Change. Some people love it and some people hate it. But it’s something we can’t always control. But a change I thought I could control was when I moved to college and my friends moved to their new homes. I thought we would still be best friends and nothing would change. I figured our little squad being in three different time zones wouldn’t change anything. Boy, was I wrong. Our daily group chat conversations have changed to those of us in America talking while the one in Germany is eating dinner and the one in Israel is sleeping. I began to fear that I would lose my best friends as we all moved into the new chapters of our lives. These were the girls who had been there for me every day for four of the hardest and weirdest years of my life. I couldn’t imagine my future without them. I think we all began to feel the distance, and I remember speaking with one of them the night before she left for Israel and promising we’d always be best friends. It’s a promise I intend to keep.
I’m not telling you this to scare you and make you think that keeping up your friendships from high school is impossible once you no longer see each other every day. It’s entirely possible if you’re willing to put in the effort. Here are a few tips for maintaining these relationships:
1. Don’t freak out if you go a few days without talking.
It’s natural when you’re all adjusting to new places and new people to get caught up and forget to respond to a text for a few days. Not seeing each other every day is a big change but they’ll adjust and so will you.
2. Make time for FaceTime dates.
It’s something my friends and I try to do once a week, even if it’s just for 15 minutes. It lets everyone know you’re thinking about them and you care enough to figure out time in your busy schedules to see each other, and it gives you a chance to catch up so you still feel like you’re a part of their lives.
3. Understand that things are going to change.
You’re all meeting new people, living in new places, and experiencing new things. People handle the adjustment differently and can become somewhat different from who they were in high school. You might change, but your friendship will still be there.
4. You may no longer know everything or everyone in their lives.
Unless you’re going to the same college and have the same classes you’ll begin to lose track of the people they mention in conversations or the people in their snapchats. Don’t freak out. New friends don’t mean you’re being replaced.
5. Don’t feel alone.
Everyone is going through changes. Your friends may look like they’re having an amazing time, but they’re struggling with adjusting to their new lives. They’re missing you just as much as you’re missing them.
6. Don’t feel like you’re annoying them
Just saying “hey I miss you” lets them know you’re thinking about them. Give them time to answer, they have a lot going on just like you.
7. Everything will be okay.
If you both put in the effort, your friendship will stay solid. My friends are all over the world but we all put in the effort to talk once a week and to make plans for next summer when we’re all home again.
8. You will make new friends.
Don’t just focus on maintaining those friends from high school. Allow yourself to be open to new friends. As cliché as it sounds the people on your floor truly do become like your new little family. When you’re having a bad day and can’t get ahold of your friends, or if you get into a fight, these new friends are going to be the people you talk to and the people who can distract you. I can confidently say the people I’ve become friends with are people my friends from high school will approve of, and they’re an amazing addition to my squad family.
9.Make plans for them to visit.
If they’re in a position to come see you, or vice versa, make it happen! While some of my friends are out of the country, three of them are still in New England and we’ve all made plans to see each other. It means you can look forward to seeing them that much sooner. If you can all get together that’s even better, but just having that date set makes it a little easier to deal with them not being with you all the time.
Friendships from high school are special. They’re from a time in your life where you learned a lot about yourself, and you all went through a lot together- sports, first kisses, boyfriends, prom, and the whole college process. You can keep those people in your life forever. It’s going to be harder than it was before, but I promise they’re worth it.