Resume a Friendship With a Long Lost Friend

You used to be friends, great friends. You never meant to lose touch with him or her. But life got in the way, and weeks turned into months, or maybe years. How can you go back, find your friend, and re-establish contact, resume your friendship, or is it even possible? It is possible, but sometimes it requires a little time and

Find your friend. First you have to locate your friend if you've lost touch. Perhaps s/he has moved back home after graduating from college, and is in a different state. Think hard about your friend, and use every detail you can remember to track him or her down. The internet is a wonderful resource - if you can remember a middle name or initial, that's a good start. If you can remember what state s/he was from, start there - it may cost a few dollars.

Make contact. It's the hardest part. Once you have contact information, and you're reasonably sure it's the right person, reach out. This is easier if you have a mailing address, e-mail account, or a phone number. Depending on the way you left things, you may want to choose based on the tone of your last parting.

Drifted Away: If you just drifted apart, try the most direct way to reach out. Use the phone number or email. Be sure you send any email with a Delivery Confirmation - one that sends you a notice when your email is received. If you never get a confirmation, there's a good chance the email address is no good, and you'll have to go to Plan B - the phone.

Promised To Write: Use email. Send a brief note reminding your friend of who you are and asking if you've reached the right person. Try something like: "I was on a friend-finding website and saw your name. I want to make sure I got the right person - we were on the swim team together, is that you? If it is, I just want you to know seeing your name made me instantly feel so guilty and rotten that we lost touch - email me back so I know it's you! I'd love to catch up when you have a chance!" Keep it light and fun, and remember - don't beat yourself up too much: your friend didn't stay in touch with you either! Doesn't mean s/he doesn't care - just the same as you.

Parted Badly: You had a falling out and parted on bad terms, but you now wish you could patch things up. This one's a little trickier, but if you are willing to absolve your friend of any blame for what happened, fall on your sword and accept any lingering blame on yourself, and leave the past behind, your chances of success are good. Write a snail-mail letter first, to let any awkwardness be private: "Dear Siobhan: I can't tell you how many times I've thought of you over the years. I've gone over our last argument a million times in my mind, and I am so sorry for everything that went wrong. I've never been able to leave you behind, even though we parted so badly, and I've regretted it every single time I've thought about it. You meant so much to me, and were such an important, wonderful friend, I wonder if there isn't some way to let bygones be bygones? I miss you, I love you, and I want you back - please call me or email me at 555-555-5555 / I hope you can forgive and forget - I have, and all I care about is seeing you again. Love, XYZ."

Call him or her. Give your letter or email at least a week after delivery to marinate, especially if your parting was not good. If you've heard nothing by 10 days later, try phoning. In the case of a bad last goodbye, you probably will do best to call at a time your friend is not going to be home. You can then leave a jovial, brief voice message, which will hopefully convince your friend that you are serious about making contact again, and prompt him or her to call you. Suggestion: "Hey, this is Harriet Scott, and I'm looking for Siobhan. Vahn - it's me, Harry! I hope I got the right number - if not, please have someone call me at 555-555-5555. If I don't hear back that this is a wrong number, I'll probably just keep on bugging someone, so please do let me know if I have NOT reached Siobhan. But if I have... Siobhan, I miss you, please call me! Kay, bye. 555-555-5555! Call!" It's kind of funny, it identifies you, and the party you're trying to reach, leaves your number at the beginning, and at the end. This is important - if they miss it both times, they can play your message back, knowing your number is right at the front and they won't have to re-listen to your entire rambling. Of course, if you later get a message saying that you have not reached the right party, you have to start from scratch to find your friend again.

Allow time for your friend to believe in your friendship again. After a long absence, it is hard for people to reattach because they've felt the pain of loss before. Sometimes, it takes a lot of effort on your part, and you may feel like you are the one working to restore your relationship all alone. That is the peril you face. Your friend may have a hard time trusting in your friendship - what if s/he resumes the relationship, only to see you check out again? Allow your friend time to believe in your steadfast love for him or her.

Connect often in the early part of the re-connect. Once you've made that first contact, hopefully things will get easier. Some friendships resume easily, as if there was never a break. Some take work, and you may sense that your friend is guarded when you speak, not telling you everything. That's okay. Especially if this is the case (a guarded friend), connect often. Call once a week - find out what's a good time when he or she can chat for a little while. If s/he has 10 minutes, chat for 10 minutes. If s/he has an hour, chat for an hour. Make time to re-establish the confidence you once had in each other.

Make contact regularly. Get into a rhythm you can both trust as the weeks and months go on. Email just to say you were thinking of him or her, with some little joke or something. Call every month, at least. Get together if you live nearby. Friend him or her on your favorite social networking site (MySpace, Facebook, etc.), and post recent pictures. Sharing your lives regularly will keep your friendship vital once you've found one another again.

Never hesitate to bring up and face problems you once had - but do not argue about those problems.

Never hesitate to let problems from the past remain in the past. Once you've acknowledged them and talked about them a little, let them go.

Go to a movie, go to coffee, go to an appointment together - whatever time your friend can make to spend with you, do it, no matter how awkward you may feel about it at first.

Act like everything is normal, fine, and wonderful. Soon, just going through the motions of feeling relaxed with your friend will help you really and truly feel relaxed and easy together again. It will take some time depending on the case.

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