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RELATIONSHIP: How To Avoid Awkwardness When You Run Into An Old Friend, Classmate Or Colleague

Have you ever been in that awkward situation when you are at a junction, waiting for a bus, and you run into an old friend from school or a colleague from past work whom you haven’t seen for about 4 years? Aha, I bet you have!

When You Run Into An Old Friend

It's not abnormal that some of us struggle to start a conversation with an old friend we haven’t seen for a while. They may have been really close but as time went by, the emotional connection faded, and the common ground we had with them narrowed.

We now have different lifestyles. We’re not used to seeing each other anymore. Our preferences and perceptions have changed. And this might create an awkward feeling when we meet, either intentionally or accidentally.

These tips might help when you face such awkward life situations . . .

1. Ask "how have you been?"

Of course, you should smile when you meet an old friend. And if you're like me, you can even scream. "How are you?" is a good conversation starter. Be conversational and polite. Ask follow up questions like "really? Where did you travel to?" "And your family?" "Are you married now?" You both can flow well from here.

Read: Receive Compliments Politely

2. Ask "what do you do now?"

This question can be tricky because you may dig up a bad memory of an abandoned dream. Your friend might not be too comfortable if they are not where they want to be, but it can also be a chance to find out some good news and build some connection. So I think it’s definitely worth trying. Ask them.

Just have fun. Laugh. Share. Love. Live the moment.

Read: When You Meet Someone New

3. Recall good old memories

If you guys are not in a hurry, spend more time on this one. Talk about lecture, lecturers and hostel life. You can even start from matriculation date up to graduation date. Lol. If the other party is an old colleague, you can talk about the projects you guys did together or reasons why you never liked your boss (if you didn't). Lol.

Talking about the good old days brings that sense of bonding back. You can use convo starters like “Do you remember when . . . ?" You get. Right?

Read: When Your Ex Calls You

4. Mention Mutual Friends

I am not a big fan of talking about other people’s lives. However, meeting an old friend can be a great opportunity to find out about what your other friends have been up to. Ask about those you have lost contact with and make sure you are asking about people you actually do care about. Avoid gossip.

Read: Letting Go Of A Relationship

5. Take A Picture At least

Taking a picture of the moment has always been my best tip ever. Its importance cannot be over-emphasized. Remember when I ran into Dinma (my classmate) at the cinema the other day? Nobody told me before I brought out a camera.

When I also ran into Kennedy, another classmate I'd not seen in five years. I screamed in excitement. We hugged, laughed and talked. And trust me, I took a selfie with him right at the bus-stop. I didn't care who was looking.

Kennedy is still as tall as ever. We both looked a little tired and worn-out. Lagos played its part there.

When we take a picture, we feel connected already. The only time I forget to take pictures is when I am deeply engrossed in the conversation and sipping every tiny bit of the moment.

Read: Dating Is Not Relationship

6. Keep In Touch

Exchange new phone numbers, address or betterstill, business cards. You never know where your next miracle will come from. If you see the need to re-establish the friendship, make effort to keep in touch. You can call them up later on that very day to say, "it was nice seeing you again!"

Kennedy and I did exchange numbers. But we've not contacted each other since then. Lol. Some cases are like that.

However, I know of cases where you run into an old friend, and you start gisting like you've been together ever since. I love it when I can connect with my friends like we'd never been apart for a day - no form of awkwardness there.

"Talking to an old friend make you realize how much your life has changed." 

Running into an old friend can bring old friendship to light again if both parties were very excited about their meeting. If this doesn’t happen, at least you still get to capture the moment and enjoy the conversation while it lasts. ;)

Do you find this article helpful? The last time you ran into an old friend, how did it go? 

Written by Nwamaka Ajaegbu 
Follow me on Twitter: @Amakamedia
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Email: amakamedia@yahoo.com
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