On Wednesday's episode of The Zach Sang Show, Tomlinson was asked if he's still friends with Malik, who departed the group in 2015. (After Malik left 1D, he and Tomlinson got into a heated exchange over Twitter.)
"You'd have to ask him," he told host Zach Sang.
"I could be wrong, but I believe I said, when you asked me a similar question [last time]... I believe I said I don't think I'm mature enough to get over what's frustrated me in that relationship," he said.
Tomlinson added, "I don't know if I'm mature enough now, but I'm definitely closer to being over all that."
Kevin Mazur/WireImage One Direction in 2013
"There's been numerous times over the last couple of years where I've thought about him and hoped he's alright," said Tomlinson, adding that he's "tried to get in touch" with Malik.
"But it's hard," he said. "I definitely wish him well."
Sang then pointed out that Malik has been recently sharing One Direction covers, which Tomlinson has liked on social media.
"You've done your research," Tomlinson joked.
He went on to praise Malik as "a different caliber in terms of singers, I will say that." Tomlinson added, "I wasn't just liking it for the sake of liking it. It was a nice feeling 'cause in the past he's said what he's said about the band, and I understand some of what he was saying. For me, in those videos, it showed he was reflecting. It showed he was thinking about those times. Of course, at the same time, showing off his incredible voice."
"That's why it made me feel good 'cause it was like, 'Ah maybe you're thinking about good times in the band.' "
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Tomlinson suggested it's possible they could rekindle their friendship one day.
"I think in time," he said. "I think we just have to bump into each other 'cause neither of us have each other's number. I suppose maybe social media might be the way."
Still, he joked that he knows Malik "too well" to slide into his DMs.
Last month, Malik shared a video of himself performing an a cappella cover of One Direction's 2014 hit "Night Changes" — just over two months after he posted a video singing the group's "You and I," released the same year.
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In the black-and-white clip, Malik wore a black tank top, overalls, chain necklace and headband as he sat at a table in front of two windows and a stone wall. Filmed in selfie mode, he crooned the X Factor-formed boy band's Four single, which was Malik's last with One Direction before departing the group.
"Everything that you've ever dreamed of / Disappearing when you wake up / But there's nothing to be afraid of / Even when the night changes / It will never change me and you," Malik sang in the Instagram video.