Absolve yourself over the guilt you feel at having lost contact, and send an old friend a quick message today!
Over the holiday I started thinking about all the friends I had lost in this way. Friends where there hadn't been a falling-out, we had just lost touch. Life got in the way, and the next thing you know, it's been years since you emailed or called someone.
I resolved to make the effort this year to start reconnecting with these lost friends. And so far, the effort has really been worth it! A few weeks ago I had dinner with a friend I hadn't seen in almost four years. In the time since we last spoke, she has gone through a series of huge life changes - for the better, mostly, but big changes nevertheless. It was fun to talk again, and she commented that seeing me again made her feel more grounded in her own life. I felt the same way.
This morning I read a heartbreaking article in The Guardian titled "Top five regrets of the dying," written by a hospice nurse who has years of experience in working with people at the end of their lives. I was particularly struck by regret #4, "I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends."
Often, we agonize over what to say. We start writing out apology after apology for not having kept in touch. The weight of the time that has passed seems overwhelming. Guilt is at the core, but remember - the other person feels that same guilt. Why not absolve both of you of feeling lousy about it, and start fresh!
Keep your first message simple, and offer concrete plans. Resist the temptation to just say "we should get together" and leave it at that. Instead, offer a greeting and then some scheduling specifics.
"I haven't seen you in ages - we should go out to dinner some time and catch up! I'm usually free on Tuesday and Thursday nights, and Sunday afternoons. Let me know if you would like to get together!"
This leaves the door open if your friend isn't really that "into it." But if they do want to reconnect, it gets the ball rolling in a productive way!