hibernation,” secluded from others. Spring is an opportunity to reunite with people we haven’t seen in a while, and to rekindle old friendships!
You never know how someone can change your life until you let them. This experience made it clear to me that anybody can become an important part of our lives, even if we haven’t spoken to them in a while. Then aren’t all good relationships worth keeping and investing in, especially those that help us become a better version of ourselves?
Do you have a friendship you want to rekindle, but don’t know where to start? Here are some re-friending tips to help you begin:
Be the Initiator. Sometimes someone from my past will pop into my head. I’ll wonder how they’re doing, and then spend a few minutes stalking their Facebook page. Instead of doing that, what if I decided to send them a Facebook message or a text?
Follow through. Pleasantries are nice, and so is the thought of catching up over coffee. But the number of times the sentence “We should grab coffee sometime!” is exclaimed is disproportionate to the number of coffee dates that actually take place. How many times do you say that sentence and mean it? What if you said that sentence, and then followed it with another: “When are you free?”
Vocalize. Did you enjoy your coffee date? Tell your friend, and let them know that you’d like to do it again! Do you value your friendship? Tell them so, and tell them why! Do you value their unique insight, or their positivity, or the fact that you two just have so much fun together? When you have good things to say about somebody, don’t keep it to yourself—life’s too short to keep quiet about these things!
Be Creative. You can let someone know that you value their friendship in a number of ways. You can tell them in a handwritten letter, or in a phone call, or in home-baked goods. Invite them to explore a new place, or play a board game, or go hiking with you!
Who are you going to reconnect with this spring?
Take our weekly challenge – this is the last one, so make it count! Make a list of three people who are close to you, and three who you’d like to reconnect to. Then, reach out to each one with a small, but significant, intentional act of love. Take a selfie with one of these friends and post it on Facebook or Twitter with the hashtag #dplifeyourtribe, and we’ll post some of our favorites on Facebook!