Lost Touch With a Friend During the Pandemic? Now's the Time to Reconnect, According to Science

It is, and I cannot emphasize this enough, rough out here. Between the global COVID-19 pandemic, numerous attacks on Americans’ basic civil rights, and an economic recession looming on the horizon, many of us are too preoccupied with staying afloat to consistently show up for our friends and loved ones.

So, if you’ve fallen out of touch with a former bestie, you’re not alone, but right now might be the perfect moment to reconnect.

A recent report from the American Psychological Association (APA) found a link between reaching out to a long-lost friend and an increase in “positive feelings” for all parties involved.

Researchers conducted a series of experiments with more than 5,900 participants to gauge how well people understood the impact of a genuine attempt to reconnect.

By and large, participants who initiated these rekindling convos underestimated just how much a friendly call or text “to catch up” was appreciated by the recipient.

It’s no wonder these small acts of compassion are so well-received, especially now. COVID-19-related isolation and other stressors have wreaked havoc on our collective mental health. In fact, a World Health Organization (WHO) report from March observed a staggering 25 percent increase in the prevalence of anxiety and depression worldwide in the first year of the pandemic alone. And, as we know, parenting can often be lonely in even the most ideal circumstances.

“I think people often hesitate to reach out for various reasons, which can include not fully understanding the benefits of reaching out,” Peggy Liu, PhD, the report’s lead author, told Healthline. “I hope our research removes one of those barriers — people likely will appreciate you reaching out more than you expect.”Take it from Dr. Liu and don’t overthink it — if you’ve been looking for a sign to call up to rekindle your friendship with an old pal, this is it.

If you’re erring on the side of COVID cautiousness amid news of the hyper-contagious BA.5 variant, no worries. You don’t have to spring for an elaborate in-person catch-up. Even a quick and kind email can do the trick.

Before you go, check out some of our favorite mental health apps for a little extra TLC to your brain:

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