How To Keep Your College Friendships Strong

by Nicole Piquant

Friendship can be super tricky — even without the stresses of the "holy crap what am I going to do now" existential crisis that most grads have after graduation. You have enough things to worry about, like how you’re going to navigate and leave your mark on the "real world." But now, you have to add another layer to it — figuring out how to stay friends with people after college. Maybe you and your bestie are going to be in different cities or states for the first time in four years. Maybe you’ll be down the street from each other, but are nervous that your lives are heading in two totally different directions. Your best friend is the one who has held you down throughout the crazy whirlwind of college. But how do you maintain your closest friendships when both of your lives have turned completely upside down?

Here’s a secret: One of the best things about friendships after college is that you really only get closer to the people you care about. In college, you have the luxury and convenience of being close to one another. Sure, it’ll take a little extra work to maintain the friendship. But even though the two of you will truly be living separate post grad lives (which is a good thing), your bond will only get stronger (I promise). If you still feel like you’re about to be in the middle of a friendship crisis, there are a couple ways to make sure that everything remains tranquil between the two of you. Try to connect with each other as much as your schedules will allow. And of course, don’t forget why you became friends in the first place.

1. Establish a fun ritual

Once you start working (or traveling, or chilling, or creating your own clothing line made solely out of pizza crusts... you catch my drift) time will fly. by. Trust me. One way to make sure your best friend doesn't get lost in the fray? Come up with a fun tradition that you guys do, just the two of you. Maybe she'll come by your place every Wednesday night for wine and a debrief. Or maybe every other month you guys will road trip to see one another. Whatever you choose, make it fun and personal.

2. Be honest

Let your bestie know if something just isn't working out. Do you wish you two would talk more than the once-a-month check-ins that you guys usually have? Speak up! She'll understand.

3. Travel to see each other

It will definitely suck that you can't just roll out of bed in your jammies and make a mad dash to your friend's room simply because you feel like it. But, while it may not seem like it right now, this is one of the best parts of the (otherwise totally sad) fact of moving away from your bestie after graduation. You now have the perfect excuse to travel to an awesome new place (and already have a tour guide and a place to crash). Living miles apart will only motivate you to go visit them on their turf... or meet someplace in the middle and explore a new place together.

4. Love them

Well, yeah. Let them stand under your um-ba-rella (ella, ella, ay, ay...)

5. Send them snail mail

Getting handwritten mail is pretty much the best thing ever. It's infinitely more personal than receiving an email. I mean, someone actually took the time to stand in line at the post office (and there is always a line), and buy you a stamp rather than just clicking send. If that's not real love, I don't know what is.

6. Be understanding

Graduation makes people do some funny things. You might find that your best friend who previously hated country music in college moves to Nashville, Tennessee, and all of a sudden is singing to Blake Shelton like nobody's business. Accept your friend for who she is, and understand that her preferences for people, music, food, clothing, and even significant others might change. But we're all young — that's what it's supposed to be like, right? Right?! Which brings me to my final point...

7. Roll with the punches

Phew! This one is a doozy. It's hard to simply let things be, and to deal with the curveballs that life constantly throws your way — whether they involve family, graduation, or even your best friend. But the sooner we all realize that the only things we can control are our reactions to life's challenges, the better off we'll be. Let the little things go. I'm pretty sure they won't matter in the grand scheme of life, anyway.

Images: Fotolia; Giphy