Risking rejection

A few weeks ago, I came across photo of a woman whom I’d lost touch with. We’d always had amazing times together. Deep conversations that lasted for hours. Once we ate lunch in a lovely restaurant only to be still sitting there hours later and, when we saw it was dinnertime, we ordered dinner too!

I thought wouldn’t it be nice to reconnect with her? Then I thought of two other friends whom I’d lost touch with. No falling out. Just drifting apart. In one case, I’d missed her wedding (due to a migraine) and in the other, I’d missed her housewarming party (also due to a migraine). I never heard from either of them again, but they were such dear friends once.

I wondered if I could pluck up courage to contact these three amazing women but I decided that I couldn’t. Why risk rejection?

The following day, the first woman contacted me. Out of the blue. After an absence of several years. “Would you like to reconnect?” she asked. It seemed miraculous. Synchronicity as Julia Cameron would say. I answered that I would without a moment’s hesitation.

I shared this in a Facebook post, pondering whether I dared to contact those other two women to say, “Would you like to reconnect?”

I wrote on Facebook that there were three friends I had lost touch with over the years, good friends, not just acquaintances and that I was sad about that and wondered about reconnecting.

That post got a lot of comments, mostly saying, “Just do it! What have you got to lose?”

Whilst I appreciated the encouragement, it’s not always easy to put yourself out there and ask someone if they want to be friends again. You risk rejection when you do that, and rejection doesn’t feel so good.

“It’s such a brave thing to reach out, makes me feel very vulnerable, somehow presumptuous that anyone would want to hear from me,” said my wise friend Sarah in her comment.

So what happened?

I did reach out. I sent both women a message, asking how they were, briefly outlining what I was doing now and saying that I’d love to hear from them.

If this were a novel, I’d be writing that they were delighted to hear from me and that we’re planning a reunion once the pandemic is over.

This isn’t a novel. They didn’t reply.

But actually, that’s okay. I thought I’d feel a horrible if I was rejected by them. I don’t. I think, “Maybe they didn’t get those emails. Maybe they’re busy and will reply at some point. Maybe their lives have moved on and they no longer want to be in touch with me.” Whatever the reason, “rejection” doesn’t feel nearly as bad as I thought it would.

I haven’t got the end result that I was seeking – in other words, these two friends are not back in my life. But I still have a good result. I’ve learnt that rejection doesn’t feel so bad. Not nearly as bad as I feared it might. And if I can risk rejection, then all sorts of avenues might open up in life.

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