Friendships: Maintaining Bonds In College

April 6, 2015 (original post here)

When I moved to the mainland for college, I didn’t realize how difficult it would be to keep the friendships that I had back home. To be honest, I dropped a lot of them. There were a bunch of things that could’ve gone differently and I probably could’ve done a better job at keeping my friendships. I’ve also been a witness to friendships having a fallout and it can be a pretty difficult experience to go through. Hopefully some of these tips and experiences will help you keep your high school friendships as you go out and create new ones. 

Before I jump into the tips and stuff, I’m going to break it down into 2 different categories. However, there are a couple of truths that will hold true for both categories:

Truth #1: If you want a friendship to continue, there must be some type of communication.

Truth #2: Things will change, but when they do, you need to be supportive and open.

Truth #3: Make sure you show that you value the friendship.

These truths are the basics that will apply to majority of friendships. To be honest, I’m known for being one of those people who picks up where things left off. In other words, if I haven’t talked to you in a while and I see/talk to you, it’ll be like we haven’t seen each other. So let’s get into some tips to help you maintain those friendships!

GOING AWAY FOR COLLEGE (THE SEPARATE JOURNEY):

Whether it’s both of you moving to new colleges or just one, the main tip here is communication. The transition can be difficult, especially if it’s you and your best friend that are going separate ways. Both of you should set aside time to talk to each other, not text, talk. It could be through Skype, FaceTime, OOVOO (do people still use that?), phone, etc. There are things that can’t always be explained through text, so actually talking to them will give both of you the opportunity to really talk.

Another important thing that you should do is create some type of group text or group on one of your social media accounts, that way your entire group/network of high school friends will still be connected. You could share pictures, stories, videos, etc. That way you’ll be able to share experiences and also know that you have a group of people you can turn to when you’re looking for advice.

A fun thing my friend and I used to do was send each other post cards from our state. We’d write a short message talking about how things were going so far and it was fun to receive a little surprise in the mail. You could also send each other some of your school’s things, like notebooks, shirts, koozies, keychains, etc.

However, once you and your friends start making your own friends, it may be difficult to keep up with actually talking to each other and sometimes even texting. Just remember that as friends, you took an unofficial vow to be there for each other no matter what. So just because a couple weeks go by without hearing from them, that shouldn’t mean it’s the end of the friendship.

SAME SCHOOLS (TOGETHER, BUT DIFFERENT MAJORS):

This is a little easier to maneuver because you can always try to be on campus at the same time, have the same breaks, and go to school on the same day, etc., but it can be difficult if you guys are pursuing different majors. If that’s the case, then there should be a big focus on hanging out outside of school. It could be grabbing lunch on the weekends, going shopping, having brunch before going on some type of an adventure, etc. Just be prepared for them to say no, due to the fact that they may be busy with other things. It’s a part of life, and it happens a lot, especially when you guys have different classes/majors and the amount of time they need to dedicate can differ. Even if it’s once a month that all of you can meet up, that’s better than nothing, and you can always make it a monthly thing.

You could also coordinate between you and your friends to meet up to study. Even though all of you are in different majors, it doesn’t mean you can’t study together. It could also help you relieve some stress. Just make sure that all of you can be productive together, if not, you won’t be able to get anything done. This is a really good idea before finals. I don’t know about you guys, but if you have study week, you guys could just get a table at the library, and rotate who stays there to hold the table. It’d also be a good if one of you had enough room to accommodate everyone that way after a long day of going to classes and studying, all of you can pile into one car and head back to whoever’s house. It’s even better if someone has a dorm! That way nobody has to worry about driving home.

It’s also important to provide support to each other. Although you guys may be going to the same school, everyone can develop their own friendships, especially with people who are in the same major. However, those individuals won’t know you as much as your friends do (or they may no know your friends as much as you do), so it can be difficult to be able to really express how you feel about things. That’s why it’s great to be able to go back to your friends and just have them understand and support you.

Starting a new chapter (college) is an exciting and scary time, but that’s why it’s important to make sure your friends are with you on the journey. Now, not all the friendships you had in high school are going to survive your college years, so it’s important to try and maintain as many as possible. Remember that it’s all about communication no matter what situation you find yourself in. If you don’t talk to each other, it’s difficult to maintain a relationship. In a way friendships are like actual relationships. There needs to be communication between the both/all of you, both/all of you need to feel appreciated, both/all need to be able to have time to connect, both/all of you need to have fun and enjoy your time together. When a friendship ends, for one reason or another, it can be difficult because all of a sudden you don’t have that person to turn to (very similar to an actual break up). When that happens, you just need to move on. Whether it was your fault or the other persons, it doesn’t matter. Unfortunately you need to let go, and then focus on building stronger bonds/friendships with others.

Hopefully this will help some of you out there. Keep in mind that maintaining friendships is very similar to actual relationships. You need to invest time, effort, and reciprocity. Let me know what you and your best friend or close group of friends do to have fun or how you and your friends kept in contact throughout college!

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