Sometimes you fall out of touch with people. It happens. Life comes at you, people get busy, and routines shift. That can make it really difficult to spend time with friends you used to see all the time. It can be tempting to reach out to rekindle what you once had, but that’s not always necessary. You can stop worrying about catching up with friends.
The catching up with friends meaning a lot of people think of is problematic. You envision two people coming together over drinks and having a conversation like no time passed at all. That’s totally possible. But it isn’t possible with all your friends.
Most of the time, people reach out because they’re trying to reclaim an old life they left behind only to realize that life doesn’t exist anymore. Other times, people reach out simply because they feel they have to.
Let’s talk about why you don’t have to suggest getting together for coffee the next time you bump into a friend from your past.
Why You Can Stop Worrying About Catching Up With Friends
If you feel like it’s time to start catching up with friends after a long time, take a second before you reach out. Here are eight very simple reasons why you can stop worrying about catching up with friends.
001: Literally everyone is busy.
Look. It would be great if we had room on our calendar for all our friends every single week. I mean, remember when we were like 21 and all our time not spent working or in class was with friends? That was fun.
But that was a long time ago for me, and now, I don’t have that kind of free time. Nor do I have the energy, if I’m being honest. Sure, it would be great to be a social butterfly, but I’m not.
So those catching up with friends messages you send via text or Instagram are fine. You can reach out to people you genuinely want to see again. But don’t expect people to be able to jump on those messages.
And for what it’s worth, this post is being written in 2022, a time when we’re all trying to process the past few years. People have a fraction of the energy they would’ve had under normal circumstances.
002: Catching up with friends is a two way street.
Catching up with friends can be fun. But you can’t be the only person pushing for it. You can’t be the only person who feels obligated to do it.
If you find yourself consistently being the one to suggest hang outs or getting together, that may mean that the catch up is only something you want.
Now, we have discussed that everyone is busy. So, it could just be bad timing. But pay attention to the people who never have time over the course of many seasons. That’s a sign that they’re not interested.
That may hurt to think about, but people grow apart.
003: Not everyone is worth catching up with.
It seems very silly and disingenuous to me when people I barely knew want to get together. If we had no real past, what would we talk about?
I’ve taken a lot of classes and had a ton of different jobs. Through all that, I’ve met a lot of people. I do not hang out with many people from those life experiences.
Just because someone is in your proximity doesn’t mean they’re your friend. I know that worked really well when we were kids and you were forced to be friends with the kids in your class or who rode the bus with you. But that’s not how adult friendships work.
Having spent years with coworkers does not always equate to friendships that need to be maintained.
004: Meaningful friendships can withstand the time.
Now, I’m not saying that you should never catch up with people. There are people worth reaching out to, and people that will be happy to hear from you.
But those friendships that actually mean something? Those are the kind where you don’t have to try. You don’t have to worry about the catching up with friends questions to cover all the bases. Instead, you can just be with each other.
If you can show up at someone’s house in a pair of yoga pants and a hoodie after a few years of not seeing one another and just sit on the couch like no time has passed, those are the people that you need to keep up with.
The people who spend so much time looking for activities for you two to do together? Not so much. Sure, activities are fun, but often they’re a distraction from actually spending quality time with a friend.
005: You’re not who you used to be.
People will fall by the wayside as life progresses. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. I’m not the same person I was in high school or college or even when I started this website in 2013. It only stands to reason that I don’t hang out with people I used to.
So don’t spend time nurturing a friendship that doesn’t serve you now. This may sound harsh, but you can’t be a friend to someone who expects the old version of you.
Think about what you need from friends and if older friendships actually serve that function. Then, determine if you’re trying to play the role of your past self in these friendships. That’s a sign that this friendship has run its course.
006: Seasons of life end.
Similar to the previous point, you aren’t alway going to be a person who is doing what you’re doing now. You won’t always be going to the gym you attend, nor will you always have the job you have.
The acquaintances you made during those seasons will naturally fall away when the one thing you had in common is taken out of the equation.
Sure, you may meet someone from those experiences that becomes your lifelong friend. But that’s rare. Mostly, you’re going to meet a lot of people you don’t ever think about again.
I only bring this up because it’s easy to see in adult experiences. But for some reason, we spend a lot of time nurturing friendships from childhood that make no sense to nurture. Having known someone for a long time can be meaningful. But it also isn’t always necessarily the case.
If you find that you’re still friends with someone you have nothing in common with, you should rethink that friendship.
007: Relationships don’t carry the same weight over time.
Sometimes the person who was your best friend in college becomes nothing more than a background character in your adult life, if they even maintain that importance.
What you need from friendships changes as you age, so what someone could offer you as a friend back in the day is probably not what you need now. It’s only natural to value that friendship differently as time progresses.
And for what it’s worth, a lot of people hold onto old friendships for a long time simply because they’ve put a lot of time into them. So they continue putting in more time, even though they don’t necessarily get what they need from those friendships.
The sunk cost fallacy applies to friendships. Keep that in mind.
And this also applies to writer friends.
008: Obligation is not friendship.
And at the end of the day, sometimes we can’t see the difference between being obligated to someone and actually being a friend. If you only feel catching up with friends is necessary like doing a chore, then it’s time to think about if you’re actually friends or simply feel like that relationship is a chore to tend to.
If it’s a chore, it’s not a friendship.
Do You Worry About Catching Up With Friends?
Do you feel obligated to maintain friendships? Are you working on nurturing friendships that only served a past version of yourself? Don’t you love the friendships that can withstand the test of time and you can catch up like no time has passed?