Mother’s Day is this weekend and Father’s Day is on its heels. These holidays inspire you to reach out and show love to your parents, but they can also solve the riddle of how to reconnect with old friends — in a way that’s not forced or awkward.
Your high school gal pal who is now PTA mom of the year might love to hear from you on a day that’s not her birthday, Christmas, or Hanukah. Same goes for your roommate in college who’s juggling a career and family or your cousin who’s trying to adopt.
Truth is, making friends and keeping relationships going is a challenge for many of us. We prioritize other things, and suddenly, 10 years have gone by. You look around and your once-besties have transitioned to different phases of life. It doesn’t have to be this way.
The next time a holiday rolls around — whether it’s Mother’s Day or National Donut Day — think of old friends you can reconnect with. Here are five simple ways to reach out and let someone special know you’re thinking of them.
1. Gift a memory
One of the best ways to reconnect is through a sentimental gift. You’re not going big budget here — instead, plan on a small item that’s meaningful. For ideas, think back to the good times you shared together. Was there a trip or adventure that stands out? A gift that represents that memory, paired with a handwritten car, is sure to be well received.
Or, if you have photos of both of you together, you could place them in a small album and send that.
The only way to have a friend is to be one.Ralph Waldo Emerson
If that type of gift feels too heavy, you can always go with a gift card. It doesn’t have to be generic, either. As an example, I have fun memory of hitting up a late-night drive-through twice in a row with someone special after a wild night on the town. I’m sure she would laugh if I gifted her credit with that fast food joint in honor of that epic night.
Everyone appreciates a good gift card — especially if you select the brand thoughtfully.
2. Write a letter
Imagine sifting through your junk mail and grocery circulars to find a handwritten letter from a friend. You’d be touched, right? Handwritten notes on pretty paper remind us of simpler times, when we didn’t have an email box, telephone, and access to the world’s information in our pocket.
Plus, writing is a more intimate way to communicate than texting or even talking over the phone. When you put your thoughts down on paper, they take a tangible form. It has a sense of permanency that’s very powerful. Plus, written correspondence on a beautiful set of stationary is a gift in its own right. Your friend can hold onto it like a keepsake, which just isn’t possible with spoken words.
3. Deliver a surprise
If you want to connect without any physical contact — which, sadly, is a thing now — a surprise delivery can serve as your proxy. A delivery of flowers, for example, can brighten anyone’s day. Roses, tulips, or a beautiful peony bouquet are all nice choices because they create such a lovely sensory experience.
You can also choose a flower for its symbolism. Roses, for example, symbolize love and peonies symbolize good luck. If you really want to be on the nose, you could send your friend a collection of forget-me-nots.
Flowers aren’t the only delivery gift option, either. If your friend has allergies (or doesn’t like flowers), you can send cookies, chocolates, fruits, or nuts, too.
4. Call or video chat
You might feel some resistance about calling someone to reconnect, particularly if it’s been a while. You might question whether your friend wants to talk to you or if you’ll be a bother by calling out of the blue. Set those feelings aside. You’re probably over-analyzing.
Whether you stick with the old-school voice-only approach, or you reach out with a video-share app, calling someone is always a great way to show someone that you are thinking about them.
5. Plan a date
Once you do make contact, why not plan to get together. You don’t have to hit the club scene (if there even is one these days) or plan a whole girls’ weekend. A simpler agenda makes it easier to talk and catch up anyway.
Happiness: Reconnecting with an old friend and realizing nothing has changed.
You could organize picnic, plan a museum trip, take a hike together or attend a concert. If those options seem too intimate, share a couple of beers at the bar. Whatever it is, it should be something that you both enjoy. That’s a great way to rekindle your friendship and strengthen your bond.
You don’t have to let old friendships fall by the wayside. Reach out. Share memories. Reconnect with your old friends, and those relationships could bring you joy for decades to come.