As you grow older, you may realize you've lost a lot of the friends you used to have when you were younger.
Even though this is a seemingly natural progression, and is based on the major life changes you go through in your 20s – like moving away or just not having enough time – it TOTALLY sucks.
Losing a friend you were once close to is the worst, and it's very tempting to try and pick things up where you left off. But if a lot of time has passed, it's not so easy.
And sometimes, it can do more harm than good.
Here's how to figure out whether or not it's time to revive a dead friendship:
1. Assess WHY you had the falling out.
People fall apart for a variety of different reasons.
Maybe you had a huge fight, or maybe your schedules just don't sync up anymore. Whatever the reason may be, figure out if your relationship can come back from it before you make the leap.
If a huge fight was the reason for your relationship ending, or if there were certain traits in your friend you just couldn't see yourself relating to anymore, it's better to keep the friendship in the past.
There's no reason to bring up old wounds.
2. Are you glamorizing the past?
If the reason for your falling out wasn't a huge fight and simply a natural distancing due to growing older, that doesn't necessarily mean you should revive your friendship. We tend to always focus on the past in a way that makes it seem way better than it actually was.
Before you try to revive a dead friendship, NYU psychiatry professor Irene Levine says,
Sometimes we romanticize our friendships, and maybe we forget some of the reasons why we ended [the relationship]. You might be going back into the same morass that you left.
So, maybe you just stopped getting along. Maybe she used to get you, but now doesn't.
If there were underlying reasons that made you question your friendship, it's probably better not to hurt yourself by trying to force something that just isn't going to happen.
3. If you've changed, realize your friend probably changed, too.
If you're SURE you're not romanticizing a past relationship and just really want to get your friend back, make sure you have reasonable expectations before you do so.
If your friendship faded awhile ago, chances are, you've changed... in the same way most of us do as we navigate our crazy 20s.
Realize your friendship might not be the same as it was when you left it... and that's OK.
Your friendships change and grow, so you should have reasonable expectations.
4. Cautiously figure out if your relationship is one-sided or not.
So, say you've reached out to a friend and are excited about rekindling your friendship. You can't wait to hang out and be so close, the way you used to be.
But you should still be aware your relationship might not be as great as you hoped it would be.
Just because YOU'RE so excited about your long lost bestie, that doesn't mean he or she feels the same. You could be so excited that you're missing MAJOR red flags.
You might misperceive social cues, [or] she might not be listening when you think she is, or she might be judgmental and you don't realize.
Make sure you see the truth.
5. Consider the timing.
The great thing about Facebook and Instagram is you can figure out what's going on in your long lost bestie's life without so much as picking up the phone.
Is your friend going through a major change at work, or did he or she just break up with a significant other after a long period of time?
If so, it might not be the best time to reach out. With so much change in your friend's life, you might be one change too many.
It's true what they say: Timing really is everything.