How to Reach Out to Someone

Have you stopped communicating with someone you care about? Perhaps this is a dear friend, a family member, or a loved one. Did you ghost them or let a rift grow until it became too big to manage? And now you want to reconnect but don’t know how to reach out?

Perhaps you didn’t want to explain. You didn’t bother to work it out for one reason or another. But now, you feel like it’s time.

Reaching Out

Reaching out to an estranged loved one can be a delicate and sensitive process. I help my clients do this at the end of life when they feel like reconnection is essential.

Here are some things we do to ensure this is a meaningful activity.

Reflect on Intentions

Before reaching out, we reflect on my client’s motivations and intentions. We ensure that the goal is to rebuild a connection and not to place blame.

Choose the Right Time

Timing is crucial. We try to choose a time when both parties are likely to be open to communication. We avoid reaching out during stressful or busy periods. Sometimes, at the end of life, we have no choice but to act sooner rather than later.

Start with a Letter

A handwritten or emailed letter allows my client to carefully express their thoughts and emotions. We write about their feelings, expressing their desire for reconciliation, and avoid blaming language.

Be Honest and Vulnerable

Open communication is essential. I encourage my clients to be honest about their feelings, acknowledge any mistakes they might have made, and express their willingness to work towards reconciliation.

Apologize if Necessary

If your actions contributed to the estrangement, consider offering a sincere apology. Taking responsibility for your part can help rebuild trust.

Respect Boundaries

Be mindful of the other person’s boundaries. If they are not ready to engage in a conversation, respect their space and be patient.

Seek Mediation

If direct communication is challenging, consider involving a neutral third party, such as a death doula, therapist, or mediator, to facilitate the conversation.

Focus on Listening

My clients and I give the other person an opportunity to express their feelings and perspective. We set up a time to listen actively without interrupting or getting defensive.

Be Prepared for Different Outcomes

Understand that the response may vary. Your estranged loved one may be receptive, hesitant, or unresponsive. Be prepared for different outcomes and respect their decision.

Remember that every relationship is unique, and there’s no one-size-fits-all approach. It’s essential to approach the situation with empathy, understanding, and a genuine desire for reconciliation. If needed, seeking professional guidance from a therapist can also be beneficial.

To Respond Or Not Respond

Many of us have pulled away from someone without explanation or have had someone do this to us. Over the years, I have been both the ghost-er and ghost-ee.

We all have our reasons.

When someone stops including me in their life, I do not typically reach out with questions. Instead, I respect their decision, wish them well, and move on. Letting go is something I work at every single day.

I hope the people I’ve pulled away from have done the same.

Sometimes I’ll hear from a ghost-er after a month, a year, or a decade. Oftentimes they’ll send an emoji text or a “You up?” meme.

No explanation. No reasoning. Just a casual attempt to re-enter my life.

Do I accept and pick up where we left off?

Do I ignore it?

Or do I send my own GIF akin to “WTF”?

Either way, it’s now on me. Which doesn’t seem fair. I’m left wondering, “What’s wrong with people?” Why don’t they know how to reconnect properly?

crop black couple holding hands after reconciliation at home

Reconnecting at End-of-Life – Or Not

I’ve talked with numerous clients who miss an estranged loved one but have no earthly clue how to reach out. They don’t send memes or gifs. Or anything else for that matter.

They often do nothing and then enter the active dying phase with a ton of regret and everlasting silence.

It’s heartbreaking to watch.

How to Reach Out

Mending a rift doesn’t have to be difficult. If you want to reach out to an estranged loved one, but aren’t sure how, fill out this reconciliation form. Let it guide your efforts when writing a longer letter.

Or, if you need assistance from an experienced mediator, send the form to me and I’ll write the letter for you.

You don’t have to be dying to do this, but if you are dealing with a terminal illness, then time is of the essence. Either way, you can always book a session with me and we’ll get after it.

If you’re not at the end of life and can do this on your own, then write the letter yourself and either email it to your person or snail mail it the old-fashioned way. It’ll be one less thing that haunts you in the end.

(Don’t text. Trust me.)

Whether you write it yourself or hire me to do it, that part doesn’t matter. What matters is you learn how to reach out and heal this rift before it’s too late.

Do you know what else doesn’t matter? Their response. They can respond well, poorly, or not at all. After all, it’s not about them. Their response is beside the point.

It’s about you. That’s why you’re doing this.   

Happy mending.

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