Drifting apart from a friend is the absolute worse. It’s happened to all of us before, and often it happens without you even really realizing it. One day you’re best friends, attached at the hip and doing everything together. And the next, you feel uncomfortable reaching out and saying hi. You can drift apart from people in the blink of the eye. It doesn’t have to be because of a big fight or disagreement- sometimes life gets in the way, and you find yourself moving in different directions from people.

If you’ve found yourself in these shoes before, it doesn’t mean it’s the end of the road for that relationship. Sometimes time apart from someone can make your friendship stronger. You might not have realized you even needed that time alone. But there are ways to rebuild friendships once they’re seemingly broken.

The first thing you should ask yourself is: how much do I value this person in my life. If you feel as if your drifting was honestly due to life getting in the way, and not you or them intentionally drifting, that means you most likely want the friendship back. It might be a hard question to answer at first, but when it comes down to it, the answer should be fairly straight forward. Do you want them in your life or not?

If you realize that you do value them in your life, that means it’s time to reach out. It’s easy to feel reluctant to reach out because the other person could do the same and hasn’t. But sometimes, it’s more important to be the bigger person and make the first move, because odds are the other person is in the same shoes as you.

Reaching out might be scary, especially if you haven’t talked in a while. Start easy, with a simple catch up. But, if it feels necessary, it might be helpful to be completely honest with them. Tell them how much you have missed them as a friend and how you are sorry for drifting. Chances are they will reciprocate and say the same to you. That way, you address the elephant in the room and can move on with your relationship.

After you initially reach out, it’s equally essential to staying in touch. Despite how busy you claim you might be, you can make time to reach out to your friends and tell them you love them. You can make time for a catch-up and to make sure they’re doing well. Staying in touch is so vital in building up that friendship to be strong once again.

Losing a friend can be just as painful as a breakup, but it’s important to remember that friendships can be rebuilt. Just because you haven’t spoken to a friend in a while, doesn’t mean it’s the end of the road for your friendship. You just have taken different paths for some time, but will meet again in the middle.