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
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.
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: birthdays, anniversaries, holidays, 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.
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