BLOSSOMING FRIENDSHIPS FROM BACK HOME
You’re scrolling through your Instagram stories and see two of your friends from high school hanging out. They decided to go to the same college; you didn’t. You’re aware of this fact, yet seeing them together is like witnessing a crossover episode you’re not part of.
It’s an odd feeling, observing some of the people you were closest to create memories without you, miles away from you. But it’s a fact of life– as you grow older and move through the different phases life has to offer– you sometimes find yourself farthest from those closest to you. So what do you do?
How do you water friendships enough to sustain them and ensure their growth when you’re a city, state, or even country away?
For starters, give them updates! Just because you’re not able to see them on a regular basis, doesn’t mean that you can’t text them throughout the day or week to let them know what’s new in your life. Catching each other up on your latest class crush or the show you’re binge-watching will ensure that your friends still feel as if they’re as much of a key part of your life as they were before.
You can even give these updates on your private Snap Story or through your Close Friends Story on Instagram. Either option you choose, whether through text or social media, will undoubtedly aid in your friends feeling more connected to you and with their integration into your new life!
Next, I know it’s difficult with everyone’s hectic schedules and the impending doom of midterm exams, but it’s also extremely important to schedule Facetime calls with your friends from back home! Looking at your calendar and setting aside a specific time to actually see your friends is crucial to nurturing your friendship.
Whether you do it weekly or monthly, face-timing them not only shows that you’re dedicating time for them, but it’s also the closest interaction you’ll get to being in person with them while away at college. Facetime is an outlet, far more powerful than text, that allows for genuine conversations with all the important long-distance people in your life.
You get to see their reactions in real-time (if you’re not using Cal Visitor or Eduroam as your wifi source) and can make up for lost time without bombarding their phone with a million texts. Trust me, once you make this consistent effort to carve out time from your calendar, you’ll be happy you did, and will hopefully feel a lot closer to your friends!
Third, you need to realize that long-distance friendships are just as important as other long-distance relationships. People often overlook long-distance friendships, and friendships in general, often coming to the (false) conclusion that romantic relationships are the more important ones, the ones more deserving of your time and effort. However, every relationship with distance needs a certain amount of effort to be maintained and even more effort to be nourished.
If you prioritize romantic connections over those with your friends, you may end up neglecting many of your friendships, which will be harder to repair with the growing distance. I would argue that friendships are even worth more than romantic relationships because your friends will still be there while your significant other(s) come and go.
Understanding the importance of your friendships and having them take precedence in your life will indicate to your friends that they mean a lot to you, that you’re willing to put in the work to make this work, and will make it that much easier to nurture friendships from afar.
Lastly, tag them in media that reminds you of them. Whether it’s a Tiktok about a celebrity you both love or a meme that reminds you of your guys’ least favorite high school teacher (calculus, no questions asked), it will serve as something that you can both relate to!
It’s also something that requires very little time since you’re likely already spending hours scrolling on your “For You Page” and engaging with this content on a daily basis. Yet, it’s a little thing that lets them know that they’ve been on your mind. Even sending Snapchat memories that pop up from two years ago when you were on a class trip to Disney will bring back fond moments that both of you would probably give anything to revisit.
While it can hurt a little to look back at the “good old times,” when your friends could just show up at your house, ready for a carpool karaoke session, it’s also good to reminisce even if you can’t recreate the memories right now. I hope that as you’ve reached the end of this article, you feel a little more confident about the future of your long-distance friendships or LDFs (is that even a term?).
I wrote this in hopes that college students would feel less alone about being so far away from the ones they love and in order to provide them with tools to make their friendships blossom without necessarily being able to bloom next to their best friend. Fingers crossed, I was able to do that for at least one of you, and if that’s the case, then maybe help me make LDF an actual term that people use besides me.