L.S Kilroy
September 01, 2015 10:06 am

They say there are two times in life—the now and the too late. This rang true for me the other day when I went to look up an old friend. We were very close in college, but our friendship ended on a sour note a few years after graduation, and it’s been more than a decade since we spoke. Her presence in my life was a lovely one, but it was also worrisome. She was going through something and I had no idea what it was, but there was a strain—that horrible walking on eggshells feeling, that helplessness that comes when you see someone you love self-sabotaging and there’s nothing you can do.

I always felt badly about this. I missed her over the years. She was one of those wild, carefree sorts who is so raw and real that they make you feel even more alive when you’re around them.  So I decided to act on my on-again-off-again thoughts of her and see how she was doing. It was a door I was somewhat scared to reopen, but I finally drew up enough courage to do so. I took for granted that she would be there, ready to welcome be back as a friend with open arms. Because that was her way and I’m sure it would have been like that.

Only instead of her contact info, my Google search showed an obituary. She had died only a month before.

I’m now, with a few other friends who had similarly lost touch with her, stewing in a grief that I don’t fully understand. It is a palpable mixture of sadness and regret. Her obituary stated she died after a brief illness with no other detail. I now wonder what would have happened if I had stayed in her life. I wonder if she ever thought of me. I wish I could say one last thing to her. But I can’t. If only, I think – If only I had reached out on any one of those other occasions when I’d thought to.

If you have an old friend whom you miss, someone from another era of your life that you just lost touch with and remember often, here are seven reasons why you should let them know you’re thinking of them today:

They will probably be happy to hear from you 

Everyone likes to know they are thought about. Imagine if this particular friend reached out to you. Would you be happy to hear from them?

They probably think of you, too 

If you had a great friendship, chances are they remember it fondly as well and your memory surfaces in little places like the nostalgia of an old song, a visit to a place you’d been together, or a person on the street that has your laugh.

Maybe they want to reach out, but they’re afraid 

Sometimes friendships end because you stop having things in common or your experiences cause you to naturally drift apart. But other times, there is a definitive end – an argument, a misunderstanding. In many instances, a friendship can be unsalvageable, BUT that old adage about time healing all wounds can also hold true. Whatever the case, if there’s someone you want to reach out to, don’t let a grudge or fear of rejection hinder you. Most likely, once you start chatting you’ll forget whatever it was that drove you apart.

Catching up is the best 

It’s always fun to see what people are up to after you haven’t spoken in years—there could be marriage and children to talk about, pictures to share, new jobs, amazing travels, hilarious stories. The sharing of what’s been happening can really reinvigorate a friendship and bring you to a new level of closeness.

Reminiscing is also the best 

There’s nothing like the passing of time to remind you why you were friends in the first place. You hear you’re their voice and suddenly it’s like no time has passed at all. You gossip about what other friends have been up to, you remember old times, and you spew out private jokes with the same veracity as the day you made them up.

You don’t have to be as close as you were                                                                                                             

Another plus of a gap in time is that you don’t have to feel pressure to be as close as you once were. Sometimes just what a friendship needs is some breathing room in order to right itself again. Maybe the distance has gifted both of you with perspective, has seen you grow as people, and now is the time to reconnect. Or even, where you once found that you no longer had anything in common, perhaps the present is a place where you do. Either way, just because you are back in touch, it doesn’t mean you’ll fall back into those old, unhealthy patterns. It doesn’t mean you need to try and reclaim the intimacy you left behind. You can enjoy a new friendship to whatever extent feels comfortable for each of you.

They won’t always be there

It’s easy to let life get in the way of keeping in touch. We say things like “There’s still time,” and “Maybe next week when things calm down,” and “I’ll remember to do it later.” But the thing is —there may not still be time, things may never calm down, and you’ll probably be too tired to remember to do it later. Do it now. Trust me, the five minutes you take to write a short message could very well save you years of “If only.”

[Image via The CW]

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