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5 Creative Ways to Remind Your Hometown Friends That You Love Them

It’s easy to get caught up in the rush of meeting new people at college and accidentally neglect your high school friendships. Since moving to campus last month, I’ve certainly found myself using up my social battery while learning new names and going to club mixers, rather than sitting down to call my girlfriends from back home. I recently took the time to organize a lunch date with an old-time friend who I hadn’t seen for many months, and our hour together helped me realize how much I’ve been missing the comfort of familiar friendships. I’m now more determined than ever to double down on reaching out to friends who I haven’t spoken to in a while. The past year and a half of the pandemic have taught me that texting and FaceTiming get stale quickly. So, here is a list of the inventive techniques I’m trying out in order to feel connected to my long-distance day ones:

Exchange Postcards

I know that mailing a postcard seems incredibly outdated in 2021, but there’s undeniably more charm in picking up an envelope versus receiving an iMessage. Seeing your friend’s unique handwriting is such a warming reminder that they’re more than just a name on your phone screen. In particular, when your hometown friends are scattered across the country for college, trading postcards is a cute way to find a silver lining in your geographic separation. I plan to send Los Angeles postcards to my friends in East Coast cities to give them a reminder of our home state, and I can’t wait to see what pretty, local designs they send back. Postcards are also a great choice when mailing a gift to your friends because they are relatively inexpensive and accessible to buy. Your college campus probably even sells its own postcards at its school store!

Schedule A Watch Party

Before the pandemic, I wasn’t at all familiar with virtual watch parties, but now they’re a staple in my friend group. Most streaming platforms, like Prime Video, Disney Plus and Hulu, have easy options to watch the same movie with your friends from different devices. For Netflix, you can use their Teleparty extension. These kinds of watch parties are a fun step up from simply talking about your latest TV and movie obsessions because you can react and theorize together in real-time. Guilty pleasure reality shows and horror movies are especially good watch party options for these reasons! If you’re not a movie person, you can apply this same, communal idea to group gaming or even watching your favorite Twitch streams. As we enter the colder seasons, watch parties can be made extra exciting by screening holiday-themed films and cultivating some cozy nostalgia.

Curate A Playlist

Thinking back on my favorite memories from the past year, the time that a friend sent me a personalized playlist really stands out as a highlight. It was a tiny act, but it brought me so much joy. I remember listening to that playlist on repeat and every time that I hear one of the songs it still reminds me of her kindness. I’d like to follow her lead and start making more playlists to spontaneously send to friends. I think that this is a thoughtful way to stay in touch because you can cater each playlist to your friends’ needs and personalities. Are they going through a stressful time at school? Make them a chill playlist of study jams and relaxing instrumental tracks. Alternatively, send them a mix of all of your favorite songs that you blasted in the car together during high school.

Send A Surprise Care Package

Mailing your long-distance friend a care package is another amazing way to show them that you still value your relationship. Care packages don’t have to be fancy and filled with expensive items; it really is the thought that counts! For example, I recently sent a friend a care package full of cute stickers and colorful papers from Etsy because I know she loves to craft, but her supplies are all at home. You could also fill a care package with essential dorm supplies from Target or small snacks like granola bars. Similar to postcard exchanges, care packages are great because they allow you and your friends to hold onto physical symbols of your friendship until you see each other in person again. They also offer lots of room for creativity, so if you’re artistic, have fun decorating the items in your package with ribbons and labels.

Arrange A Virtual Dinner Party

My high school friends and I always loved trying cafes around our city and gathering for potluck dinner parties on the weekends. This mealtime connection is one of the factors of our friendships that I’m really missing here at college, so I’ve begun working out ways to digitally recreate the same vibe. If you want to throw a cozy Zoom dinner party, you should first decide on one recipe for everyone to cook (I’ve found that pasta is an easy one to pull off). Then stock up on ingredients, block out an evening and turn on your mic and camera! The combination of seeing and hearing your friends, while also knowing that you are all smelling and tasting the same yummy food, truly makes you feel like you’re together in person. If you aren’t in your own apartment, see if you can organize your virtual dinner party in one of the shared cooking places in your dorms!

When you’re missing the comfort of your best friends from home, definitely try at least one of these methods out. If you’re busy, just write a quick postcard! Or if you have the time for a full friendship celebration, throw a watch-party-dinner-party combo! These ways of staying in touch are definitely helping me navigate how to sustain long-distance friendships without feeling overwhelmed and I’m planning to keep them up for the rest of the school year.

Kate is a San Francisco native and second-year English major at UCLA. When she's not writing articles for Her Campus at UCLA, she enjoys getting lost in a good book and experimenting with vegan recipes.
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