There is an art to keeping in touch with friends after university.
The final weeks are amazing, especially at dissertation hand in – which was one of the best days and nights EVER – and my final few days in York including Summer Ball, for a tipsy night with my BFFs.
There were dresses, hairspray, lunging, shots, sweets, dodgems, need I say more. A basic recipe for a good night out, right?
Anyhoo after all these final goodbyes, so longs, and “it’s the end of an era” events, it was time to go our separate ways.
In that moment you can’t really comprehend that the people you’ve spent 9 months of the year with, every year, for the past three years, aren’t going to be within walking distance anymore. You probably won’t see them for weeks. It simply doesn’t seem real.
But then it starts to happen, and as always you begin to learn which friends will remain life long friends, you know the ones whose kids will call you crazy *cough* drunk Aunty Jess, and those others who you’ll just become another Facebook friend on their long list of people they haven’t spoken to in years.
This is when things can fall apart – when people don’t make effort, or they don’t reach out, or life gets in the way. We’ve all been there. Having gone through that transition and still adjusting to it, I thought I’d share my top tips.
Top tips for keeping in touch with friends after university:
I take this approach with all my friendships, and it’s an approach I’ve had to develop over the years, as I was SHOCKING at this during sixth form. I’m never offended if people don’t reach out anymore, as some people simply aren’t great at keeping in touch. I’m just the opposite, I will double message and tag you in memes until you remember me. Holla. Some of my closest friends are the worst texters in the land, and yet we’re still incredibly close.
Put your effort into the right places
Chasing a friend to meet up, when they make little effort with you, can get really frustrating, BUT only if you let it effect you. If you have other friends who regularly keep in contact and want to meet up, then simply put your energy into those positive friendships. Then if someone comes back into your life and wants to meet up, then meet up, but you haven’t spent time agonising over why they haven’t been a better friend recently. I think this applies to life in general too tbh, only put your effort into positive things.
Keep an open mind
Yes we all hope those pals we would drunkenly chat with for ages will always have a tipsy love heart shape in our life, but sometimes those other pals you maybe saw out now and again, or had coffee with a few times a term become the ones you keep in touch with. They might actually be more like you than you realised at university, and a become a great friend for the rest of your life. You just never know. Also if a recently lousy friend nuzzles back and suggests meeting up, go! Give them some slack. We’re all figuring out how to adult and sometimes we’re gonna be a Chandler and drop the ball. We’re all droppers really.
Call over text
You can use phones for what they were designed for, a phone call, especially for those friends who don’t have the time, or the memory to reply to your messages. That way you are guaranteed a quality catch up.
You can exchange mini lectures or powerpoint presentation on your life whilst you’ve been apart from each other. It also feels more like you’re together again, and can get into the nitty gritty juicy details of your life. Which I am ALWAYS here for. I’d rather three hours of meaningful chat, than a day of mundane small talk anytime.
Pin a date down
Get yourself a date in the calendar/diary/random bit of paper on your desk for when you’re next seeing a friend, even if it is three or four weeks away. That way you know you’re meeting up, otherwise it’ll be eight weeks and you’ll never know if they’ve been abducted by aliens, or in Bali, or what. Until you do a Facebook stalk, obvs.
It’s not you, or them, it’s life
It’s hard to not be offended if people don’t keep up to date with your life, or don’t reply, or simply fall off the planet of the earth without even a little goodbye.
Especially if they had been your ride or die, go to gal for the past three years. Yet, this is nothing to do with you as a person or a friend, it just happens. They probably have been too busy, and too caught up in their own life – as you all have to quickly try and find one after uni – and they might be struggling to keep on top of everything.
As I said some people are better at keeping in touch than others, but always endeavour to be someone who makes an effort, as you never know when someone may need that.
Okay, so at university you’d know if you were best friends with someone if after five hours together you could chill on your bed, and sit on your phones for 20 minutes and silently scroll through Instagram. It would be completely normal, and you reach that kind of family stage with friends, and it is a dreamy feeling.
Whereas after uni, when time seems to slip away faster than a slip down a slippy af slide, you sadly only usually get a few hours together. AND if the other person spends that tiny weeny bit of time with you sat on their phone, it just comes across as rude, no cute bestie life. In real life, it’s just a bit self involved to ignore the humans you travelled to see to stare at your screen, and again it’ll be that person glued to their 2D friends who will regret it, because they missed out on some quality time with you.
Also it will most likely always be a quality few hours now with your pals, unless you’re lucky enough to find one free weekend in a blue moon and have a whole weekend together, and then you have the best of both worlds and maybe, just maybe, you can convince yourself you’re 18 again. MAYBE.