Once the school year really kicks in and you’re busy with extracurriculars, schoolwork, and your new friends you’ve made at college, it can be hard to fit in the time for your old friends. No matter how close you are, it’s easy to let the other aspects of your life takeover and come in between you and them. As students now, we’re lucky we live in an age with a lot of technology that allows up to keep in touch with other people, instead of having to write letters or worry about long-distance phone calls, but it still can be hard to find the time to schedule those calls or make time to visit your friends, and seeing and talking to each other only when you’re home for the holidays usually isn’t enough.
To keep in touch with your old friends, the most important thing you have to do is make an effort. No matter how small the interaction is, it counts. Use social media to your advantage. Just liking a friend’s new photo, status update, or a post can show that you’re still thinking of them and is a way to interact daily. If you see something on Twitter that reminds you of someone, tweet it at them. Use #TBT to your advantage to put up old pictures from high school of your friends. Just little things over social media will really go a long way to keep you in the mind of your friends, and vice versa.
Use email to keep in touch. Everyone has an email address, and if you’re ever bored or want to say hi a friend, send them an email. Take a break from studying one night to update your friend on your life and ask them about theirs. This could also be a Facebook message, but the idea is still the same. Just reach out.
Skype is great for keeping in touch with your friends, especially since you can Skype with more than one person at a time. It’s hard to find the time to visit your friends, but you can all still get together using Skype. And even though it can be time consuming, if you fit one skype session in with your closest friends once every couple of weeks, it’ll make a big difference.
Use your phone to call someone or even send a text. Texting someone takes about a minute and it’s a great way to keep in touch with someone. If you’re walking home alone at night (not too late, of course) from the library or a meeting, call someone up! Or if you’re walking anywhere, at any time. It’s a great way to multitask. Phones have become instrumental in keeping in touch with people, thanks to social media apps and texting. And if you’re worried about your phone bill, you can get student discounts here.
If someone emails or texts you and you don’t answer right away or forget, don’t just let it slide. Even if it’s three days later, it’s better to apologize for being busy than to ignore it completely, because next time your friend won’t come to you for advice. Believe me, I know everyone is guilty of this. I’ve done it before. But if you try to minimize these occurrences, your friendships will thank you. And be understanding when a friend does this to you (unless it’s a frequent thing). Just make sure that you’re not only involved in group texts, and spend some time talking one on one.
Another great way to keep in touch is to blog together. Start a blog that’s written by you and your friends, and only allow your other friends and certain people to read it (unless you want the public knowing about how you tripped on the way to sociology class). You can post funny stories and and problems you might have on that blog, and your friends will be able to easily read it and know what is going on in your life right away, and vice versa.
Sending a quick card to say good luck during midterms/finals week or just sending the occasional letter or card is a nice touch. Who doesn’t love getting a handwritten letter or card in the mail? And it really shows that you care and that you’re thinking of your friends, even more than just sending a text or email.
And finally, hang out when you can. If you’re home for a weekend and some friends are around, make sure to make the time to see them. Or if it’s a friends birthday and you can go visit her, go visit! If you spend your Thanksgiving Break ignoring your friends or not trying to make an effort to see them, they won’t make the effort either. Like I said earlier, it’s really all about the effort you put into your friendship.
Simply put, you get what you give. If you’re not trying, then your friends will stop trying. So even though you’re busy at school, take a few minutes to send a text or like their Facebook photo. You’ll be glad you did when Christmastime rolls around.
Alexandra Smith is majoring in Psychology, with a minor in Creative Writing. In her free time, she enjoys running, hanging out with family friends, and roaming the world with her camera in hand.