Keeping Up with Faraway People

I hate beginning friendships, but I love maintaining them. There are few things as great in this world as talking to someone you may not have spoken to in a while, but whom you know you could pick up with like no time had passed at all. In fact, probably only two things are better: warm cookies, and that occurrence when you get inside and just as you get in the sky opens up and boom torrential rain, but it couldn’t get you, because you are more powerful than nature itself.

Anyway. It’s not always easy to keep up with people who aren’t physically near you, but it is worth it, both because it’s nice and it makes going home for the holidays a hell of a lot less awkward. You try meeting up with your old group of friends if you’ve ghosted them for a semester.

Not cute. Here are five tips to avoid that direness.

1. MAKE CONTACT A HABIT

The idea of staying in touch with a bunch of people across the country (and perhaps the WORLD) can seem daunting, and it is, you popular little thing. But if you incorporate doing that into your daily life, it becomes natural. Calling home every week or two is always a good go-to, but I put this tip into effect like the #deeply online young person I am: by maintaining Snapchat streaks with my friends from home. It’s fun, I get to see them in some capacity every day, and I feel unrelentingly cool when I get all the notifications. A win-win-win.

2. TELL PEOPLE WHEN YOU THINK ABOUT THEM

There are certain things that remind me of certain people. I am reminded of one of my friends every time I see an update on the garbage monument that was the Ariana Grande/Pete Davidson relationship (RIP). Another of my friends constantly comes to mind whenever I see something buttered popcorn-flavored because I need someone else to share in the hell that is all around us. I reach out to them with those updates, always, and it becomes a habit. Plus, it works both ways: the former friend sends me every Rami Malek-related thing she sees, which is a gift in and of itself, and the latter continually sends me relatable tweets about taking French classes, though we haven’t been in a French class together in three years.

3. CHAT IT UP

Texting and Snapchat are nice, but it’s extra nice to hear someone’s voice AND/OR see their face. The app House Party is adorable and fun for catching up with whole group chats, and occasionally FaceTiming a dear friend for updates on their life is the actual best. Like, it has won awards for being the best, probably. And then those mandatory home-on-break-let’s-catch-up coffee dates are miles smoother.

4. COMMUNICATE UNCONVENTIONALLY

It’s probably impossible to consistently text or talk to everysingleperson you’ve ever been friends with. Luckily, the realest, oldest friends don’t require constant attention to stay your friends. With these types of friends, it’s nice to make the less-frequent contact more special. One of my friends and I write each other the occasional letter, which is adorable. Another friend of mine and I communicate solely through creepy Instagram comments and those obscenely dirty seasonal mass texts, which is less so. But it still works.

5. DON’T MAKE IT A RESPONSIBILITY

The great thing about leaving your hometown/generally going to college/moving out is that it’s a primo opportunity to reconsider all your relationships. You don’t HAVE to keep up with anyone you don’t want to, and if you do choose to cut anyone off, doing so through a slow ceasing of communication is wonderfully low-drama. AND you’ll feel an enormous weight off your shoulders, like when you walk out of your last final, except with toxic friendships you can’t remember why you’re maintaining. Basically, if it’s not fun to keep up with the people who are far away from you, they’re likely as distant emotionally as they are physically.

And yes, I am very proud of myself for that one.

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