Tips for Staying in Touch with Hometown Friends in College
Going to college doesn’t mean you have to abandon your high school friends as you meet new ones. You’ll connect with a plethora of different people every year from all around the world that could become lifelong friends. But what about those who were there for you in earlier stages of your life? Don’t forget about the ones who helped you through break-ups, who studied with you, and who lent an ear or shoulder to cry on when you needed it.
Here are some tips on how to keep those friendships strong and evolving:
The first step to maintaining friendships of any kind is to take the initiative to reach out, especially if you haven’t heard from someone in a while. If nobody takes charge, a friendship can die off. Make it a habit to connect with old friends at least every couple of weeks. You never know who’s day you’ll make, or who is silently needing someone to check in on them.
There are many ways you could go about doing this. You could simply send a text or give a ring, write an email, or if you’re feeling up for it, snail-mail! Exchanging handwritten letters can be a fun way to not only keep your friends far away up-to-date but also give the mind a break from school, too.
Start a Group on Social Media
It’s pretty safe to say that most people are on social media these days. If you have a group of close friends, starting some sort of group to include everyone on social media or a text thread can be a good way to share day-to-day casual happenings, send and receive pictures, and hear about what your friends get up to.
Get Caught Up
Before delving into your new exciting life, don’t forget to ask how your friends are doing, find out where they are in life, and how they are enjoying their new experiences. You want to be a friend that others look forward to sharing things with, and talking too much about yourself all the time may be off-putting.
After listening to your friends share their life updates, feel free to share yours, and maybe even relate to something that they’ve shared with you. This is a great way to stay connected and bond over a shared experience.
Be Accepting & Understanding
Keep an open mind, knowing that change is inevitable as people get older and discover themselves. Change can be good or bad, but if you want to keep a friendship alive, then you’ll have to accept your friends for who they are and who they become.
Your high school best friend may no longer be an avid shopper, and another studious friend may be curious and dipping toes into the party scene. Unless someone has changed too much to the point where it’s become toxic and you can no longer sustain a friendship, then always make an effort to ask questions and grow with your friends.
Don’t Forget the Non-College Friends
Not everyone graduating from high school is going to college right away. Some may never go, some may go to community college first while gaining some work experience and saving money, and some may work full-time and consider college later on in life. Regardless of the situation, part of being a good friend is being sensitive about these friends. Check-in on them and avoid overwhelming your non-college friends with too many details about your college life if you want your friendship to survive.
Visit Each Other
Once everyone has settled into their new lives, you can start discussing amongst each other about future visits. Take turns visiting and exploring each other’s campuses. This is not only a wonderful way to play catch-up in real life but also have a fun weekend away. For friends visiting, it’s a good idea to come up with specific plans for the weekend so that they feel welcome. You can give them a campus tour, introduce them to your new friends, and show them what’s around in your new city, for example.
Plan a Trip Together
Traveling with friends is an exciting way to catch up while experiencing new cultures, seeing new sights, and growing together. Traveling far during the school year can be tough as schedules may not align and classes are rigorous. However, a week-long holiday break like Spring Break is the perfect time to go on a trip together with your high school friends and reunite. It’s never too early to start planning. Having a future trip in mind gives you and your friends something to look forward to after finishing a semester!
The Bottom Line
Friendships, like all other relationships, require consistent effort. You can’t expect a fire to keep up if you don’t tend to it. The good news is, there are small things you can do once in a while to keep in touch with your hometown friends and maintain healthy friendships. When in doubt, you can never go wrong taking the initiative to reach out, asking engaging questions, offering to visit, and sharing updates with each other.