Day 4: Reach Out to Someone You’ve Lost Touch With
A Community Exercise
This challenge is going to be a bit harder today and require some bravery on your part. But this wouldn’t be a challenge without some true challenges.
Some anxiety or nervousness might bubble up — which is normal! And in fact, that’s the perfect time to push through these uncomfortable feelings and prove to yourself you can overcome these burdensome thoughts.
The Goal of This Challenge
The main goal of this day’s challenge is to remember to keep in touch with the people who add positivity to our lives and who have been, and still are, supportive of you. Life can move so quickly. And our priorities and routines change as we get older. Unfortunately, that sometimes means leaving important friendships on the back burner.
Friendships are a lot of work to maintain — and there’s always an excuse to reach out later because there are other tasks that need to get done “first.”
But we can always pause to nourish that friendship if they’re important to us. That’s what we’re doing today.
The 3 Reasons Why It's Important to Reach Out to Someone
I’m taking some inspiration from an Instagram posted by my friend, Aaron, from the podcast, This Is Your Friend. Which, he actually created after being inspired from a video I posted with an explanation about this challenge.
So… I guess you could call this inspo-ception?
He took what I said in my video and broke it down into the three main reasons why we should reach out to someone that we haven’t talked to for a while.
Reason 1: To Remember Who You Once Were
Old friends are conduits of your former self.
Having a conversation with someone you’ve touch with can bring out a side of yourself that you haven’t felt or seen in a while. It can also be a measure of how much you’ve grown.
“Remember that one time…” can being back some hilarious memories you may have forgotten. – @ThisIsYourFriendAaron
While dwelling on the past can sometimes be fruitless, it’s such a great reminder to yourself (and maybe even to the person you’re talking to) how far you’ve come in your own journey (oooh, is this some foreshadowing to an upcoming challenge?!).
I encourage you to pay attention to the conversation you’re having vs. what types of conversations you’ve had before.
Plus, as Aaron mentioned, you have the benefit of being able to look on good memories that you’ve been through together — and that heartwarming nostalgia always brings on some good, fuzzy feels (oooh, is that another foreshadow to a future challenge?!).
Reason 2: They Could Be Thinking the Same Things
Imagine a closed door with both of you standing on the opposite side of it, but neither of you are willing to open it in fear of the other side being empty
Fear of rejection is tough, but this can be a great exercise in diving in.
More often than not, you will receive a reply. The fear of rejection reflects more on how we perceive ourselves than we what believe the other person might do. – @ThisIsYourFriendAaron
Usually the worst-case scenario that conjure in our heads are exactly that — imaginary scenarios all made up in our head.
Often times that person, especially if it’s someone you consider (or considered) a friend, they will answer you and be glad that you reached out.
And who knows, maybe they need someone to reach out to them, but don’t know how to start. You could be that lifeline they need.
Reason 3: To Forgive Someone, or Put Some Past Tensions to Rest
There might be someone out there thinking and holding on to the idea, “have they forgiven me yet?”
Although it’s important that they find the strength to move on themselves, it could be cathartic for both of you if you reach out and say that you forgive them for X, Y, and Z. – @ThisIsYourFriendAaron
I added putting some past tensions to rest, because when it comes down to it, this is all about closure.
It’s not a great feeling to have something hanging above our heads.
And just like the above point, we tend to exaggerate the worst-case scenarios, or they end up being more manageable than we think.
Use today’s challenge as permission to release yourself from this nagging guilt. A stronger relationship could even be a result. And if not, you’ll feel relief that you won’t be wondering “what if?” all the time.
Bonus: A Reason NOT to Reach Out
If you’re reaching out to someone just to see if they’re sorry yet, then you’re being pretty selfish. It doesn’t matter if it’s been two weeks or two years.
Starting a conversation with someone you’ve lost touch with just to get an apology is counter-productive to growth and self-esteem.
Understanding why someone did something rather than seeking their admittance of wrong will help in more aspects of your life. – @ThisIsYourFriendAaron
The purpose of this challenge is to reach out to a person you’ve touch with with compassionate motivations.
This isn’t a time to make someone guilty — this is a mental-wellbeing challenge after all.
So if you’re feeling unsure whether to send a message or not, make sure you re-read the message you’re sending. What’s the motivation for sending that message? Usually discovering the root of that motivation can point you in the right direction.
Feeling Stuck Still?
Aaron also gave an example template you could use if you’re unsure how to start a message.
I get it, it can be super awkward to reach out to someone you haven’t talked to for a while, but using this template might help relieve that uncomfortableness.
“Hey, I know it’s been a long time, but I’m wondering how you’ve been and I’m reaching out because…”