Advice, Lifestyle

Out of sight, but never out of mind

Living far away from your hometown best friends can feel like a balancing act. My best friends are now scattered throughout the East Coast: South Carolina, Pennsylvania, New York, Massachusetts and Connecticut. Needless to say, we can’t pop by in person to chat for an afternoon like we used to.

Finding a way to stay in touch with them while still living in the moment at college is very difficult. It’s easy to get sucked into all the amazing things college has to offer and then suddenly realize you haven’t heard from your hometown best friends in days.

If you’re anything like me, you have a few extremely close friends who you miss every day, counting down the days until you can see them again. The challenge is filling the time between seeing them with healthy communication.

Friends chatting over a video call. Keeping in touch with our friends across state or country lines can be difficult when in the thick of University life – Sam provides some tips to help maintain those close connections. COURTESY OF BEN COLLINS VIA UNSPLASH

Now, I know I need to work on this too. Some of these tips I’m sharing are what works for me, but some are also things I want to start doing. It’s all about finding a system that feels right for you. 

This isn’t an exhaustive list by any means. I’m just here to give you ideas.

  • Call or FaceTime regularly — or semi-regularly

I love hearing about what’s going on in my friends’ lives, just as they love hearing about mine. Since we’ve been friends for so long living in a similar situation, having this distance gives us new worlds and new experiences to tell each other about. I always look forward to a call from a friend updating me on a new guy they’re interested in or drama with a roommate.

Also, getting random calls from my friends is such a refreshing boost to my mood. It assures me that they’re thinking about me too and — better yet — they want to say hi. These calls are the highlights of my week, and it’s so great to stay close in that way.

  • Foster shared interests

Always remember: you’re friends for a reason. If you see a post on Instagram, a TikTok or something around you that you think they’d like, send it their way. Nothing warms my heart like one of my friends from home sending me a picture saying it reminded them of me.

In the same vein, find things to look forward to together. My friends from home love Taylor Swift as I do, so we share our excitement about her upcoming album. It’s so nice to share those things.

  • Text them just to text them

Not every text you send needs to be for a succinct reason. Sometimes it’s just to say hi to a friend. I love getting a short little text saying hi and they’re thinking about me. It’s the little things that make such a huge impact.

  • Do distanced events

Since the COVID-19 pandemic started, many distanced events services have gained popularity. Disney+ and Hulu implemented a group watch feature directly into their platforms and third-party apps like Teleparty and Scener allow you to watch Netflix in sync with friends.

These features are so beneficial for situations where friends can’t just get together for a movie night like old times. It’s so refreshing to be able to all get together in real-time to watch something together, even from our separate states. 

These little get-togethers are so valuable for just spending time together and not necessarily having to talk or hold a conversation. Comfortable silence with friends can be so relaxing —  especially during the hectic buzz of college life.

  • Send letters, gifts or anything if you can

Nothing beats a random email from the mailroom saying I have a mystery package. The anticipation and excitement are unmatched and get even better when I see the return address. Getting something handwritten or handmade from a friend is one of the most heartwarming things ever. It’s the same for sending something to a friend. Having a physical reminder of a friend is so uplifting and can quickly turn around any bad day.

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