Instead of people telling me how hard it was to get a job, balance book or get on the home-owners ladder when I was younger, I wish they’d told me how tough it could be to maintain friendships in your twenties.
Even if the warning came with no scraps of advice, I’d have appreciated the knowledge that when everyone starts living their lives post mandatory-schooling you probably won’t ever speak to many people you considered friends ever again.
By no means did I have many people to keep in contact with (nor many that I had the desire to) but those who still hold special places in my life (and heart) do require an amount of effort to stop the friendship falling away into nothing.
Since I’m certain that I’m not the only twenty-year-old who struggles with keeping up my best ones (please tell me that I’m not?) I thought I’d share my best tips for keeping the important ones close, despite the possibility of quite large distances.
Sure, you might not be a bad as basic human interaction as me, but if you are (firstly, I’m sorry…) then hopefully these tidbits will come of help.
Answers On A Postcard
Postcards, cards or letters, all easy to send and wonderful to receive. Starting to pick up a few postcards on your monthly (yes… monthly) Paperchase haul and popping a stamp on them is low-maintenance, easy done and thoughtful enough to stamp a smile on your friends face when they receive it. Letter writing is also a beautiful way to keep in touch when you’re far away from one another, not to mention the number of pretty stationery sets that would make this activity even more dreamy!
A few months ago (when I was having a crappy few weeks) one of my closest friends dropped off a sweet gift and some tasty chocolate whilst she was back from uni for the weekend. Although I wasn’t in the right mindset for a nice girly catch-up, the thoughtful gift reminded me of our friendship (because it can be easy to overlook the little things). Like with the postcards, it doesn’t have to be a big thing, some sweets, their favourite snack or even a ‘swap’ of movies, jewellery or clothes!
It’s the little things like a comment on a new Instagram post, keeping up with each other’s new Facebook albums or just shooting the new funny Snapchat filter to them once a week. Social media was invented to keep communication and relationships alive but a lot of us use it to just giggle at memes alone in our rooms each evening. Pledging to use your social accounts to actually keep in touch with people is one of my focusses for the year. Will it be yours too?
Sometimes being honest can be hard, no matter who you’re being honest with. When you have friends that you don’t see very often, it can be easier to feel distant from one another and like you can’t open up about everything like you may have done in the past. Keeping an open channel and filling it with honest conversations (as well as those ones about boys and hangover stories) is such a great foundation for any friendship, no matter how new or how old.
I find that when my friends are home from uni and we’re all geared up for catching up, it takes a while to settle in with each other. Scheduling in more than one catch up or meet up really helps with keeping connected, as there is always something that you forget to mention on the first occasion. This also takes the pressure off of getting everything out during a few hours whilst eating a meal – hurrah to being able to enjoy your food without chatting until it gets cold!
Say Thank You
After you’ve met up, for something nice they said or did, or just a thanks for being there whenever you need to chat (even if ‘there’ is through your phone). Believe it or not, we can all feel insecure about friendships and like the others have moved on to new pastures without us. This usually isn’t true, and a quick ping to let each other know that you enjoyed your catch up can be received with a sigh of relief.
So without further ado, let’s all give out best mates a text just to let them know that we’re still alive and haven’t been eaten by our own cats (something my friends have probably worried about previously).
I’d love to hear what methods you embrace to keep friendships alive over big life changes, university and hundreds of miles in-between yourselves. Let me know downstairs in the comments, or hit me up on Twitter!
Sending life-long friendship bonds and pretty postcards to you all,