Glenn Stok studies topics on self-awareness and emotional well-being. He writes about it to help with mindfulness and avoiding self-doubt.
Things happen in life that can cause friends to stop communicating and lose touch.
I'll give you two examples of broken friendships. I'll explain what went wrong and how I began the process of rebuilding those friendships when we unexpectedly reunited.
We may find the friends we lost at the most unexpected times. It's helpful to know how to reconnect when the opportunity presents itself.
It's best to keep an open mind and welcome them back. Take advantage of the situation, when face to face, to reopen real communication. Real friends will seek ways to rebuild their friendship.
The events I describe below could be different from your experiences, but you might relate to them and hopefully get some ideas to use for yourself.
Friend #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 were also both creative people, and that creativity inspired us to get involved with mutual interests. We shared a lot of knowledge. If one of us would discover a new way to invest in stocks, for example, it was fun sharing that information with the other.
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.
I invited this friend to join me in a social group I was part of, going on hikes, trips to museums, and 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. That confused me. I had no idea what he wanted, and I never questioned him.
Since we stopped talking, I never knew what was affecting him. Some miscommunication caused both of us to have ideas that probably were not based on reality. It just left unresolved hurtful feelings.
Friend #2: Respecting a Friend Who Needs Space
I met this friend when he became involved with our social group. A woman in our group had been dating him. She 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?
Evidently, he was going through a difficult time in his life, and he suddenly sent me an email stating that he no longer wanted to be contacted.
Well, when someone indicates any form of rejection, I leave them alone. I respect their wishes, don't ask questions, and merely move on. Besides, I only knew him for a few years.
However, 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.
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.
Mending Broken Friendships When Meeting Unexpectedly
We are all getting older, and life is short. One by one, we all are losing our beloved family members.
Suddenly the mother of a mutual friend passed away. I had attended the memorial service, and as I was consoling her, I noticed my two long lost friends chatting with one another on the other side of the room.
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.
It didn't take me more than an instant to know the right thing to do. I worked my way through the room to where they were standing, and I said hello.
As it turned out, we chatted for over an hour about the latest things that were happening in our lives. There was so much to share—good things, bad things, wonderful things, terrible things, losses, major losses, lost loves, and health issues that we all deal with from time to time.
We were catching up, and most of all, we were bonding again. Friends bonding at a funeral. Imagine!
Our mutual friend, who's 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 kept in contact with all of us lost souls.
I was glad to finally have the opportunity to ask them what was going on in their lives. I never imagined that the way I would be reunited with two lost friends would be 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 was a two-way street. 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, being with other friends, going to social affairs, and attending functions that may not be pleasant, but important to another friend. 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 miscommunication destroy friendships. I learned, good friends never die.
Good Friends Never Die
I found this video by Andy Conway that expresses my sentiments precisely.
© 2010 Glenn Stok
What are your thoughts?
Bianca Steaua on September 11, 2014:
Thanks for the answer that is exactly what I will do!!:)
Glenn Stok (author) from Long Island, NY on September 10, 2014:
Bianca Steaua - You had the same experience as I had, meeting a long-lost friend at a funeral. You're question is - how to handle getting reacquainted. The way I handled it, I just let things follow along as I would with any 'new' friendship. Basically, I let him call the shots. I didn't push to rekindle the friendship. I just let it be known that I was open to it. We had to learn about each other all over again, but that is what happens with new friendships too. So just follow along as it happens.
Bianca Steaua on September 09, 2014:
I really related to your story since I have a friend whom I haven't really talked to in about 7 years and just today we were brought back together at her grandmas funeral! Her grandma had raised both of us together since we were 4 and I miss her dearly! After the funeral I told her I missed her and she said the same I said we should hang out someday, my question to you is what should my next step be? How and about what do I talk to someone who I was once close to but now feel like I know nothing about?
Glenn Stok (author) from Long Island, NY on May 02, 2014:
Nadine May - We have some TV programs here too that offer hidden messages to teach better relationships. But I wonder how many people miss the point and just focus on the humor in the show. Miscommunication is one of the biggest issues that are hard to clear up sometimes. Thanks for your insightful comment.
Nadine May from Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa on May 01, 2014:
I loved your article Glenn. Yes miscommunication is most of the time the reasons for losing friends and even family. I must say that today there are two South African TV soapies that clearly play out how different people see and react to situations. I would love to have written the scripts. It's well done and hopefully of benefit to the viewers besides just entertainment.
betteryou from London UK on April 26, 2012:
What a piece! This resonates with me. I have lost touch with friends that eventually became of great help when we got back together. I believe there's a need to communicate any issue that could create a distance rather than making assumptions. Thanks for sharing.
Glenn Stok (author) from Long Island, NY on January 11, 2010:
Pamela99, I agree with you that we need the communication in order to regain the trust. I didn't think it was the place to get into that discussion at a funeral. I expect that if they desire to regain the friendship as I do, then more knowledge of what really happened will be shared eventually.
Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on January 11, 2010:
Interesting article. I agree that friends are very important. I would probably want to sit down alone with each friend and find out what went wrong because since there was no communication, how do you know it won't happen again? Communication is the most important thing in any relationship and also trust. I am not suggesting they tell you some embarrassing intimate detail but at least some general idea of what went wrong.