For many of us graduation is an exciting time, when together with our loved ones, we celebrate our (well deserved) accomplishments and go on to the real world. Pure joy, happiness and great memories.
It is also probably one of the last times where you will see most of your college friends, those we spent so much time in the last few years. Yes, moving on from college might involve going to new cities, states or even countries and not always having your best friends around you all the time.
But you don’t have to be scared yet. There are always ways of maintaining your friends and making new ones, wherever you may go. Trust me, I have packed up my life and moved countless times by now.
A lot of it comes down to following some simple guidelines: making time, being involved and being curious.
Something so easy to forget is to make time for those who are not always around.
It doesn’t have to be something strict, but trying our hardest to set away time for those we care about really goes a long way. You can mark it on your planner or phone some time during the day to talk to your old friends, just send a text or even FaceTime them. You can even do friend hangouts dates – organize it with your friend group and just talk about life and how things are going. When maintaining friendships it’s the little things that count. Always. It could be a text during lunch hour or after work, or even a picture of something that remind you of them, perhaps something that you guys used to do together.
Just be careful not to transform making time with your old friends a way to avoid going out there and making new ones. As for the latter you also have to put effort in and get out of your comfort zone, making the time, to see who is out there.
So simple, yet for some of us (me included) so challenging in the beginning.
Try to get involved in your new community. Perhaps you can try going to central places like coffee shops, happy hour bars, libraries or parks. Search for places that make you feel comfortable, that you would see yourself hanging out. And then see if you can find any activities, groups, workshops that you could get involved in. Not only does getting involved give you something new to do aside from the whole work-home routine, but it can also introduce you to new friends.
For example, if you love reading, how about see if that’s cool bookstore has any book clubs? Love a good workout? If so you always look up online a running group near where you live. Just learning to cook? How about seeing if there is a cooking workshop close to work? You see, being involved doesn’t have to be difficult or fast, you can easily take your time.
This goes for both making new friends and maintaining old ones.
Being curious is often not taken into account when it comes to friendships, but it should. Ask your friends how they are doing, what are they thinking about their new place or situation… the questions you can ask are endless. And even if you are not that close to your new friends, you can ask them so many things.
But also listen, closely to what they have to say. Genuinely and be there for them. It is so easy to just lose touch when you don’t get to see people face to face all the time as often the little things that make our days are just pushed aside, so be curious, ask your old friends’ questions, listen to their answers and be there for them. I’m sure your friends will gladly do the same to you.
And even if haven’t yet found new friends, use curiosity to meet new people. Perhaps take a class on something you didn’t know about, like astronomy, or go sightseeing by foot around your new city. Being curious is all about getting out there and see the world, listen to different people and see what the world has in store for you. And by doing that you give yourself new opportunities to make friends
Making new friends can often be scary, add to the mix the whole maintaining old friends and it can get overwhelming. But just calm down a little, be yourself and trust that everything will be okay. You got this!