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Is There a Good Time to Get Back Together With a Friend?

This is a complicated question so let’s break it down:

How do you know if your friend has changed and if it will be a healthy friendship for you both?
While we often hope there will be some sort of obvious sign that someone has changed, we infrequently get a clear indication. When someone changes for the positive, which takes a great deal of insight, self reflection and hard emotional work we will feel it more than we will see it. If a friend asks to tell you about how they have changed, be skeptical. People who have truly changed will show you through their behaviors, beginning with your first contact.

How do you reinitiate a friendship? Do you talk about what went wrong and what you both need?
Our society is in a deep communication void. We do not talk with friends, coworkers and partners about our deep feelings, instead we talk to others about our resentments. We all need to make a concerted effort to practice communicating no matter how hard it feels.

Communication leads to understanding, empathy and connection. Yes, if you are reconnecting with someone, start with talking about what happened from both of your perspectives. Make sure you are patient and listen clearly to their experience without being defensive, judgmental and attacking. You should also have a chance to say your thoughts about what happened between the two of you.

I recommend you start the conversation with a clear statement expressing your desire to come back together. For example, a good opener would be, “ I know we haven’t hung out in quite a while. When I saw a movie the other day I really wanted to pick up the phone and tell you about it. I would really like for us to be in each other’s lives again and share experiences.” Starting this way will make the conversation about the more challenging parts of your relationship more digestible to your friend.

Do you set parameters?
Setting explicit parameters with the other person can be seen and felt as controlling. However, I think we should always have our own private parameters for what we are willing to tolerate in a friendship. We need to keep an eye on our limits and be very clear with ourselves when they are being pushed.

How do you start up the friendship again? Do you jump right back into it or space out your get-togethers?
This is a tough question and depends on how you are feeling after the first contact. If someone hurt you, then it would be a good idea to go back in to the relationship slowly. This is so that the emotional part of our nervous system (which is slower than the cognitive part) can really absorb the change in behavior. We need to be patient with ourselves as we do the brave work of reconnecting.

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels


What Should I Do Next?

When you’re ready to begin therapy, we hope you’ll consider contacting The Center for CBT in New York City. We offer a safe space where you are free to be who you really are and express yourself and your values authentically. We embrace, value, and welcome people of all sexual orientations, genders, and racial identities. The Center for CBT in New York City makes beginning your therapy journey simple. You can get started any time by completing our online consultation request form. One of our team members will be in touch within 24 business hours to answer your questions.

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