Maybe it sounds crazy but, when it comes to your best friend, leaving for college is probably the easiest part of BFF withdrawal. Picture it. It’s one of the last goodbyes you make, saving the hardest for last, and you’re off to start the next part of your life. Move-in day is more hectic than senior ball and, sad as it is, you don’t have a moment to spare a thought for them. Between meeting new friends and attending all the freshman events around campus, the next few weeks don’t settle down either. But what about after you’ve adjusted? What about when you scan the room filled with your new friends and their face isn’t there? What happens you finally realize your best friend isn’t there with you? These are the ten stages of BFF withdrawal for when you leave your best friend to go to college.
This is a collaborative piece by: Morgan Watkins, Maggie Kmiecik and Brittany Pratt
1. The goodbye!
This is quite possibly one of the most heart wrenching moments of your entire life (except for every time you had to watch Ross and Rachel break up on FRIENDS). The thought of spending the next few months without your best friend is unbearable, and knowing there is nothing you can do to change that makes it even worse. Considering you and your best friend have never spent more than a few days apart, Thanksgiving seems like an eternity away. And so the countdown begins…
Alright, joke’s over. Bring out Ashton Kutcher and his camera crew because you must be getting PUNK’D. This whole “long distance” is just not going to work. If you suddenly find yourself unpacking your best friend suitcases, don’t be alarmed, this is a classic symptom of BFF withdrawal! So is the looming feeling of doubt hanging over your head right about now. Did you make the right choice going to different schools? Should you even go to college at all? Who needs school when you can have movie marathons with your best friend every day of the week, right?
3. Reality check…
After days of extreme depression and agony comes the acceptance stage. The truth sinks in: you and your friends have all gone down different paths for a variety of different reasons and it’s time to accept that. Sure, distance sucks and it’s very okay to be sad about being away from your pals, but throwing tantrums and crying about it won’t bring them any closer. Time to move on, stay positive, and believe that your friendships can survive this difficult chapter of your life.
4. Obnoxiously calling and texting 24/7.
Maybe a week or two into college, once classes are in full swing, you may find yourself in this phase. Your phone bill has gone through the roof because you are basically on a 24/7 phone call with your best friend. You missed their voice and texting simply took too long so you picked up the phone and dialed the number. The only problem is you never hung up. It’s like those cliché couples from the movies. It’s just too painful to say goodbye.
With FaceTime, Skype, group chats and more, it’s easier than ever to keep in touch! Everyday, you send each other mushy texts in the group chat saying, “Have a good day!” or “Love you guys! Miss you lots!”, as if to make sure your friends know that you haven’t forgotten about them just yet. You exchange pictures of what you’re doing in the moment, you want updates by the second, and you essentially try to live their life alongside them through a series of words and emoticons. It probably isn’t all that different from before you moved away but there’s a little more urgency in each text, knowing you aren’t physically there with them anymore.
5. Spending your inheritance on them.
At some point in every freshman’s life, I can guarantee they’ve found themselves with an online shopping addiction. With a credit card in your possession and money you know you shouldn’t spend but it feels so good, you need to purchase everything and anything. Somewhere along the way you end up on that pair of shoes your BFF needed and they’re on sale, so you buy them and send them to her address. Ten days later and you’re sending her an ugly, expensive, hand-made scarf that you know she’ll never wear but it made you feel so good to send her something. Beware of this stage or you may lose your credit card privileges, especially if your parent’s get your statement.
6. Recalling classic times together.
Every proper pair of BFF’s have a collection of classic stories from their time together that sum up their entire relationship. When they aren’t with you and you’re meeting new people every day, you find yourself sharing these classics with every one you come in contact with. Each story gives your new friends a little insight into who you were before moving away and it makes it clear that your best friend isn’t replaceable.
7. “When are you coming to visit?!”
A couple of months into school, after everyone is settled in, you beg your BFF to visit. Your new friends feel like they already know them, considering how often you talk about them and your best friend wants to know who you’re with day in and day out. A good weekend visit is enough to bring your BFF into your college life, especially when the two seem so separate.
8. “Oh my god I’ll be home soon.”
The first break of the school year is always a big one. It’s the time when you and your BFF can reunite at home. It’s the first time you get a glimpse of the life you used to live. When you’re both home for the first time, I highly recommend visiting all your favorite places together and taking lots of pictures. It’s probably only a few days so don’t waste them!
