Self Improvement 21: Call An Old Friend
Sometimes you bump into old friends on the street or a shopping mall. You chat for a few minutes and say goodbye. You think to yourself that you should do that more often but then life interferes and you never quite get to it.
Do it! Keep the people you care about close!
Make new friends, but don’t forget the old. One is silver, the other is gold. ~ Unknown
Friendship breakups are weird. Especially when there’s no beef. You are just not that close anymore.
You thought that you would be BFF, but now you just say “Hi” to avoid the awkwardness.
The most important thing in your life is the people in it.
The size of your network is proportional to your success. The more people you are connected to, the more opportunities you have in your life.
Find out what happened to your classmates or ex-colleagues you spent so much time with. Select the relationships that you want to warm up and ask them for lunch. Or you may have a reunion of the people who have worked with you at company X over the years.
Keeping the relationships fresh will take less time than forming new ones. As you get older people in your life will drift away. Make an effort to keep your network together.
Create a network of weak ties
Make a decision to change that give yourself a huge benefit of building a network of weak ties. The weak ties are connections in your network that you meet only a few times a year.
The weak in this case means that they are far enough from your inner circle to bring you the new information you are not exposed to in your daily interactions. For example, research has shown that people who find new jobs through personal contacts most often find them through weak ties.
It’s refreshing to meet people you haven’t talked to in a long time. Find out what they have been up to and what they are doing right now. If you plan the encounter in advance, you can think of things that might be useful for the other person or come up with a small way to offer your help.
Love, friendship, networking – these are all critical connections and the foundation of a healthy, happy life. ~ Whitney Wolfe Herd
In the case where you haven’t talked to the friend in years calling them just to say hello is a great idea. You don’t have to have any specific plan. Call them, ask how have they been and suggest that you might meet for a coffee or drink at a specific time in the near future. Have a place and time ready so you don’t waste time or lose the opportunity because you can’t come up with the details. Just to ease your own cognitive load you can arrange all the meetings in just a few convenient places.
Meeting an old friend will bring up memories that will make your day brighter. Getting new information about your friends family, work, friends, etc. will create new opportunities in your personal and professional life.
Old relationships may fade a bit, but if you revive them, you will have deeper connections than the ones you have with more recent acquaintances that you meet every day. Don’t let your relationships disappear as they are one of the most valuable resource you have.
If you think calling people after 10 years out of the blue might seem weird then find excuses. Occasions that warrant a call:
- new job (yours or theirs),
- new baby,
- weddings, and
specific events you have experienced together in the past. It’s not really that hard, and you can reuse the same excuses on different friends.
The habit of keeping in touch
Make it a habit!
If you would call one person in your weak tie network every day, then you can contact 180 people twice a year. With this level of connections, you would probably be the most connected person in your network. A central hub with ties that can help you out in every situation that life throws at you.
As in the case of wines that improve with age, the oldest friendships ought to be the most delightful. ~ Cicero
Dunbar’s number says that we can manage a network of 150 personal relationships. Make the most of it! Here’s what you should do:
- Open a spreadsheet and brainstorm a list of people whom you want to keep in touch with. The first 10 or 20 are easy. Then dig into your email history, Facebook chats, and other places where you can find people you don’t interact with very often.
- In the second column add the date when you last contacted them
- Third column for their birthdays.
- Use the next column for notes about what interests them, personal facts, family, etc.
- And in the last column put the notes about the latest interaction you had.
Call several friends and host a party to remember old times.
Now go right ahead and call an old friend or a relative, colleague.
Image: Phone girl by Martin Lundgren