How to Maintain Friendships After College
Maintaining Friendships After College
So you've finally graduated. Yay! But the reality is setting in that you'll no longer be living just down the hall from your best college friends. You might get a job in New York City, while your future maid of honor scores one in Los Angeles and your other BFF moves back to Chicago.
It's scary to think that your friendships might not survive the distance, but don't fret -- keeping those relationships afloat is easier than you might think. Deborah Reber, author of The Real Deal: Friends has a smart, sincere strategy to help you keep your bud bonds thriving.
Stay-in-touch Tactic No. 1: Don't just sit there, put forth some effort.
Many people make the mistake of assuming that solid relationships can endure anything. But the truth is that time and distance can do major damage to even the strongest of friendships. "Maintaining a friendship takes work," says Reber, "and if you really like someone, you want to keep them as a part of your life." So pick up the phone and call. There's no need to get in touch all the time (you each need space, after all, to settle into your new grooves), but reach out regularly -- every few weeks or so. It sounds so simple, but little things like this will show your friends that you really care.
Stay-in-touch Tactic No. 2: Make real-life plans in the physical world.
Don't schedule a Skype date and assume that it suffices. Make plans to meet up somewhere other than cyberspace. Maybe even spend the money to visit your long-distance friends in those faraway cities. "I am going to New York this weekend to stay with one of my friends," says Reber, who, at 40, still considers her friends from her early 20s to be among her best. "My original girlfriends still mean everything to me."
Stay-in-touch Tactic No. 3: Remember birthdays and other special occasions.
It is important to let your friends know that, despite the distance, they are still always on your mind, especially on a big day. So be sure to give your friend a call -- not just a post on her wall -- when she has gotten yet another year older. Pay attention to other important events too. He got promoted from that entry-level position to management? Send a congratulatory note! Your friends are sure to appreciate the effort.
Stay-in-touch Tactic No. 4: Send an actual letter.
Yes, we do mean snail mail -- and no, it's not just for old people, like your grandmother who doesn't know how to use a computer. But Mee-Maw might just be on to something. A handwritten letter shows that you care enough to take the time to give it some thought rather than simply type out a quick email or Facebook message and click "Send." So put pen to paper and write your buddy a note. It does not have to be long, but update him on what you're doing -- and be sure to ask some questions about his life! Who knows? Maybe he'll even take the time to send you a response ... the old-fashioned way.
Stay-in-touch Tactic No. 5: Plan a reunion and let the good times roll.
After a while, your friends will probably stop getting together for every homecoming, so plan something as a group. "All of my friends and I just met up at another friend's wedding," says Caitlin McCarthy, a graduate of Syracuse University. "It was so nice. It's hard to find time to stay in touch anymore, but when we are at events like these, it is like all that time and distance never actually happened." When the friendships are tight, it's easy and comfortable to sort of pick up where you left off.
Stay-in-touch Tactic No. 6: Maintain a memory by perpetuating a tradition.
Not to be too cliche, but the girls from The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants had the right idea. This plan does not necessitate a magical pair of jeans that fit every one of your friends' body types. It does, however, require you to find something special that you all shared and use it to remind your friends that you cherish the memories you have together. "It could even be a journal," says Reber. "You can send that back and forth as a way to keep something special between you, regardless of how far apart you are."
Stay-in-touch Tactic No. 7: Be an understanding bud, not a hater.
In case some of your friends happened to miss this article, don't get miffed upon finding that they're not as good at keeping in touch as you are. "One of the biggest tips I have is to be flexible and forgiving," says Reber. "Friends change, even as adults." So be persistent, but don't put high expectations on your friends. They're way more likely to want to see you if you're not brooding but fun to be around, right? Right!
Available at Amazon.com:
- How to Maintain Friendships After College
- How to Fight
- Toss out Toxic Relationships
- Make the Honeymoon Period Last
- Friending Your Frenemy
- Addition by Subtraction: Don't Let Bad Friends Drag You Down
- Make Your Relationships Make You Smile
- Keep Your Relationship Exciting
- The Grudge Report
- How to Stop Being Late
- Dealing With the Dreaded Friendship Triangle
- Decoding the College Hookup Scene
- Dating Apps: The Lowdown
- The Secret to Sex After 40
- How to Be Popular
- Six Signs She's Just Not That Into You
- Win Women Over with Your Smartphone
- Dating a Jock
- 6 Steps to Great Communication
- The Real Scoop on Sisters
- How Jealous Friends Sabotage Your Health
- Friend Friction
- Play Your Summer Romance Into Overtime
- Should You Let a Friendship Go?
- 5 Tips to Getting Along With Your Roommate
- Why Office Dating May Be More Dangerous in This Economy
- Perfect Summer Dates
- Bust a Rut, Lose Your Gut
- Can You Keep a Secret?
- Shut Down the Boy Drama!
- How Do You Rank as a Roommate?
- What to Say to Women
- Pair up for a Group Date
- Good Friends, Good Health
- The Summer Fun Starts Here
- 5 Rules of Facebook Etiquette
- Make the New Girl Your New Friend
- Stand up for Yourself Without Creating Conflict
- 5 Ways to Tell She Digs You
- Girlfriends Rule
- Triple Threat of Toxic Friends
- Sharing a Room With a Sibling
- Beginner's Guide to Dating Boys
- Get Along With Your Parents
- Make Nice With Mom
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