How to email someone you haven’t spoken to in forever without making it awkward

Written by Amy Beecham

Neglected a valuable networking contact and now need to reach out after months of radio silence? This clever Instagram post has all the guidance you need to turn your cringe into confidence. 

Networking is one of the most important – but often most awkward – parts of a job. Making the kind of connections we need at work isn’t easy, so once we find that mentor, former colleague, ex-boss or other contact that we know will come in useful for us in the future, we tend to keep them close.

However, with inboxes overflowing with ‘urgent’ messages and life feeling busier than ever, it can be easy to go weeks, months and sometimes years without thinking to reach out.

That is until we realise we need something from them. And then begins the dreaded crawling back with a ‘Hey, remember me?’ message.

We’ve all been there, but according to this clever Instagram post, it doesn’t have to be that cringe after all. 

In the post, titled “How to email someone who you haven’t spoken to in forever,” Girlboss broke down four steps to rekindling a burned out working relationship.

As it turns out, all you need is a bit of confidence, and a little honesty and authenticity to start to rebuild the bridges.

According to Girlboss’ advice, the first thing to do is address the elephant in the room head on. “Yes, it’s been a while, so don’t be afraid to admit that,” it suggests.

You can use the subject line of the email to take the awkwardness out of the way, referencing the “reconnection” and breaking the ice to allow you to get into what you really need to ask for.

Secondly, it’s important to give them an easy out. Asking for favours at work is always tricky, but particularly if they come from out of the blue. “Let them know that you understand if it’s not a good time and offer to help where possible,” the post advises.

As a third point, it’s important to remember that it’s been a while for them too. Conversation is a two-way street, as they say, and while you may have slipped at keeping in contact, so have they.

“If the tables were turned, you would be happy to hear from them too, wouldn’t you?” the post asks. “Remembering that it takes two to keep in touch will lessen the mental hurdle of that first initial outreach.”

Finally, make more of an effort to stay in contact going forward. Now that you’ve done the hard work, don’t let another year go by without reaching out.

Even if they don’t respond in this instance or can’t help you with your request at this time, letting the conversation cool off completely again will just have you back where you started.

And the nuggets of wisdom didn’t just stop with the post. In the comments, other people shared their top tips for reaching out to old contacts.

“Another tip: reconnect with them now. Don’t wait until you need them. Check in and see how it’s going. You never know what might come of it,” one wrote.

“This is so important, especially when it’s about a job referral,” added another.

Solid advice indeed. 

Images: Getty

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