9. Jealousy courtesy of social media.
An ode to social media: thank you for making it easier for best friends to keep tabs on each other. Yu spot one of your besties on social media posing with other people. “Who is that in your Instagram picture?” you ask, in the least creepy way possible. Could it be your replacement? No, not possible. It’s as if you’re a jealous girlfriend and you see your significant other cozied up to some other girl. Your heart burns with jealousy and it’s hard to even like the picture without also throwing some shade in the comment section. But then you remember: you don’t own this person, and there’s no reason why your best friends can’t hang out with other people.
After all, part of the reason you decided to leave home for college was to meet new people and create new friendships. You should be happy for them, happy that they aren’t alone anymore and they’ve got people nearby that they can count on when you can’t physically be there. The urge to friend request your best friend’s roommate has never been so strong. Sharing your BFF is hard, and you might find yourself feeling more self-conscious than usual. But keep in mind, they miss you just as much as you miss them.
10. “Let me confess my love…again!”
So you’ve had the doubts and a panic starts to set in. Suddenly, you find yourself sending long texts to your BFF every night, telling them over and over again how much you miss them, how they’re the best thing that happened to you, and how you can’t wait to see them again. You tell yourself you do this to reassure them that you’re still there for them, but really it’s to reassure yourself.
11. Slipping away…
This is the scariest phase, without a doubt. You can physically feel your BFF pulling away. Yes, life gets in the way and we’re all busy, but at this point it may feel like your BFF is done with you. You try to move on too but you know they’ll never be another person like them. You still text, but the replies get shorter and the phone calls come less frequently. The group chat is no longer hopping with funny gifs and sappy text messages.
Skype isn’t even an option anymore and FaceTime dates go from a daily basis to a weekly one. “Where is everyone? I sent this text over an hour ago and no one has replied yet, not even an emoji,” you may say to yourself. Everyone said your friendship wouldn’t survive college but you thought you would prove them wrong. You begin to worry, anxiety taking over your brain, making you believe the worst possible scenarios possible.
12. New friends!
After being inspired by your other BFFs to make new pals, you then venture out into the terrifying social world in hopes to connect with someone, anyone. It’s certainly not easy talking to strangers, let alone trying to befriend them. There’s always the fear of judgement, worries about whether or not they’ll understand you or if you’ll have anything in common. Eventually, you find a group of people that you enjoy spending time with. You all get along and share laughs, which is definitely something everyone needs in order to stay sane in college.
13. BFF reminder!
Your new friends are awesome: they’re hilarious and fun to be around, but it’s definitely not the same. You have this gaping hole in your heart that only your best friends can fill. Then one day, out of the blue, you see something online or hear a song in public that reminds you of your besties, whether that be a hilarious meme or some sort of song that you all used to jam to in the car. Either way, you feel the need to report it to the group chat, as if it’s a civic duty in the world of friendship. Everyone goes bananas for it, sending a parade of LOLs and laughing emojis through texts.
14. Complete relief!
THE GROUP CHAT HAS BEEN REVIVED! You and your friends reminisce, catch up on the latest gossip and updating one another on everything going on in each other’s lives. Your heart is enveloped by a warm and fuzzy feeling, and all the doubts and fears you previously had melt away. You and your BFFs are fine, great, even, and there’s nothing, not time, distance or other people, that could tear you guys apart.
15. Finally reunited!!!
Whether it’s Thanksgiving break or when you’re done with the semester, you find yourself back at home with your BFF calling you to meet up. Once you’re reunited, it’s as if no time passed at all. They’re still your person, your best friend. Your doubts subside and you realize you were right all along. You can do this.
The best part. It feels like you were never apart. You can finally go over to your best friend’s house uninvited, look through their pantry, and pick up right where you left off. The reunion might be just as sappy as the goodbye. No matter how long it’s been since you’ve last seen each other, nothing has changed. You have just as much fun as you did before you left for college, you’re just as obnoxious when you’re together, and you love them just as much as you always have and always will.
16. Friends forever!
You realize that every crazy thought you had, every tear that was shed, every bit of anxiety you felt over losing your friends was all for nothing. You never lost your friends, and you never will because you guys have a bond that can never be broken. As long as you put forth effort, compassion and love, there’s no way you’ll lose your friends while in college; true friends will make sure of that.