If you’re moving away, leaving for college, or have friends moving away, it’s natural to wonder how you’ll keep your high school friendships going – or if they’ll weather the distance. What will your days be like? Will you miss out on quality time? Will your friendships survive with miles between you? Will people remember your birthday?
It’s true that relationships change when you’re connecting more online or by text than in person. You could lose touch with some people. But, true friendships will always stand the tests of distance and time. You won’t always get to celebrate special occasions together or meet up whenever you want, but that doesn’t mean you’ll lose your closeness. It doesn’t mean you can’t laugh as hard or that you won’t have a shoulder to cry on (even if it’s a virtual shoulder).
Here are some ways to keep your high school friendships and other connections going when you’re separated by states, countries, or even oceans.
Have a virtual game or movie night.
Jump on a video chat. Then play your favorite game online together or watch the same movie at the same time.
Use your favorite shows and current events to connect.
Do you watch the same shows? Follow the same sports teams? Wait anxiously for the same fashion week runway shows? Share your predictions with one another (there are even brackets for certain reality shows!) and keep in touch as the seasons progress or the results play out.
Start an old-fashioned email string.
An email string can act like a collective diary or even time capsule. It works especially well for groups of friends. You can share funny stories or milestones, and you can always look back on them in later years. One word of caution: don’t share what you wouldn’t want forwarded.
Set up calendar reminders for birthdays and other big days like graduations.
When you are on different school schedules and you’re not celebrating birthdays together, you can lose track of important dates.
Forgive your friends if they’re out of touch.
Different schedules can cause people to lose track of time and of dates. If a good friend forgets a special occasion, it doesn’t automatically mean they miss you less.
Social media is your friend.
Of course, right? But importantly, when you no longer live in the same place as your closest friends, sharing pictures of your everyday lives can help you feel like you still share common ground. After all, you’re part of the same virtual world.
Make a call (or a video call).
It’s easy and fun to text back and forth, but there’s nothing like having an offline conversation to maintain and strengthen friendships. To keep too much time from passing in between chats, set up a standing time like every Saturday morning or once a month.
Plan your next visit.
Sometimes, you can feel like you are really far away from your friends and like it has been forever since you got to hang out. Even if you don’t know exactly when you’re going to see each other next, have fun brainstorming activities for your next hangout.
* One last important note. Sometimes, right before a big move, you can start to feel tension with your friends and even get into fights. This is totally normal. The stress and sadness of such a momentous life change can weigh on everyone, even if you don’t realize it. Much of the time, it will pass. Remind yourself that it’s a difficult time even if it is also exciting. Do your best to make the most of the moments you have in the same place before your new adventures begin.