Repairing a Broken Friendship When the Opportunity Arises

Updated on September 8, 2017
Glenn Stok profile image

Glenn Stok shares his insight about relationships that he learned from his studies of social behavior and from personal experience.

Things can happen that cause people who once cared for one another to stop communicating and lose touch.

Good friends are hard to come by, but when they are good people it’s a shame to let them go.

I've learned that if they are true friends, they will make every effort to rekindle the friendship when given a chance.

It's important to know how to reconnect when the opportunity presents itself, because your paths may cross when you least expect it. I discovered that true friendships never die. They may just take one of life's synchronicities to bring them together again.

I'll show you how to take advantage of these moments with two examples from my own experience.

Miscommunication Can Damage a Friendship

This first example is about friend I lost because of a failure to communicate. We met in the mid 90’s and we had a lot in common. We both liked the outdoors. We liked to lead healthy lives. We were both single and eager to find a good woman to settle down with. We had different backgrounds but we respected our differing attitudes towards life.

We were also both creative people, and that creativity inspired one another to get involved with various experiences. We shared a lot of information. 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.

What went wrong?

I was in a social group run by a mutual friend where we organized hikes, trips to museums, and social activities around town.

I invited my friend to join the rest of us at one of our events. Everyone saw that he was a fellow of great esteem. The kind of person we all welcomed into the group.


One day my friend asked me to remove him from the mailing list because 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.

I removed him from the mailing list as he had requested. From that day on we hardly spoke. Eventually the phone calls stopped. I didn’t call him anymore and he never called 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 even more. I had no idea what he really wanted, and I never questioned him.

Quick question:

Did you ever lose a friend due to a misunderstanding that was never resolved?

See results

Respecting the Wishes of a Friend Who Needs Space

I had a second friend who I had met in our social group several years earlier. He had dated one woman in the group and she invited him to join the rest of us on a hike.

He was very sociable, friendly and intelligent (Three reasons why everyone welcomed him into the group).

As I got to know him through various social events, we became very good friends. I discovered that he was a very caring person toward his family as well as towards all his friends and acquaintances.

What went wrong?

He was going through a difficult time in his life and once he sent me an email stating that he no longer wanted to be contacted.

Well, when someone says they don’t want to be my friend, I leave them alone. However, I did leave an open door for him by replying to his e-mail 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 at one place or another, but he never called and I respected his wishes.

Quick question:

Did you ever have a friend who needed space and requested to be left alone?

See results

How I Fixed a Broken Friendship When Meeting Unexpectedly

We are all getting older and life is short. One by one, we all are losing our beloved family members. It's at times like this when we remember lost friends who are still alive.

Suddenly the mother of a wonderful friend of mine had passed away. She was struggling with her Mom's poor health for quite some time. Recently she had moved her parents closer so that she could take better care of them since they were both in poor health.

I had attended the memorial service and as I was consoling her, I noticed my two long lost friends on the other side of the room. Finding old friends under these circumstances was the last thing I would have thought would happen.


I worked my way through the room to where they were standing, and I said hello. We chatted for over an hour about all 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, the one who's mother died, overheard when we were stating our intentions to one another about making an effort at rekindling the friendship. She was in a state of grief and yet she was pleased to overhear our discussion. She was actually the only one who kept in contact with all of us lost souls.

We all showed concern for one another. Both of these good friends showed a sincere interest in my life and 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.

Quick question:

Did you ever rekindle a friendship when paths crossed unexpectedly?

See results

How to Heal a Friendship

We sometimes misjudge or misinterpret the reasons for other people’s actions. We may think they are just being silly. Or worse...we take it personally. However, they have their reasons and it may not always be as it appears on the surface.

Sometimes we just need to accept the decisions others make and not feel threatened by it and not shut them out. Of course it was a two-way street, in my case 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. Maybe we just didn't have the desire at the time.

We just 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, but it happens. It's a small world.

It's possible that we will find the friends we lost at the most unexpected times. When that happens, keep an open mind and welcome them back. if it's meant to be, the healing will begin.

A well-known saying that I'm sure you know... "You can select your friends, but you can’t select your family." That’s why it’s so important to hold on to your good friends and don’t let miscommunication destroy friendships. I can add my own quote about friendship now... "True friendships never die."

© 2010 Glenn Stok

I welcome your thoughts...

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    • Glenn Stok profile imageAUTHOR

      Glenn Stok 

      2 years ago from Long Island, NY

      [Updated Nov 2016] I added a quick poll question at the end of each section of this article, for readers to compare their experiences.

    • Bianca Steaua profile image

      Bianca Steaua 

      5 years ago

      Thanks for the answer that is exactly what I will do!!:)

    • Glenn Stok profile imageAUTHOR

      Glenn Stok 

      5 years ago from Long Island, NY

      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 profile image

      Bianca Steaua 

      5 years ago

      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 profile imageAUTHOR

      Glenn Stok 

      5 years ago from Long Island, NY

      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 profile image

      Nadine May 

      5 years ago from Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa

      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 profile image


      7 years ago from London UK

      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 profile imageAUTHOR

      Glenn Stok 

      9 years ago from Long Island, NY

      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.

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 

      9 years ago from Sunny Florida

      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.


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