What To Do When a Long-Lost Family Member Contacts You

When long-lost family members contact you, it can be both exciting and sad. The excitement comes from the fact that you may finally get to meet your long-lost family member, and the sadness comes from losing touch in the first place.

So, you have been contacted by a long-lost family member. It’s hard not to get excited about the prospect of reconnecting with a long-lost family member, but does that mean it should be pursued? Sure, it might feel great to build a relationship with distant family, but don’t let that cloud your better judgment.

Verify the identification

If someone you once knew has been absent for years, they might show up in your life out of the blue, especially since social media has made it easier than ever to track down long-lost family members. It’s surprising to encounter folks you haven’t heard from for years, and it’s even more surprising if it is someone you never knew existed. However, it is important to verify the identification of the long-lost family member who contacts you, to be sure they really are who they say they are.

Be glad for the surprise

They contact you out of the blue, and you have no idea why they suddenly found you. They could have been browsing your Facebook account or found you from a blog you’ve written, LinkedIn, or some other social media source. Either way, your family is reaching out. And let us face it, this contact is a surprise. It could be that you’d rather it not happen at all, but try to be glad about it, and enjoy the idea of reconnecting as a family again.

Ask how they’ve been

Whether they’re estranged from family or living overseas, it’s often a relief to at least be able to call or text them and talk to them. If it’s a family member you’ve been estranged from, you may not even remember why you’ve lost contact. On the other hand, if you’ve lost touch with a close friend, you may not feel as guilty about reaching out. You may want to ask what they have been doing since they were last in touch with you and your parents.

Remember To Know the Reason Why You Lost the Contact

When long-lost family members reach out to you, your first reaction may be joy at a chance to catch up with a loved one, or panic at having been contacted if it was not such a good relationship. But with a little preparation, you can explain why you’re perhaps unable to talk to this person, or you can arrange a time when you will be more comfortable with them contacting you again.

Reconnect Slowly

Unfortunately, sometimes we miss out on connecting with family members because we just don’t have the time or opportunity. Then 10 years later, somebody contacts you out of the blue. What do you do? How do you reconnect? Reconnecting after an extended period of time can be awkward and difficult, but it does not have to be. By taking a little time, you can find out more about each other, discover shared passions and interests, and slowly rebuild the relationship.

Stay Calm

It’s OK to be a little nervous when long-lost family members call out of the blue. After all, you never know what this person may know about the family. But it’s best to remain calm and collected since I know from experience that even the most benign or innocent-sounding inquiries can lead to some surprising discoveries.

Long-lost family members discovering each other again is a dream many have. It’s even more exciting when the two parties reconnect without drama. But sometimes people are not so polite. And sometimes, the reunion is not all it’s cracked up to be. If your family is like most, you strive to be close with your family members, wanting their relationships to be like your own. But if a family member has been out of touch and they have recently resurfaced, it can be difficult to reconcile the changes in your relationship with this person. Each situation is unique and needs to be taken one step at a time.

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