As we go through different stages of life—entering college, changing jobs, or just growing busy from changing responsibilities—we sometimes lose touch with old friends. Though it is normal for friendships to change with time, we don’t have to give up on a relationship simply because we are in a different stage of life.
Is there a friend you’ve been meaning to check up on? Someone you have been thinking about for a while now but haven’t talked to recently?
As you think about rekindling those relationships, here are a few things to consider.
1. Bring it to God first
Before we send out that text or dial a call, we can take a moment to pray for our friends. After all, God knows and loves our friends more than we ever can. He knows their needs just as He knows ours (Matthew 6:8). It makes sense to check in with Him and ask how He would guide this relationship we’re seeking to rekindle.
Since we are told to bring all our requests before God (Philippians 4:6), let us ask God for wisdom and love as we reach out. Let us pray for God to open our eyes to any needs we don’t know of yet, and ways we can encourage. Let us entrust our plans and relationships to our faithful God.
2. Step out in action
After praying for our friends and our relationships with them, it’s time to reach out. After all, what is our love worth if we take no action (1 John 3:18)? We can start by texting or calling—a quick “how have you been lately?” can start some good conversations—but if possible, try to meet up.
It’s amazing how inviting someone over for dinner or coffee encourages them to open up. But if that’s difficult, we could also invite the friend to some event or place we would both enjoy. Maybe a park, a concert, or local bookstore?
If the friend lives further away, consider sending a handwritten card or note letting them know we’re thinking of them.
3. Practice intentional conversation
Once we’ve reconnected with our friends, let’s practice our listening skills. Whether it is over a cup of coffee or through text conversations, let us ask open-ended questions and hear how our friends are doing.
What have they been focusing on lately (school, work, family or relationships. . .)? What are some ways in which they have grown or matured? What are some things they are anxious about or struggling with?
Not everyone will spill their heart out in the first few conversations. But if we continue praying over the relationship, being slow to speak but eager to listen (James 1:19), God will show us how best to love our friends.
4. Do it all for building up
As we interact with our old friends, let us be intentional in what we say, doing our best to encourage and to build up (1 Thessalonians 5:11). If in our careful listening, we learn that there is something to celebrate in their life, let us not be shy in affirming it! If, on the other hand, our friend is going through a difficult time, let us comfort and encourage.
And for Christian and non-Christian friends alike, let’s remember that there is nothing more uplifting than the gospel truth the Bible presents to us: that God created us, loves us, gave His own life to redeem us, and walks with us even through the hardest times. As we rebuild old friendships, let us remind each other of these foundational truths.
5. Keep being a friend always
Finally, don’t let this be a one-time catch up. Just as Paul faithfully remembered and prayed for his friends (1 Thessalonians 1:2-3), let us also be faithful in loving our friend even as we’re apart. We can follow up with a text letting our friends know how great it was seeing them again. We can check in every so often to see how they are doing. We can schedule our next get-together. And most importantly, we can continue faithfully praying for our friends.
God has blessed us with different friends throughout our lives. As we grow and walk our different paths, let’s continue to check in with one another, and praise God for the ways He is working. As we reach out to our friends, listen, and encourage them, may we, too, find encouragement through the gift of rekindled friendship.