Wisdom//

4 People Share the Lessons They Learned From Reconnecting With an Old Friend

“I saw how much the years had changed me and my former classmates, and learned that we cannot write people off just because they aren’t what we expect them to be.”

Antonio Guillem / Shutterstock
Antonio Guillem / Shutterstock

Reconnecting with an old friend can feel intimidating. You might wonder if too much time has passed, and you might stress whether it’s possible to achieve the same level of closeness that you once shared. But reconnecting with someone from your past, and resurrecting joyful memories can actually be a powerful form of self-care.

We asked members of the Thrive community to share the insights they learned about themselves — and about life — when they reconnected with an old friend. Their anecdotes will inspire you to reach out to someone you’ve been missing.

The craziness of life makes you stronger

“I lost contact with my best friend from elementary school years ago, but when an article about my memoir came out last year, she found me. Reconnecting was amazing because when we were young, we had ‘argued’ over whose life and family were weirder. When we spent time together more recently, we both realized the craziness we had lived through, and the wholeness of our current lives. We were able to see — and own –— how strong we had actually been then, and how strong we actually are now.”

—Lisa Kohn, author and executive coach, Wayne, PA

Perspective is everything

“I met my friend Kathy on the first day of high school at the bus stop. We still talk weekly. I had bad acne in high school and it was the bane of my existence. I tried every cream and read every skin article, to no avail. A few years back, I was speaking with Kathy, and the topic of my skin came up. ‘You had acne in high school?’ she asked. I wondered, How could she not have noticed? Kathy said she was too busy laughing at my jokes and listening to my stories. This taught me that perspective is everything.”

—Siobhan Kukolic, author, speaker, and life coach, Toronto, Canada

Personal growth is constant

“This weekend was serendipitous. I ran into my ex-boyfriend. Our re-connection led to a personal realization of how much I have grown. I am a completely different woman today than the woman he dated eight years ago. It was very liberating. Reminiscing and stepping back in time for that couple of hours ended up moving me forward in life with even more excitement. Life puts people in your path for a reason, and it also removes them for a reason. Reconnecting was a great reminder of how far I have come and confirmation of how much further I will go.”  

—Amy Lynn Durham, executive consultant, Clovis, CA

Who someone was isn’t who they’ll always be

“I recently attended a 20-year high school reunion and reconnected with many old school friends and acquaintances. I found the people who I thought were snobby and rude are now mature, responsible adults who I got along with that night — and even friended on Facebook. The people who I thought I had so much in common with are now in a different stage of life, and thus did not have much in common with me. And the people who were shy are now funny and great conversationalists. I saw how much the years had changed me and my former classmates, and learned that we cannot write people off just because they aren’t what we expect them to be. The reverse is true as well – we cannot be so hard on ourselves just because we don’t ‘have it together.’ Given time and life experiences, everybody eventually matures and become better versions of themselves.”

—Madylene Planer, knowledge solutions consultant, Sydney, Australia

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