I set myself a challenge earlier this year: reconnect with 30 friends I hadn’t spoken to in a while. I tend to do this periodically in the school holidays anyway, but I made a bit more of an effort than usual. I did it mostly because I saw it online and thought it was interesting, and because there are some friendships that have dwindled out, and I wanted to take responsibility for that. I also wanted to find out who my ‘real’ friends are. Most of them were friends who don’t live near me, so geography was the main reason we haven’t spoken in a while, some weren’t. Here’s what I found:
A couple of friendships picked off exactly where they left off. It was easy to get back into, and they’re still going now. I knew which ones of these would fall into this category before I started, but it was still nice to reconnect earlier than we perhaps would have done otherwise. I like these friendships because I can truly be myself and not worry about any interaction we have together- we can chat about anything. Sometimes time passes with these friends and communication gets put on the back burner, but we caught each other up quickly. It’s just made me be a bit more ‘aware’ of when things go quiet so that I can send a ‘hey, how’s it going?’ message sooner.
Some friendships were re-ignited. For whatever reason, things went quiet. That’s ok, life is busy. Again, some friendships continued and we’re still talking, some didn’t, but I’m sure the spark will come back soon again. There’s a reason why we were friends in the first place. I might not always lean on them for support if I need it or vice versa, but there’s definitely some fun times up ahead with them.
It was nice to chat to some friends and catch up. I liked hearing their news. However, not everyone who said ‘we should meet up soon’ will actually follow through- a few were definitely ‘empty’ offers. That doesn’t mean that we don’t have things in common or we should never have been friends, it just means we’re ‘friends who you chat to but don’t share anything personal with’. I’ve since met up with some other of these friends though, and it was great to see them. It depends on circumstance, logistics etc- life is busy.
I could see why I don’t really speak to some friends much anymore. I still care about them, again, there’s a reason why we became friends in the first place, but whatever brought us together isn’t something we share anymore, and our friendship fizzled out. Sometimes things happen which change us, or interests and priorities change. That’s ok too. I’ll still enjoy hearing their news and maybe catching up in groups of friends, but that’s maybe as far as it will go.
A couple of interactions really weren’t worth my efforts. I think I took too much responsibility for some friendships which died, but, having tried to reconnect, I realise that I only share a portion of the blame. If any, in some circumstances. A friendship has to be a two way communication, and there’s only so much one sided communication with little or no response that someone can do before it’s time to give up. I’ve said a lot here, that’s ok- life sometimes takes over, maybe there are other factors involved. But these friendships were the ones I’d made ‘excuses’ for previously and this kind of confirmed it for me.
On the whole, it was a great thing to do. It’s quite easy to think you know a lot about a person because you see their activities and photos online, so actually chatting to them either face to face, on the phone or via message was good. It was quite therapeutic to recognise that I’d done all I could for some friendships, but they still ended up DOA. It’s given me the drive to maintain contact with those I care about at least once a month, and I’m looking forward to some great times ahead.
Photo: Time Stops Photography