Is It Time to Renew an Old Friendship?

why it’s good to keep old friendships alive and how you can renew a lost friendshipHow many friends do you have? If you’re like many people today, your thoughts may immediately go to the number of Facebook friends you have. The word friend has taken on a very casual meaning, since social media has become part of our lives. We can “friend” people we don’t even know. Or we can “unfriend” someone with the click of a button.While there is a place for Facebook friends, it’s not a substitute for close friendships. Between true friends is a special bond of affection and respect that takes time and effort to develop. According to a report in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, an acquaintance becomes a casual friend after around 50 hours of shared activities and everyday talk; a best friend takes more than 200 hours.

Friends are especially important to our health and well-being, as we age. Studies show people with close friends have lower incidences of inflammation and chronic illnesses and higher levels of happiness. Friends help us remember and reminisce about important milestones in our lives.

To have a good friend, you have to be a good friend. Recently I read a New York Times article that reminds us that we shouldn’t let good, close friendships fade away, if we can help it. It also gave some interesting tips on how to revive a friendship from the past. Here are a few highlights:

Why did the friendship fade?

You might have outgrown the friendships for a very good reason, so it’s good to consider if it’s worth reviving. If you’ve kept in touch somewhat, it will be easier to rekindling your relationship.

Why do you want to renew the friendship?

It’s important to be honest about why you’re reaching out now. Your reason can be as simple as you miss the person. If you’re going through a similar life experience, you can use that as a way to make a genuine connection without appearing to be intrusive or prying.

What do you hope to get out of your renewed friendship?

As with any new relationship, it’s good to start slowly and be slightly guarded. Put out some feelers and see if that person is open to renewing a friendship. If you get a positive response, slowly draw that person back into your life. Don’t assume you know them and can trust them. You’re basically starting over, so avoid sensitive topics at first.

Are you prepared for whatever happens?

You have to be willing to be vulnerable to put yourself out there, without being sure of the response you’ll get. It’s a real possibility that your overtures of friendship may be rejected. Do you have enough self-compassion to allow them the dignity of making that choice without taking it personally?

As Robert Louis Stevenson so eloquently stated: “A friend is a gift you give yourself.” Close, personal friendships add so much joy and richness to our lives. Why not think about some friends you haven’t talked with for a long time, and reach out and see where it takes you. I’d love to hear about your rekindled friendships over on my Facebook page.

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