Long-lost friendships – do you rekindle them or let go?

Losing touch with old friends is a fairly universal experience – even if you don’t like how it feels.

Starting a new job, moving to an entirely new place, or even just simply not staying in touch any more – it’s quite a normal part of life that most of us experience. 

However, you might be wondering if it’s time to scroll through your contacts to drop a long-lost friend a text, or send an email asking how they’re doing.

On the other hand, you might hear from someone who is no longer a part of your social circle – perhaps they’re asking to meet up for a coffee or want to have a chat on the phone. 

According to relationship expert Daniela Birch, the main reason why a friendship might ‘fizzle out’ is because you start to outgrow each other.

‘You may find that your beliefs, perspectives and views of life may change over time, and you find that there isn’t much left in common,’ she tells Metro.co.uk.

‘Over time, you drift apart as your opinions are just too different.’ 

Another reason for friendships fading away is because one of the friends begins a new relationship.

‘This can push away the friendship – especially if the new partner is dominating, controlling and wants to have your friend all to themselves,’ says Daniela.

If you’re thinking about it, experts encourage individuals to think about the following things:

Ask yourself ‘why’

When it comes to rekindling a long-lost friendship, Daniela says to always ask yourself why you want to do it.

‘Be crystal clear with your “why” – are you missing the old days? Are you wishing to see where they are in life and is the bond still there between you? Do you want some closure from your past so you can move on with your life?’ she says. 

Remember, people change

The most important thing to remember when trying to rekindle a forgotten friendship is that, chances are, your friend has very much changed as a person.

‘The dynamic of your friendship is different now, and they may not be able to relate to the person who was your best friend in high school,’ says Federica Rosso, a clinical psychologist. 

Federica advises to remember that people change over time – especially when they go through difficult circumstances.

She adds: ‘If you haven’t spoken in years, chances are good that something has happened since then. Maybe one of you moved away, got married and had kids, or lost someone close to them.’ 

Don’t overthink the details

Once you’ve decided to reach out to your former friend, relationship expert Jessica Alderson advises ‘not to overthink’ the situation too much.

‘It can be something as simple as asking to meet for a coffee or catch up over the phone,’ she tells Metro.co.uk.

‘If it feels right, you can tell them that you miss the time you spent together – but try not to focus too much on the concept of rekindling the friendship. Be yourself and observe the dynamic.’

Don’t force it

Daniela says ‘not to push’ or force anything to happen but to let the friendship develop organically.

‘Make sure they feel ready to take this friendship further in their own timing,’ she says.

‘Having the awareness of where this friend is in their life, and whether they have the space to bring you back into their life is also super important.’

If your friend agrees on rekindling the friendship, then it’s important to ‘actively listen’ and not assume any motive.

‘Come from your heart, and try not to project any anger or frustration if you are still holding onto events from the past,’ Daniela adds.

‘This is your opportunity to finally heal something left unspoken which is great. Always stay open with judgement is my advice.’

Think about what you what

If you find yourself on the other foot, with a long-lost friend asking to get in touch, how do you respond?

Dr Elena Touroni, a consultant psychologist and co-founder of The Chelsea Psychology Clinic, says that it all depends on you.

‘Did you feel heard, supported and understood by this friend? Was this a friendship you valued? If so, be open to reconnecting,’ she tells Metro.co.uk.

‘Just because a friendship drifted apart doesn’t mean that there was anything wrong with it. On the other hand, if they let you down in some way, it’s important to consider whether this is a friendship you’d like to patch up. 

‘If you don’t want to restart that friendship, focus on taking care of yourself and surrounding yourself with people who truly value you.’

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