I sometimes wonder if I’m the absolute worst at keeping in touch with friends.
Okay, I have some close mates who like to compete for the title. So maybe lots of us are like that.
How well do you keep the sparks flying? Are you fiendishly friend-focused, or do you have serious trouble touching base?
If it’s bad for you now, think how tough you’ll find it when you graduate!
So this post is for you (and me) to reflect on how we can do better at having meaningful relationships, even from a distance and when your lives go in every direction.
Here are seven thoughts on staying BFFs with heart and passion:
1. Understand that not everyone is brilliant at keeping in touch.
You may already be amazing at relationships. Some people keep the flame burning with ease. Others treat the flame like an oxygen-free room would…It goes out instantly and it’s practically impossible to reignite the fire.
If you NEVER hear from a friend and they aren’t excited when you get in touch, maybe it’s time to cut your losses. Otherwise, try not to sweat it. Be happy that you can reach out better than most people.
2. Embrace the inevitable change that comes your way.
Whether you’re leaving the comfort of campus in your second year, or you’re moving back home at the end of your degree, one thing is always the same…Change!
A common response is to lament how people move on, but why not enjoy experiencing all the developments that your friends go through, just the same as you’re developing yourself?
That mindset alone helps you let go of unimportant things and keep hold of what really matters. You awesome friend, you.
3. Get in touch meaningfully.
Go beyond social media. Send a letter or a postcard once in a while. You don’t have to be on holiday or doing anything special either.
Buy some fun postcards and stamps, keep them close to hand, and write a few brief words of love every now and then. Make it a habit. I wish I’d done this. I got as far as collecting some postcards, but didn’t get much further. Don’t make my mistake!
4. It’s all about the little things in life.
Telling your friends what you’re up to gets you thinking about the big news you want to share. But if you want to stay in touch more frequently, nothing beats a bit of boring detail.
Your day-to-day life is what makes you tick. The big experiences are profound and worth talking about, but not at the expense of the other weeks in the year when you’re not doing something massive.
Share your small stories and let your mates know what it’s like to be you in the calmer, everyday moments.
5. Don’t begrudge them new mates.
When you’ve lived in someone else’s pockets for a year or three, you can get pretty possessive. And it’s fair to be a bit jealous when you know someone else is hanging around such a good mate on a regular basis.
But would you rather your good friend had no other friends? Would you prefer that they stayed in every night and had no social life?
It would be strange if your friend had left university and NOT made some new mates. There’s no need to feel like it’s a competition or that your friendship has been overtaken by someone else.
All friendships are unique, so drop the comparisons and love your matchless bond.
6. Find new ways to get together.
I’ve found that the best way to keep long-distance friendships sparkly is to vary the activities.
Go to events, go on holiday, go to their place, invite them to yours, meet up halfway and explore a brand new place…
7. …Or have a regular meetup.
Routine reunions are another way to ensure you have something to be excited about from one visit to another.
The reason why I prefer to mix things up is because it’s difficult when circumstances change and the regular thing becomes too difficult. Jobs can make it difficult. So can kids, moving further away, and other commitments.
But a change in situation doesn’t mean a change in friendship. You just need to be willing to work with new conditions.
If that means a new routine can be found, great! Otherwise, don’t be afraid to focus more on special events to keep the spark alive.
How good are you at keeping in touch? I like visits and events, but I’m not so good with the everyday communication. There are people I haven’t seen in years who I think about almost daily. If only they knew that I was thinking about them.
My job is to get back in contact and let those people know. That’s next on my list.
What’s next on yours?