Staying in touch can be hard when there’s so much going on and you’re building a new life on the opposite side of the country. Luckily for those looking for long-term friendship sustainability, we’ve created a handy list of tips to aid you in your endeavours.
Make It a Poignant Goodbye
There’s nothing like having a deadline on your limitless time together to spark your nostalgic side. The day or evening before the big day, make sure you mark the occasion with a gathering of your closest friends.
Indulge in some needy hugs, reminisce about the ‘good old days’, and conduct conversations entirely in personal jokes. Depending on what counts as normal in your friendship, you might find them willing to run alongside your car the morning you leave, with all the passion of a woman waving her childhood sweetheart off to war. (If it’s your friend who’s going first, be on call for fresher’s week wobbles:"no one understands me like youuuu").
Embrace Both Traditional and 'Newfangled' Means of Contact
There’s nothing like finding a handwritten letter on your doormat to turn halls into home, so whip out your best stationary, sharpen your pencil and get an envelope in the post.
That being said, stamps are expensive, so you can also use Skype to see your bestie in the flesh (just remember to instant message them the parts of your conversation you don’t want your new neighbour to overhear).
Holidaying Around the UK
Speaking over the phone is important but you need shared experiences to keep your friendship fresh. Conversations that go along the lines of ‘this happened to me, what’s happened with you?’ can only get you so far.
So if you haven’t already, buy a
16-25 railcard and use it to visit each others’ new cities. Book in a weekend for hilarious, friendship affirming mishaps to happen to you and your friends.
Co-ordinate Visits Home to Overlap
The appeal of coming back to your home town varies dependent on location, how successful your budgeting might be, and your tolerance to being asked ‘what time are you home?’ by your mum now you’re a fully independent young adult thankyouverymuch.
But visits home are also visits back to your home friends, and should be seen as valuable bonding time. Example: spend the Christmas holidays in matching snowflake jumpers, cradling a vat of mulled wine and spreading the school-buddies Christmas cheer.
You’re not going to be skyping them every other night, but that’s okay. You’ve got a new life to lead, dubious adventures to undertake and inappropriate crushes to develop. As long as they know that you’re still the first port of call if disaster strikes – major or minor – then an occasional postponed call won’t rock the boat too much.
Be Prepared for Your First Post-Fresher’s Argument
Similarly, leaving for university is probably the biggest change your friendship will ever have faced, and this isn’t going to go unnoticed. It’s almost inevitable that there will be some kind of
disagreement during your first semester. Perhaps you’ve been caught online on whatsapp but failed to replied to the other one’s boy drama, or your friend ‘picked up’ a Scouse accent from her two weeks at Liverpool uni when you both grew up in Northampton.
Whatever it is, have some faith that your friendship will survive the occasional upset. Console yourself that the current housing crisis ensures that you’ll both be back in your parental homes, five minutes away from each other, until you’re 35.
Final Word of Wisdom
Don’t compare them to your brand spanking new uni mates too much. No one wants to hear that you’ve found someone who is a preferable companion for any activity that used to be ‘your thing’. They’re the original.