I’ve had to work on a couple of skills since moving out for college. I’m still working on better managing my schedule, budgeting my life, and making time for breakfast. A skill I didn’t expect to brush up on though, was the art of keeping in touch with friends. It’s obvious in retrospect; but when I first moved, I didn’t anticipate just how much keeping in touch I’d be doing. And I call it a skill on par with budgeting, because it can take that kind of attention and effort. I still don’t have it down pat, but I’ve come to a place that I’m happy with. So here are some tips for anyone else also grappling with keeping in touch with friends.
1. Keep it Simple
At first, I felt the need to overcompensate for the distance between my friends and me. As if to close the gap between New York and Michigan, we had to have three hour-long conversations every week and send care packages every month – but that’s just not practical as a busy college student on a budget. Over time, all it would take was a short call on Skype and things became less scheduled. When we dropped the grand gestures, keeping in touch felt more regular and effortless. So keep it simple and have fun with it, no need to throw heaps of effort and stress. It should feel like just hanging out, even if it’s through a webcam.
2. Make Future Plans/Create Some Common Ground
It helps a ton to just know there are plans for the near future. This can mean something as big as traveling to see each other or just watching a show together weekly. A friend and I are watching a Korean drama together. It keeps us talk regularly, but also gives us common ground to talk about – which can be so rare with our separate lives.
3. Know When to Let Go
As hard as it is to accept, some friendships are just not meant to last. People can just drift, life goes on, and that’s okay. Some friendships just don’t work long distance or as people change. But that doesn’t mean they were any less valuable or special, they were just tied to a specific point in our lives. So another skill to pick up here is the one of letting go. Don’t tire yourself over anything that just isn’t going to work, and let it go.
So those are my few tips on keeping in touch with friends. I know they sound sort of vague like fortune cookie wisdom, but hopefully you can fine-tune them for your friendships. Keep in mind, things will feel different for a bit. While technology allows for a world of possibilities and is ever evolving, it's just not the same has seeing someone in person. From a distance, you don't get to be part of each other's every day lives like before, so of course some aspects of the friendship will change. It'll be okay though. New dimensions of the friendships will come through. Friends are friends, even when they're hundreds or even thousands of miles apart.
[Feature Image by Unsplash]