Have you ever lost touch with an old friend and wished you had stayed in touch? Reconnecting with people from our past is a normal part of life. But, do you ever notice when and why you strive to reconnect with former friends? New research suggests that you might be more likely to reach out to old friends when you feel less secure at work – and when those close to you are stressing you out. Read more to see how reconnecting with friends might help you in times of need!
Why Do People Like to Reconnect?
As human beings, we encounter a lot of stressors in our lives. When we experience these stressors, we often look for support from others. This is because we are social creatures. We celebrate our successes with others – and we also try to recover from our losses together. Affiliative coping theory says that we try to alleviate our stress by turning to others for help. This can be accomplished either by attempting to care for those you already know or by reaching out to new folks who might become friends. This is called the “tend and befriend” effect.
One form of caring for those you already know is by reconnecting with old friends, who you haven’t talked to in a while. While making new friends can be nice, you can reconnect with someone you used to know more quickly. This is because trust is lost very slowly and rebuilt very quickly. So, when you reconnect with old friends, it’s a more efficient way of coping with stress. And it works! Social support decreases the number of stressors you experience and makes stressors feel less stressful!
When Are You Likely to Reconnect?
New research shows that two work and family-related factors play a role in whether or not you decide to reconnect with old friends. First, when you experience insecurity in your job, you may be more likely to reconnect with old friends. This may be because you are feeling stressed and you want to share your feelings with someone. But, you don’t have time to make a new friend and become comfortable enough to tell them your troubles. So, an old friend might be better able to play that role! We have talked about the importance of having good, solid friendships in your life before.
Second, if your family is stressing you out, you might be more likely to reconnect with old friends. This is likely because you aren’t able to get social support from more easily available channels. If you can’t find support from those who are already around you, you might be likely to turn to other folks. Family stress can be very taxing and can become exacerbated as family members continue to agitate each other. Old friends might provide a welcome respite from that stress!
Should You Reach Out to Old Friends?
There is nothing wrong with reaching out to old friends, if you are feeling insecure or stressed! But, you shouldn’t ignore the reasons you are reaching out. If you’re reaching out because you’re feeling insecure or stressed, you might want to reflect on the source of the issue. In other words, you might start looking for a more stable job or have a talk with your supervisor about how you can ensure your performance is meeting expectations. Or try talking with your family members to work through some of your relational stress! It’s great to reconnect with old friends, but you might also want to directly reflect on issues you’re facing as well.
Finally, if someone reaches out to you, and you haven’t heard from them in a while, try to respond! You never know what others are going through. If you can help to make someone feel more secure or less stressed, why not? Reconnecting with old friends makes both parties feel happier and more connected. So, you might feel better if you make new friends. But, remember to keep the old as well!