As you get older you often reflect on the good old times from the past. Many people want to know how their old friends from kindergarten, high school, or college are doing and have a desire to get in touch, but wonder, is it weird to contact old friends?
In general, it is not weird to contact old friends. Most people will feel delighted when old friends reconnect. Especially when they show their good intentions, vulnerability, and honesty. In some cases, it can be weird because of high expectations, there is an unsolved misunderstanding, friendship is unhealthy, or if an old friend doesn’t show any interest in reconnecting.
Now, this is just the tip of the iceberg. In this article, you’ll find everything you need to know about reconnecting with old friends, so let’s get started right away!
Why It’s Not Weird To Contact Old Friends
I briefly shared above why it’s not weird to contact an old friend, but there is more to it.
At first, you can ask yourself the question, would it be weird if friend X will get in contact with me right now? If the answer to this question is a NO, then why worry? Because if it’s not weird for them to contact you, then it isn’t weird if you contact them. You’ve been friends in the past, you’ll share the same memories, had the time of your life at some stage in your life, so most old friends will feel honored to hear from you.
Secondly, you and your old friend are in a new phase of life. Through the ups and downs of life, you can see each other in a new light. You each have grown, learned from past experiences, and look at the past differently. This can work to your advantage when it comes to contacting an old friend. Differences in the past or misunderstandings can be forgiven more easily when both persons have grown on a personal level. But it can also work the other way which I will get back to later in this article.
How To Not Make It Weird
- There is no harm in trying: this life is too short to live with regret. So why not go out of your comfort zone and reach out. There is no harm in trying. Perhaps after reconnecting you ask yourself, why didn’t I do this earlier? Why was I filled with anxiety to get in contact? Why did I think it was weird reaching out? In many cases, the other person is also afraid to reach out and will be happy with you making the first move. So just for it. You’ll have nothing to lose.
- Don’t have any expectations: Having expectations when reconnecting with an old friend can lead to disappointment on your end. And also your old friend can feel this expectation of yours too and feel uncomfortable and maybe shut things down early. Therefore try to keep your expectations low.
- Be honest: Being honest goes a long way. If you show your motivation behind why you want to contact your old friend and be honest in the initial contact you’ll not make things weird. Your honesty will be appreciated in most cases reciprocated.
- Be open for rejection: You might want to contact your old friend, but that doesn’t mean that person wants to get in contact with you. Many people like to keep things from the past in the past. Therefore if you stay open to the idea of being rejected, you wouldn’t feel weird about reaching out and the possibility of being rejected. And if you do get rejected, don’t take it personally. Just accept it and move on. Respect each other’s boundaries. Perhaps the other person is going through a tough time and needs their intention on their own life right now. And might come back to your friend request years later. Yes, this can happen. Or the distance in miles (different cities) make it impossible to meet up and is also a reason for people to be less invested in rekindling a friendship.
- Be Ready To Be Vulnerable: When you don’t want to make it weird and want to have the highest chances of success, you need to be ready to show your vulnerability. Being vulnerable helps you to foster better connections and relationships with others. It opens the line of communication, instead of shutting it down. Also, when you show your vulnerable side, the other person is likely to show theirs as well. You’ll have a heart to heart that can heal things from the past and can form a strong foundation for a possible friendship in the future.
Why It Can Be Awkward To Contact Old Friends
Although you want things to not get weird, contacting an old friend can lead to awkward moments. So what are things that can make it awkward?
- You have an unsolved misunderstanding that isn’t talked out yet
- The last time you spoke wasn’t on good terms
- You both have storing emotions toward each other or had in the past (e.g. an old flame)
- You have a lot of anxiety which makes you do awkward things
- You don’t know how to get the conversation started or going
- You or your old friend felt bullied in the past by each other
- The first move isn’t reciprocated
- The initial contact isn’t sincere, honest or vulnerable enough
How To Avoid Akward Moments
The points above are all legit situations that can make it awkward or feel weird, but that doesn’t have to be. And I’m here to help you make it as less awkward as possible with these tips below.
The First Move: Keep It Light & Simple
When you’re ready to get in contact with an old friend you can have different approaches. For some, a direct approach (like you both are used to) can be a perfect way, but in most cases, a light and simple approach is the right way to go. This way you can test the waters as well. But in all cases show that you’re happy to hear from them. Show some love and it will go fine.
You can consider sending an email, text, or direct messages on social media. And a great opening line can be “I saw or read something the other day that made me think of you and I was wondering how you are…” And then ask a couple of questions but also tell something about yourself. You sharing things about your life makes it easier for other people to share something about their life too.
The keys to success are honesty, vulnerability, and positivity.
And once you’ve established a little conversation you can show your interest and ask if they want to meet up for coffee, lunch, dinner to catch up.
Great Conversation Starters
You might talk for hours on end and laugh at the same jokes in the past. In the time between then and now a lot of things might have changed. People’s perspectives on life have changed or not and you don’t know where their heads are at.
And while you’ve come to the point you’re going to meet each other for coffee, lunch, or dinner you may need some extra help to get the conversation going again. So that is why I’ve listed some good questions and great conversation starters. But the more natural, the better so don’t make it into an interview. Ask open questions, thoughtfully listen, ask more related open questions or share something yourself so they can hop on that topic as well.
- How are you?
- What have you been doing all these years?
- What are the highlights of life since the last time we met/ spoke?
- What is the most fun memory you have about school/ college/ work?
- Do you remember… (fun anecdote)
- What did you like most about school, marriage, having (grand)kids?
- What is your plan for the next few years?
- Do you have read some great book/ films/ series/ documentaries lately?
- What are you doing tomorrow? (leads to an intimate place, like their plans and hopes)
- What are your plans this week? (gives you an insight on their current life and see if you have things in common)
- Have you seen or spoken to (names of mutual old friend)? (try not to get into gossip, but just stay interested in a nonjudgmental way)
Start With An Apology (if needed)
If you’ve hurt an old friend, then it is wise to start with an apology. Even if it is through text or social media at first. Showing you’re wrong helps you to get the communication line going. Later down the road, you can always apologize in person if it gets to that point.
Respect Each Other
As I mentioned before you have to respect each other. And that means if they don’t want to meet up, accept this fact and wish each other well. But if you do catch up know that your old friends might have changed their views on politics, past memories, people, opinions, etc.
Therefore also respect each other’s new ways of thinking, opinions, and perspectives. You want to avoid getting into controversial topics the first time you meet each other. Although some friendships are used to that and can handle it better. Or you need to get into a hard conversation first before you can move on. Sometimes you need to hash things out of the past before you can build on the future. But in all cases try to stay respectful.
How To Find Old Friends
Now we established everything on how not to make things weird, let’s dive into how to find old friends. And here are a couple of good places to start searching:
Whether you want to get in touch with high school friends, college friends, childhood friends, or military buddies, the first place to start is to search on social media (Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn) or google their name.
Other online resources you can check out classmates.com and alumni.net if you’re looking for old school friends. Chances are that your old college or university has an alumni page as well, where they maybe are registered.
When you’re looking for an old military buddy you can search for Facebook groups of your old duty station or former military bases.
Once you have found them you can do a friend request, like their photos, or directly send them a message.
Call Up Old Phonenumber
Another way to find an old friend is to call up their old phone number. Maybe they still use those number, you never know.
Ask Mutual Friends
If you can’t find the old friend you’re looking for you perhaps can ask or search for a mutual friend and ask about the person you’re looking for. Through a little investigation, you can easily locate old friends.
Perhaps you have mutual friends you can always ask where they know where to find this person or what their name is (after being married) so it is easier to find them online or know where they live.