As you move up in age, you grow likelier to experience the fizzling out of a friendship or two.
The moment you realize a friendship to be descending in its intensity is a poignant one. That moment signifies that the natural process of change dictates you to no longer be compatible with someone else. The reason why these moments are sometimes painful is because they tend to make us question whether our own shortcomings played a role in the matter.
Physical absence plays a major role in the drop of a friendship’s intensity as well.
Your childhood friends may have chosen to attend a college on the other side of the country, and your colleagues may have accepted a job offer in another country altogether. It’s difficult to overcome the burdens that distance and absence place on the relationships you have with those who were previously around you.
Life works in funny ways, however. The friends you thought you lost can squeeze back into your conscience in a positive turn of events. You may find yourself needing to return back home from wherever you ventured from, or may discover that your old friends just got off a train from the other side of the country. Rekindling those friendships would be your next to-do.
This article is about reintroducing yourself to friends or acquaintances after an absence.
Though the occasion is often joyous and positive, you should beware of a few common pitfalls that people fall victim to in these specified moments of reunion.
People Want Their Growth to Be Recognized by Way of Behavior Change
Since some time has passed since the friendships you’re reintroducing yourself to had fizzled out, it’s safe to assume that everyone involved has undergone at least some change.
People are sensitive to how others perceive the changes they undergo. If those changes are negative – such as being plagued by a serious health issue – then we’re cautious in terms of whom we allow to observe those changes. We try not allowing others to see our changes for the worse, and find ourselves acting covertly in an effort to keep those changes hidden.
Changes we perceive to be positive on the other hand, entice us to be sensitive in a different manner. We yearn to be recognized for our act of changing in a more positive direction. We want our new haircuts to be complimented, and the weight we’ve lost to be acknowledged.
Our presentation of positive changes we make in life comes with a window of vulnerability through which those changes are first analyzed. The most vulnerable point is waiting for our changes to be reacted to, not knowing what someone’s reaction is going to be.
Our hope is that the positive changes we undergo are perceived as positively by others as they are felt by us. Sometimes though, our own understanding of the changes we’ve undergone is either misinterpreted or simply overlooked by observers.
Whilst reintroducing yourself to those you’ve been friendly with in the past, it’s important to be sensitive to changes those people perceive to have positively made while you were gone. If you’re not, you risk offending people by simply acting as if nothing’s changed and starting back where you left off in the relationship at hand.
Your act of perceiving there to be no changes about those you haven’t seen in a while can be offensive.
Akin to shedding 30 lb. and not having anyone comment on the milestone, the ones who’ve made positive changes in their lives will feel unacknowledged. It’s thereby respectful to tread carefully and react to any changes the people you’re reuniting with perceive as positive about themselves.
Starting back where you left off may be the wrong move if the people you reintroduce yourself to find it offensive that you don’t perceive them to have grown, matured, or changed. Your act of acting the same way you acted around them a long time ago can be a sign that you don’t perceive them to have grown from when you saw them last.
It’s important to first observe the changes people you’re reuniting with have undergone, and only then to settle into a desired course of action and dialogue around them.
Remember, people want the changes they’ve undergone to be taken seriously. We all yearn to grow and improve as time goes on. Depending on how they’ve grown, simply acting the same way you acted with them prior to your absence may, in fact, offend them.
They May Have New People Around Them (Whom They Respect More Than You)
Your absence from a friendship can naturally provide opportunities for your friends to make new friends to take your place. The new friends they make in your place can even surpass the rung on the friendship ladder which you climbed up to prior to your absence.
In re introducing yourself to your friends after an absence, it’s easy to look past the fact that though your friendship with them didn’t diminish, they may have discovered new levels to meaningful friendships they’ve never reached with you.
Whilst assuming that you’re still great friends, you can get upset when these old friends seem less available in respects to making plans or showering you with attention upon your arrival. Similar to instances of our best friends finding a significant other they’re enamored with, seeing the intensity of our friendship with an individual be surpassed by the intensity of their newer friendships can be demotivating.
Ensure you’re aware that your spot in whatever social circle you’re reintroducing yourself to may not have changed, but may have been surpassed in status / intensity. Rather than acting in ways which signify jealousy of others taking your spot in whatever social pecking order you’re returning to, observe where you sit, then act in accordance.