How to re-connect with friends or family

Posted in: Wellbeing Last updated: 11 Nov 2014

For many people, life can be very busy and demanding, for all sorts of reasons. When life finally starts to calm down, for example when your children leave home or you retire, it’s a good time to take stock of what’s most important. And for many people, that means re-connecting with long-lost friends or family.

Why do people lose touch?

  • People lose touch with even the closest friends or family for a wide variety of reasons. Perhaps the most common is having a busy, demanding life; when we’re so involved in the ‘here and now’, it can be difficult to pick up the phone and start a new conversation.
  • Another barrier is physical distance. When friends or family are a long car journey away, or even on the other side of the world, it’s impossible to meet up for a quick cuppa and a catch-up.
  • Another common reason is a disagreement or misunderstanding. Sometimes even the smallest issues can escalate; until someone makes the move to apologise, move on and resolve the situation.

Having said this, re-connecting with friends and family, even after many years apart, isn’t as difficult as you might think. With this in mind, here are a few useful tips to get the ball rolling and start those important conversations.

It’s good to talk

So, you’ve been thinking about getting in touch to say “hello” for months or even years. Our advice? Just take a deep breath and start the conversation. You could give them a call or perhaps write a letter, explaining why you haven’t been in touch and how you’d love to catch up. Don’t worry about over-explaining the situation; a simple greeting and some friendly words are enough.

Resolve any conflicts

Before you decide to meet up, it’s a sensible idea to resolve any previous issues or misunderstandings. If you brush any problems under the rug, they may re-emerge at a later date; so it’s important to face them as calmly and honestly as possible. In all likelihood, your friend or family member will be eager to do the same.

Embrace technology

If your friend’s in a different location or country, technology can be a great way to stay connected. Skype is the most popular video messaging service; it’s free, instant and really easy to use. All you need to do is download the software and sign up. Facebook is another really convenient way to stay in touch; you can send messages, photos and videos and chat online, all for no extra cost.

In addition, photo sharing is a great way to re-connect and make up for lost time. Sign up for a free photo sharing site such as Shutterfly or Flickr and start storing and sharing your pictures with friends and family all over the world. Read our ‘Tips to stay in touch’ blog post to find out more.

Stay committed to it

Once you’ve connected with a friend, you need to keep the momentum going, so set up a weekly Skype chat or write a short letter once a week, to keep the conversation flowing. With a little bit of regular effort from both sides, your relationship will continue to grow stronger.

It’s important to be realistic, too. If you’re short on time, don’t be afraid to say, “Sorry, I can only chat for 10 minutes” – your friend will still appreciate the effort.

Meet half-way

If the conversation is flowing and you’re getting on well, now could be a good time to arrange a face-to-face meeting. If you live within travelling distance, choose a location that’s half way between you, for example a local coffee shop. Arrange to chat for a couple of hours and just see how it goes; if you get on well, this could be an important step towards rekindling your friendship.

Most importantly, if you’re nervous about re-connecting with a friend or family member, remember it will probably be much easier than you think. With support from your immediate friends and family, making that phone call could lead to some great relationships and wonderful experiences. Good luck!

Note: Whilst we take care to ensure Hub content is accurate at the time of publication, individual circumstances can differ so please don’t rely on it when making financial decisions. OneFamily do not provide advice so it may be worth speaking to an independent financial advisor about your own circumstances.