Social distancing may protect us from medical harm but has been particularly hard on our relationships with friends and loved ones. Most of us have been turning to old pleasures, almost forgotten pastimes, and even childhood comfort foods to help stave off a somewhat higher risk of depression and anxiety.
Quarantine life tends to lead to the occasional wallow in nostalgia, hence the nationwide phenomenon of indulgent baking, cooking, and gardening. Such leisurely pastimes often go hand in hand with some soul searching.
You may be considering reconnecting with someone from your past. It can be a heartwarming or harrowing experience, but if your aim is to get some form of closure on a specific period in your life it could be worth taking the plunge.
Before you reach out to an old friend, you need to formulate some goals to avoid disappointment. Lockdown regulations can both help and hinder, so a little planning will go a long way towards easing a potentially awkward reunion.
Examine Your Expectations Before You Start Searching For Your Friend
Is your need to reach out simply a form of cabin fever, an attempt to fix old mistakes, or a sincere wish to catch up with old friends? Keep in mind that some may not want to reconnect. Put yourself in their shoes, and reflect on what your reaction might be if someone from your past suddenly contacted you.
Social Media Is A Good First Step
It’s easiest to reach out on a social media platform if both of you have accounts on the same one. Start with a search using your friend’s name and surname, plus any associated terms like the name of the city where you last met.
You can use variations of their name, nicknames, and last name. Many women assume their husband’s last name after getting married but may list their previous name on their social media profile.
Move On To A Search Engine Query
Use the same search method you used on social media platforms There’s no harm in adding the last phone number you can remember. It may give you an exact result instantly.
Has Your Friend Fallen Off The Grid?
If you can’t find someone via these basic, but quite effective methods, you should perhaps reconsider the whole exercise. There are good reasons why ordinary people may choose to distance themselves from our hyper-connected society.
They may simply have exercised their choice not to live online and may have scrubbed any mentions from the internet. Although it is a difficult and almost never-ending process, it is certainly possible for those who are determined to follow a more private life. If your search is a matter of urgency, you can take the next step and use a people-search website or service to track them down.
Before You Reach Out
Perhaps you found your friend on social media but couldn’t access any details due to her privacy settings. If you have any misgivings about your compatibility, or if your search has come up with red flags, you should consider using a full-service data agency and pay for a comprehensive personal profile. Nuwber has access to information from all over the internet and is one of the few data aggregators who can include social media profiles.
Social Distancing Rules Can Be A Mixed Blessing
Under normal circumstances, you would probably have arranged a low-key meeting by grabbing a cup of coffee in a neutral neighborhood. A short, informal meeting makes it easier to manage boundaries if you should feel disappointed or overwhelmed.
With fewer options in lockdown life, you’ll have to consider other alternatives for that important first contact and plan a way to make a quick escape if you need one. “Technology is not perfect” can be a good excuse if you need a pause to regroup.
- Email: This is like old-world snail-mail, only much faster. Don’t pour your heart out in the first message, but make it clear that you’d like to catch up.
- Phone call: This is what we used to do before we had instant chat.
- Chat apps with or without video: Currently, we are spoilt for choice. You probably have one or more favorites. Skype, WhatsApp, Telegram, Zoom, and Discord are just a few of many well-known ways to communicate online. It might even be as uncomplicated as using the Facebook live chat portal.
8 Tips To Make The Most Of An Online Meet-up
- Dress like you would have had you met at the coffee shop. Use a pleasant but neutral background for video chats.
- Use humor to break the ice. Remind her of a funny memory to instantly cover an awkward moment.
- If you parted on less than friendly terms, get it out of the way with a polite apology, or if you were at the receiving end of a dispute, accepting one.
- Get the conversation going by asking questions. People generally enjoy talking about themselves and like to share their achievements and highlight successes.
- Don’t drown her in details. Stick to the biggies at first, and don’t share sensitive information at this stage.
- Avoid oversharing: You cannot return to your previous level of intimacy without exploring a little deeper.
- Don’t assume you still know everything about her. Life is unpredictable, and people’s lives sometimes take strange and crooked turns. Events and experiences may have changed both of you in ways you could never have predicted.
- Cautiously explore possible changes in opinion on matters that are very important to you.
If It Goes Wrong, Blame Technology
It is unlikely that you’ll simply pick up where you left off, but a pleasant first meeting can lead to a gradual reconnection on the levels that matter to you.
If it all goes wrong, your phone battery might die, you could have an internet outage, or (best excuse) suffer a complete computer failure.
A white lie might save you from some temporary embarrassment and allow you to gather your wits, but if you come to the conclusion that meeting up was a mistake, you should deal with it. Soon.