You either loved your hometown or counted the days until your eighteenth birthday when you could finally pack a suitcase and say, "Adios, losers!" as you set your sights on more exciting locations - like the next town over. Whatever the case, you still have a handful of hometown friends you keep up with or see when visiting the 'rents. Hometown friends are nostalgic and may understand you better than anyone, given that you share a similar upbringing. Reconnecting with an old hometown friend as an adult can be incredibly rewarding. However, it's also totally fine if you didn't have a storybook childhood and never want to see those people again!
What are hometown friends?
The name sums up this friendship category. A hometown friend is someone you either grew up with, went to school with, lived in the same neighborhood as, attended church with, or frequented family/friend functions during childhood. They are likely in your age range and grew up with a similar upbringing regarding finances, politics, and religion. As a child, they were a huge part of your life. Now, as an adult? Possibly not so much, especially if one of you has moved away or distanced yourself from those hometown roots.
Should you reach out to a hometown friend?!
If you've since left your hometown and find yourself missing all of your BFFs from back in the day, this could be a sign that you should reach out! It's amazing how quickly old friendships can pick up where they left off. It's likely hometown friends, even if they also relocated, still have family in the area and could be a friend you can realistically catch up with a few times a year when you go back home for the holidays or visit for a weekend trip.
However, just because you can reach out doesn't mean you should! Hometown friends are only for some. If you moved a lot during childhood, come from a divorced home, had a traumatic experience growing up, or didn't "fit in," - this friend group could be toxic for your mental/emotional health to risk reconnecting with. It makes us think of Ryan Reynolds in "Just Friends" when he returns home as the hot music producer only to find himself back with a retainer on his teeth, out-of-style outfits, and competing with the "cool" musician kid from high school all over again. Tough look for someone who now owns a winning English soccer league.
Only reach out to a hometown friend if:
You are in the right mental headspace to possibly reminisce old stories & talk about people from your past
Able to accept them for who they are NOW (and not who they were 10, 15, 30 years ago)
You genuinely want to try to reconnect
Being around them and talking again is going to add some value to your current life
You want to avoid getting stuck in the past or being unable to accept/understand an old friend if they are entirely different or not the version of themselves you remember.
What are the benefits of making hometown friends as an adult?
There are two types of hometown friends you can make as an adult:
A hometown friend in your new adult life - This means you're setting down roots in your new city and want to build a long-term community. These friends could potentially be lifelong friends and someone you see on a reoccurring basis, such as at the grocery store, gym, church, bar, etc.
An old hometown friend you are reconnecting with - Being a friend you grew up with in your childhood town. Unless you still live in your hometown, this is someone you will have to reach out to and attempt to build a friendship back up with
In either case, these hometown friends can be beneficial to feeling stable in a community. This type of friend can make you feel valued and accepted as an adult. They might represent your town, given that their personality, beliefs, and vibes may be specific to that location. If you've moved away from home, reconnecting with an old friend might help your nostalgia and fill the gap of missing the "good 'ole days." Or they might remind you why you promised never to step foot into that town again!
How to make & reconnect with hometown friends:
If you still have a Facebook (and you're over the age of 25, let's be honest), then logging on to Zuckerberg's app might be the easiest way to slide into an old friend's inbox and say, "How's it going?" without adding too much pressure to the situation. If the conversation goes south or you reconsider the reconnection, you can easily block & delete them from your life forever. Likewise, commenting on an Instagram story, liking a TikTok video of their baby, or quickly texting their old number saved in your phone with a quick "Hey! Is this still X from Elkins High School?" is an easy way to rebuild your friendship slowly.
Other ways to reconnect include attending alumni events or reunions, asking a family friend how they are doing, or seeing if you can run into them at a local bar or city holiday event. However, you go about this reconnection, make sure you're genuine! Don't act like the person you used to be if you've changed significantly. & at the same time, don't purposefully act so differently that they feel confused as to why you're even talking to them. Be yourself and see where/if the friendship naturally grows.
If you plan to make a hometown friend, it's important to ensure you're in the right headspace. We can't reiterate that enough. They can bring up old memories, emotions, and perspectives you didn't even realize you were still holding onto. A situation like this can be super amazing or a nightmare. So tread with caution but also be open-minded. If you were such good friends growing up, there's probably a reason. Even if you had a falling out or went separate ways, it's not far fetched to think you can't have a close friendship as an adult.