The holidays are a wonderful time to get together with friends and family to experience the joy of laughter, reminiscing, and renewing connections. However, it’s also a time when many people face the painful reality of not being with someone they love because of a broken relationship.
During the holidays, I often meet with clients who are grieving due to being estranged from a parent, sibling, or other close relative or friend.
Recently I had a woman ask me if it was too late to try and mend a relationship with a brother she had a falling out with three years ago. I have summarized my response to her below.
As long as the person you had a falling out with is still alive and is mentally competent it is never too late to make an attempt to restore the relationship you once had with them.
You can not control the type of response you will receive, or whether or not you will even get a response, but you can control what you attempt to communicate to the person. If you offended them, admit it, and apologize. If you desire to move toward having contact with them again, let it be known. If they offended you and you are ready to forgive and move forward, go on the record as having made that decision.
Whether you communicate in person, by telephone, or through a letter, I recommend using a simple – I didn’t say easy - communication model to help you deliver the important elements of your message.
Here is one example of what your message may convey:
Not every relationship is salvageable for many different reasons, however, if you are living with regret over having lost an important relationship in your life don’t give up hope.
If there is someone you love who is missing from your life and you have yet to make an effort to reconcile, don’t put it off. This holiday season may be the time to begin taking steps that could lead to a restored relationship.
Live, work, and relate well!