With the ease of the Internet for contacting old sweethearts and old friends, a little wisdom goes a long way. Here are some guidelines to assist you in staying in the present time zone while you reach into the past.
1) Let go of expectations.
Aim to rekindle the friendship…not the love affair…and see what the situation is currently. It is easy to fill in the gap that lapsed years have created with a fantasy image of the other person. Before you build a relationship-or super hero- in your mind, check in on reality.
2) Be respectful of the other person’s current situation.
Write and say “Hello! Remember me?” and begin a dialog BEFORE you blurt out the fact that you had a huge crush on him/her in high school and haven’t ever forgotten them. If indeed they are involved with someone else, just let them know you saw their name on Facebook or Classmates or wherever, and wanted to say “hi,” and keep your childhood crush to yourself. Then let them take the lead on whether they want to meet again. Regardless of whether they are “happily” or “unhappily” married, for your own sake as well as all involved, be respectful of the fact that they are married.
3) If you or your old friend is married, involve the spouse/s in the new friendship.
Keep in mind that if you haven’t seen someone for five, ten or fifty years, while they may be an old friend, it will be a new friendship. If you or your old flame is married, and if you decide to meet each other again, involve your spouse(s). If your intentions are not pure enough for you to become friends with their spouse or they with yours, your intentions are not pure enough to rekindle the friendship.
4) To get reacquainted, ask-and answer-questions.
Not sure what to say? Questions are a great way to spark up a conversation and to get reacquinted. A gentle way of starting is to share of yourself first and then ask a question. Sharing a little about yourself will open the doors and make the interaction more of a conversation than an interview. Say, for instance, “I’m a computer analyst. What about you?” rather than “What do you do for a living?”
Remember, people change over the course of time. Don’t make assumptions that they are still the same person you used to know. Behave as if you are meeting a familiar stranger. Let your natural curiosity serve you. Want some help? “Intellectual Foreplay: Questions for Lovers and Lovers-to-Be” has hundreds of questions that are appropriate to getting reacquainted with an old friend.
5) Don’t take “rejection” personally.
When contacting someone out of the blue, you never know what is going on in their life at that time. Don’t take it personally if they aren’t interested in getting reacquainted. There are multitudes of reasons that have nothing to do with you that may cause someone not to write back or to be uninterested in rekindling a friendship or romance. Not the least of which is mail lost in cyberspace. Don’t push the river. Be assertive, but not pushy. Simply make the invitation and see what happens.
6) Move into the present rapidly.
When talking with someone from the past, it is easy to get caught up in reliving the past. Once you’ve reminisced about the days of old, move rapidly into the present to build a current friendship or relationship. Make this a wonderful process of discovery based in the here and now.
Wishing you the best!