I study emotional responses in relationships and write about them to help others enhance self-awareness and improve their contentment.
Things can happen in life that cause friends to stop communicating and lose touch.
I'll give you two examples of broken friendships. I'll begin with explanations of what went wrong in both cases, then I'll show you how I began the process of rebuilding those friendships after some time had passed.
How Do You Rekindle a Friendship That Ends Badly?
We may run into friends we lost at the most unexpected places. It's helpful to know how to reconnect when the opportunity presents itself. Take advantage of the situation, when face to face, to restore the communication.
Real friends will seek ways to rebuild their friendship. It's best to keep an open mind and welcome them back.
The events I describe below could be different from your experiences, but the purpose of these examples is to help you get some ideas to use for yourself.
Example #1: Hurt by Miscommunication
I lost touch with this friend because of a failure to communicate. We met over 20 years ago, and we had a lot in common. We both enjoyed outdoor activities and liked to lead healthy lives. We were both single and eager to find a good woman to settle down with and get married. We had different backgrounds, but we respected our different attitudes towards life.
We had a lot going that was conducive to having a genuine friendship. For example:
- We were both creative people, and that creativity inspired us to get involved with mutual interests.
- We also shared a lot of respective knowledge. If one of us discovered a new way to invest in stocks, for example, it was fun sharing that information between us.
- If either of us found something on the Internet that might be helpful, we’d share it with the other.
- We were always available to one another should the other need help with anything that came up.
One day I invited this friend to join me in a social group I was part of where we went on hikes, trips to museums, and did other social activities around town. Everyone saw that he was a fellow of high esteem—the kind of person everyone always welcomed into the group.
So what went wrong?
One day my friend told me he didn’t want to have anything to do with the group anymore. He never made it clear to me what was on his mind. I figured that he no longer wanted to be friends with anyone in the group, including me.
From that day on, we hardly spoke. Eventually, the phone calls stopped. I didn’t call him anymore, and he didn't call me.
The strange thing is that others in the group continued to invite him to parties, and he would accept. I saw him at these parties, and that confused me. I had no idea what he wanted, but I never questioned him.
I never knew what was affecting him since we stopped talking. Some kind of miscommunication caused both of us to have thoughts that probably were not based on reality, and it created unresolved hurtful feelings.
Example #2: A Friend Who Needed Space
I met this particular friend through our social group. A woman in our group had dated him and invited him to join the rest of us on a hike. He was very sociable, friendly, and intelligent. He was a very caring person toward his family and friends. As I got to know him through various social events, we became terrific friends.
What went wrong?
He was evidently going through a difficult time in his life, and suddenly sent me an email stating that he no longer wanted to be contacted.
Well, when someone indicates any form of rejection, I respect their wishes and don't ask questions. I merely move on with my life and I leave them alone.
I had only known him for a few years, so it wasn't like a lifetime friendship that would have had a lot of history.
Nevertheless, I did leave an open door for him by replying to his email with a short, simple statement, stating that should he ever want to communicate, I’d be there for him.
He never called. Other friends have said they ran into him in one place or another, but he never called, and I left him alone.
Rekindling Friendships When Meeting Unexpectedly
We never know when our paths with long-lost friends come together. It can happen anywhere, and usually when most unexpected.
A friend's mother passed away, and I attended the memorial service. While I was consoling her for her loss, I suddenly noticed my two friends with whom I was no longer in contact. They were chatting with one another on the other side of the funeral parlor.
I wasn't in the least surprised they were both there since we all knew one another, but a feeling of awkward tension came over me. I wondered if I should ignore them or go over and say hello.
The Right Thing to Do
It didn't take me more than an instant to know the right thing to do. So I worked my way through the room to where they were standing, and I said hello.
I knew it could go either way. They might not be interested in talking. Or maybe one would and not the other.
As it turned out, all three of us chatted for over an hour. We shared news about the latest things that were happening in our lives. There was so much to let each other know about how our lives were going—good things, bad things, wonderful things, terrible things, losses, major losses, lost loves, and even health issues.
We each showed interest in the happenings of one another, asking questions and listening intently. We were catching up, and most of all, we were bonding again. Friends uniting at a funeral. Imagine!
Our mutual friend, whose mother died, overheard us stating our intentions to make an effort to rekindle the friendship. Despite being in a state of grief, she was pleased to hear our discussion. She was the only one who had kept in contact with all of us lost souls.
I was glad to have the opportunity to mend broken friendships finally. But I never imagined it would happen at a funeral.
We sometimes misjudge or misinterpret the cause for other people’s actions. We may think they just are being silly. Or worse, we take it personally. However, they have their reasons. It may not always be as it appears on the surface.
Sometimes we need to accept the decisions others make and not feel intimidated by them.
Of course, it's a two-way street. As far as these examples go, either of us could have called the other if we had wanted to do so. Maybe we didn't have the courage for fear of further rejection. Perhaps we didn't have the desire at the time.
Sometimes we need to go on with our lives, be with other friends, and attend other social functions. You never know when your paths will cross once again.
A well-known saying that I'm sure you know, "You can choose your friends, but you can’t choose your family." That’s why it’s crucial to hold on to your good friends and not let lack of communication destroy friendships. I learned from this, good friends never die.
Good Friends Never Die
Before you go, I thought I’d share this video with you by Andy Conway that expresses my sentiments precisely.
© 2010 Glenn Stok