You probably have at least one childhood friend or college buddy you’d like to catch up with. Whatever the reasons that caused you to lose track of each other, there are ways to get back in touch. A happy reunion could enrich both your lives.
On Connecting With Old Friends
1. Know that you have lots of company. These days, most people use social media to keep in touch with current friends and connect with old ones. According to a study by the Pew Internet and American Life Project, over half of all computer users have employed Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn to track down someone from their past.
2. Become familiar with the trends. That same study shows that younger people are more likely than adults over 50 to use social media to reconnect. However, plenty of middle-aged people and seniors take advantage of the potential here too. Curiously, parents are also more likely to look for lost friends than people without children.
3. Clarify your intentions. Maybe your first love does belong back in your life. Just be clear on whether you’re looking for romance or friendship. Also, it’s important to be respectful of everyone’s current relationships and obligations.
4. Reflect on the reasons you parted. People drift apart due to coincidences or break up over serious conflicts. If you feel like you’ve been injured, you may need to find closure within yourself. On the other hand, it can be very healing to offer amends when doing so is unlikely to cause any additional pain.
5. Respect privacy rights. These days, collecting a lot of information about people is simple. If you’re doing that kind of research, keep in mind whether you’d appreciate that level of scrutiny.
6. Remain open minded. Modest expectations can help protect your peace of mind. You may be able to pick up where you left off or you may discover that your lives now head in very different directions.
Practical Steps for Connecting
1. Consider specialized sites. Depending on your circumstances, you may want to sign up for special services like classmates.com or reunion.com that have millions of members, especially if you have a reunion coming up. Then again, you can save money by contacting your school’s alumni association directly.
2. Remember search engines. You can gather a lot of data quickly with search engines like Google and Yahoo. To find people with common names, try adding in more details like their profession, home city or schools they attended.
3. Go beyond the basics. A real relationship goes beyond Facebook friends and Twitter followers. Use social networking as a starting point for a follow up note or phone call if you want to bond again.
4. Facilitate the conversation. The first chat may feel awkward. Have talking points ready with updates on your life and open ended questions to ask that may help your friend feel comfortable.
5. Stay in touch. Now that you’ve worked hard to track each other down, hold on to the rewards. Plan ahead so you can mesh your busy schedules. Use your business or vacation travel to find opportunities to meet.
6. Be prepared. Reunions can be emotionally charged. Give yourself something else to look forward to in case you wind up feeling disappointed for any reason. Talk your experience over with supportive loved ones to help you learn and move on.
The Internet has made it easier than ever to find out whatever became of almost anybody. If you miss someone who used to be an important part of your life, take the initiative to see if they’re feeling nostalgic too.