Tips for Reconnecting with Old Friends

Smiling senior woman talking on phone while outside in winter

Some people like to say that we have friends for a reason, a season, or a lifetime, inspired by a poem by Brian A. “Drew” Chalker. But even if you enjoyed a certain friendship during a particular period of your life long ago, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try to bring that friend into your life again. Who knows! You might turn a once-seasonal friendship into a thriving, active, fulfilling new friendship. Reconnecting with old friends takes some bravery, but it’s almost always well worth the effort. Scroll down for some tips and words of wisdom.

How to Reach Out to Old Friends

As the years go by, it becomes increasingly common to reminisce about past times and wonder what friends who have fallen by the wayside are up to now. So, why not reach out to them? What do you have to lose? Even if you don’t reignite your friendship, you’ll learn something about yourself and can pat yourself on the back for trying. If you’re considering reconnecting with old friends, use the tips and ideas below to get started.

Go in with an open mind.

Reuniting with an old friend can take many different forms. Maybe you’ll write each other emails for months or years. Maybe you’ll have one lovely dinner but find you’re both not interested in maintaining an ongoing relationship. Or, maybe this is the start of a deep new friendship! Try to go in without any expectations, and remember that even a quick reunion can be fun and worthwhile.

Use social media or mutual acquaintances to find your old friend.

In an ideal world, you would already have your old friend’s phone number or email address. But if that isn’t the case, you may need to do a little digging to locate them. Fortunately, social media makes this far easier than it was in the past. You may be able to locate your friend using Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, or another site. If you find them, simply send a friend request and then a brief private message. If that doesn’t work, try reaching out to mutual friends. If you ran in the same circle (as coworkers, neighbors, parents, etc.), you likely have at least one friend in common.

Don’t be afraid to make the first move.

Nerves are inevitable when reconnecting with old friends. It’s hard to put yourself out there! But if you’re letting that fear hold you back, check out this study for a confidence boost. According to the research, which was published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology and involved nearly 6,000 participants, people underestimate how much other people appreciate an unexpected phone call, email, or text. Plus, the receivers consistently rated their appreciation highest when the communication was unexpected. So, take a chance! Chances are, your long-lost friend would love to reconnect with you.

Start simple.

So, you’ve found your friend’s contact information, and you’re ready to reach out. The big question now is: what do you say? Especially if it’s been a long time, you might not know where to start. Whether you’re writing an email or picking up the phone, it can be helpful to write down a few notes first. The following statements and questions provide a great jumping-off point:

  • I was thinking about you. (You could also mention something that reminded you of them to explain why you’re reaching out now.)
  • How are you?
  • What have you been up to?
  • Remember when . . . (Reminiscing can provide an easy conversation starter and give you both something to smile about.)
  • I’ve missed you.
  • Would you be interested in getting lunch sometime soon? (Or, you could ask if they want to meet up for coffee, go for a walk in the park, etc. Whatever you like!)

Remember that you don’t have to write a whole essay or prepare a speech. Keep it simple, and let the conversation flow naturally.

Take the next step.

If it goes well and your friend seems pleased to hear from you, initiate an in-person meet-up or (if you live far apart) a video chat. Ideally, this next meet-up will be casual, relaxed, and low-pressure. Spend some time reminiscing and catching up, but also see if you can pinpoint a current shared interest to fuel your newfound friendship. Are you both obsessed with a certain TV show? Do you both have an interest in learning how to paint with watercolors? Do you love to play poker? If you’re interested in pursuing a longer-term friendship, use your shared interest to initiate another hang-out.


Reconnecting with old friends can be incredibly rewarding. You might be able to rekindle your old friendship — and even if you don’t, you can still enjoy a pleasant conversation and satisfy your curiosity about what your friend’s been up to since you last spoke. So, be brave! And remember that your friend will likely be delighted to hear from you.

Good luck!

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