GauguinNext weekend, I will be travelling to Berlin for the first time in years. After procrastinating for several months, a few days ago I finally called an old friend whom I hadn’t talked to in about three years. We used to live the same town and shared the same workplace, but then she moved to another company and to Berlin. We kept in touch regularly over several years, but then we just stopped. No quarrel, no reason, but although I hadn’t forgotten about her and her family, dialling that number just got harder and harder.

When I called last week, nobody was in. I decided against leaving a message, thinking I’d try again later. So you can imagine my delight when I received a call from my friend’s husband a short time later. They’d seen my number on their display, recognised the area code and been curious who it had been. He was happy to talk to me, but soon handed the receiver to my friend. And we started chatting as if these three years had never been. I have called her again since (to ask about shopping in Berlin), and again we got sidetracked immediately and talked for 20 minutes. We have arranged to meet next weekend, and I am very optimistic that I have regained a friend.

There are several people like this in my life. I only see my English friend from university days about once every three years, and we exchange only a few letter in between. Yet when we meet it’s as if we had never been apart. Another friend I lost touch with for five years and more, wrote an email on an impulse, and we’ve visited each other twice now and phone quite regularly.

Why are these people so special to me? One, we communicate on the same level. We mostly care about the same things, and if we don’t, we enjoy exchanging our views. These people are interesting – never a boring moment when you talk to them. Second, they forgive laziness in reacting to calls or mails. They are not angry if I have been silent for a long while. True, neither am I, but it’s lovely to know people who are generous in these matters.

Do you have friends you lost touch with for a while but with whom you have recovered a strong friendship now?

– Rike Horstmann

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High school teacher. Soccer fan (Werder Bremen, yeah!). Knitter and book-binder. Devotee of mathematical puzzles. German.