Reconnecting with an old friend you’ve lost touch with may seem like a challenge, but a recent study indicates it could be worth the effort. According to new research published in the American Psychological Association’s Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, science actually says you should. You might think you’ll bother them or that there won’t be much benefit for either of you beyond a quick chat, but the results of 13 experiments involving more than 5,900 participants tell the tale. opposite.
What science can tell us about reconnecting with old friends
The researchers who conducted these experiments wanted to test whether people accurately predict how much their social contacts will enjoy hearing from them. In the end, whether the attendees were college-aged or older, and whether that communication involved sending a simple note or a small gift like coffee, almost everyone underestimated how people they once knew appreciated being contacted.
“Our results suggest that this is related to the low surprise factor felt by those contacted,” two of the authors wrote in a later paper. publish on The conversation. “When we asked recipients what they focused on when indicating how grateful they felt, they said they paid a lot of attention to their positive feelings of surprise, which was related to how grateful they were.”
The key here is therefore the element of surprise. There are many things that can get in the way of our relationships, from work commitments to childcare to pursuing personal hobbies, and these loom large in the brain, not to mention our time. If you and a friend have drifted apart, it’s probably because the weather is bothering you, or, probably, both of you. The other person probably isn’t sitting around stewing all day because your friendship has waned, because they’re probably engrossed in their own pursuits, so your outreach will be a pleasant surprise.
The best ways to reach out to an old friend
The researchers conducted experiments involving people of varying ages sending notes or small gifts to people they hadn’t spoken to in a while. Consider the relationship you had and have with the person you have in mind. If you used to work together and often had your morning coffee in the break room every day, you could send them a coffee or a Starbucks gift card, to add a bit of specificity and nostalgia to the gesture. If you think a gift isn’t appropriate, texting, emailing, or calling can also work.
You don’t need to worry too much about the details or get involved in unpacking your history. Start small, with a simple greeting, and ask how they are. Include a unique reference to your shared past or explain what motivates your action. The research is clear that no matter how you phrase it, the mere fact that you’ve shown you’re thinking about the other person is enough to make them feel appreciated.
Unless you’ve seriously misjudged your relationship, your ex-boyfriend will definitely be happy to hear from you (again, according to science!) and you’ll also feel good about the interaction, even if you go back. lives after catch-up. And if fear of rejection is what’s keeping you from sending that email, research should also bring you some comfort: it shows that chances are your friend loves finding out what other people think of him positively. Is not it?