It’s easy to lose touch with friends and extended family over the years. People get busy with their lives, move to a new location or simply become too distracted to keep personal connections alive. Getting back in touch with lost loved ones can be extremely rewarding. With some friends, you may feel like you picked up right where you left off, and with others, you may be able to forge even closer bonds. Here are some tips and strategies for locating and getting back in touch with old friends or former classmates.
Friend Them on Facebook
Facebook isn’t just for the younger generation, it’s also for the young at heart. People of all ages and all walks of life use Facebook to share personal updates, events and photos. You can use this platform to keep track of what friends are up to, and can even chat them a quick “hello” using the message function. To look for a friend, simply type their name, phone number or email address into the Facebook search bar. Be sure to try all variations of the person’s name when conducting an online search. For example, “Bobby” from grade school may now go by “Robert” or “Rob”. Similarly, surnames can change after a marriage or divorce, so try searching with both if possible.
If you don’t already have your own Facebook page, consider creating one. Once you have a page, Facebook will occasionally suggest friends based on things you have in common (e.g. knowing the same people, attending the same school, growing up in the same town, etc.), and you may be surprised to see a name or two from the past on that list. Also, if you create your own Facebook page, you may find that old friends start finding you!
Use Your Alumni Network
The alumni associations of most colleges and universities and even some high schools maintain extensive member records. Some alumni organizations even have online resources that can help track down a former roommate or other school friend. Just reach out to the school online or by phone and ask for the alumni association’s contact information. From there, you can begin your search.
Leverage Other Resources
There are a number of other online resources that may be useful in tracking down old friends. LinkedIn is a professional networking site that can be helpful for locating former work colleagues. Classmates is a reunion website, and it may be helpful in locating friends from elementary, middle school or high school. A Google image search can also be a worthwhile tool. If a photo of the person you’re searching for has appeared in a newspaper or has been published on a website, blog or social media site, then they may show up in a Google image search.
Try These Tips for Reconnecting
If you do locate a long-lost friend, reach out casually. Try sending a short message via email or social media or even drop a short note in the mail. Let the person know that you’re sad that you’ve lost touch and would like to revive the connection, and then leave it to them to make the next move. If your friend is interested in seeing you, try to make specific plans. Don’t say something vague like: “Let’s get together sometime!” Instead, extend an invitation for a specific time and place and then be sure to keep your plans. Rekindling a friendship can take time, so be patient. Also, be aware that time has likely changed both you and your friend. Attitudes and value systems evolve and change over time, so approach your reconnection with an open mind.
At Lighthouse Senior Living we place great importance on the value of fostering and maintaining friendships. Personal connections are a key component of our holistic approach to well being. To learn more about us, schedule a tour today.