The secret to reconnecting with someone is to reach out and warm up the relationship long before you need anything from them.
I’m sure you’ve all been in a situation, either personally or professionally where you haven’t heard from someone for years, and then suddenly they’re all up in your inbox or call you out of the blue, asking you for a favour. Doesn’t it make you feel gross? It certainly doesn’t inspire you to help them out, I mean, they obviously don’t give a shit about you – they’re only getting in touch because they want something.
Compare that feeling to when someone you’re in regular contact with, who’s always got your back, who referred an amazing client to you the other day, who recommended you for that podcast you’d love to be on, who sent you flowers when you were sick last month. When they ask for a favour how do you feel? It’s completely different, right? You’d bend over backwards to help them out, because you know they’re as invested in your relationship as you are.
So, when you’re reaching out and reconnecting, please don’t be that first person!
Figure out the ‘who’ and the ‘why’
The first step to reconnecting elegantly is to figure out who you want to reconnect with and why. Some people you may have lost touch with because you have grown apart, others just because life got busy and they dropped off your radar. Have a rummage through your contacts and make a list of everyone you’d like to reach out to again.
There may well be a few names on your list that you’re not sure about, and it’s worth sitting with these for a few days to see if you really want to rekindle the relationship, or if you’re ready to let go and move on.
This can be a bit tricky, but if you haven’t spoken to them for ages, then it’s fine to just not initiate any further contact with them. You don’t need to apologise or explain, just let the connection go. Sometimes it’s nice to do a quick gratitude and release ritual, especially if that person was important to you in the past.
Once you know who you want to reach out to, it’s time to get going – pick 5 or 10 people a day, and just shoot them an email and say hello. It’s that simple.
It doesn’t need to be a massive essay, telling them everything that’s been going on in your life, or apologising for being out of touch for so long. In fact, sending a super long email can be counter-productive because long emails are incredibly difficult to reply to, and can create a lot of pressure for the recipient.
Short and sweet
Just say something like, “Oh wow, it’s been ages! I was doing ‘whatever’ (talking to a mutual friend, reading an article, listening to a podcast etc etc) the other day and it reminded me of you, and I just wanted to reach out and say hi! I’d really love to have a proper catch- up, what’s new in your world?”
It’s super simple, no pressure, and puts the ball firmly in their court. If they’ve stopped getting in touch with you for a reason you’ll soon find out! But most of the time you’ll get a joyful and enthusiastic response. And then you can make sure you keep in touch with them moving forward.
It’s really handy to be able to keep a record of who’ve spoken to, and when, and if they responded. This is where using a CRM can be a lifesaver. Hubspot, for example, tracks and saves your emails back and forth.
I’d also recommend that you set yourself a reminder for reaching out again in the future, say a month afterwards, but obviously that might not be necessary if you suddenly start chatting daily on Instagram, for example. Trust your instincts, and see where the relationship takes you.