Reaching Out To My Mates
I really like a phrase I hear in movies with U.K. based characters talking about a group of friends going of to do an activity. It usually goes along the lines of “me and my mates are off to the cinema...” or whatever. I like the “me and my mates thing.” When I was young I had a group of "mates" that I loved and couldn't wait to spend time with. Sadly, time and circumstances have made our relationships a little less “matey” and, in some cases, we've lost touch with one another. And I'm disappointed that has been the case.
But, happily, through some effort I have been able to reconnect with some of my friends from high school, pre-high school and post high school. It takes some effort, but because of our transition in to the digital age, some aspects are a little easier to accomplish. But it is going to take some work and time to make those connections you might wish to re-establish with friends from long ago.
One other thing to consider is that your friends may not remember your relationship with the same fondness that you have. Don't be offended if someone does not want to reconnect. They may be in a different place now and really do want to put the past behind them. And, consider your current situation and really determine if reconnecting with people from your past would be a hindrance to your current relationships.
Reconnecting with long-lost friends can be a wonderful experience, but it can also be a challenge, especially if you haven't been in touch for a while. If your game, here are some things you can try to connect with long-lost friends.
Use social media. It kind of irks me to say this, because as you know, I have not been the biggest fan of social media. That being said, social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn have made it easier than ever to find and reconnect with old friends. Use these platforms to search for your friends and send them a message to catch up.
Join online groups. You never know who you might find there. I'm a member of a Facebook group called “I Take Pictures of Transmitter Sights” (And yes, I do take those pictures – ask my wife about the time I took us to Fort Collins, Colorado to, yep, see a radio station). What has been fun for me in that group is seeing people I have worked with in radio over the years If you and your friend have a common interest, consider joining online groups or forums related to that interest. This could be a great way to rekindle your friendship and keep in touch.
Reach out via email or phone. If you have an old email address or phone number for your friend, reach out to them directly. You can send a brief email or leave a message to see how they're doing and if they're interested in reconnecting. And by the way, I would really recommend trying the phone more than the email. I love hearing a voice I haven't heard from in some time. Plus, when you are having a spoken word connection, you can hear more than what's being said. It has always puzzled me that thing we least use on our “smartphones” is the phone.
Attend common interest events. If you know that your friend will be attending an event, consider going as well. Is there a game in town? How about the opening ceremonies of the Utah Summer Games? Maybe a neighborhood wedding? Or in Cedar City, just hang out at Wal Mart on Friday night! These could be a great opportunity to catch up and see each other face-to-face.
Write a letter. I can hear the snickering. Who writes letters in this day and age? That's way beyond old school! But, sending a letter can be a personal and meaningful way to reconnect with a long-lost friend. Way more personal than a text or email. Take the time to reflect on your friendship and what you would like to share with them.
Be patient. It's important to be patient when trying to reconnect with a long-lost friend. They may be busy with their own life, or, as I said before, they may not be interested in rekindling the friendship. If they don't respond, don't take it personally and consider moving on.
Keep it positive. When reconnecting with an old friend, it's important to keep the conversation positive and focused on the present. Avoid bringing up past conflicts or negative experiences, and focus on creating new memories and experiences together.
Plan a reunion. We're pretty good here in Utah to plan and hold family reunions. And every summer, I find myself announcing upcoming class reunions on the Tradio show. I'm not so much of a class reunion guy (I don't think I have been to any), but what about a friend reunion? Reach out to those “mates” and see if you can get together. If everyone is interested in reconnecting, consider planning a reunion. This could be a fun way to catch up and reminisce about old times. Bonus if you can plan it in an area that would be new to explore.
Reconnecting with long-lost friends can be a wonderful experience, but it requires effort and patience. Don't forget social media, attending events, and be positive when reaching out to them. Keep in mind that not everyone may be interested in reconnecting, but if you do reconnect, cherish the new memories and experiences you create together!