If You Feel Like You’re Drifting Apart From Your Home Friends, Here’s What You Need To Do
It’s a sad but familiar story. You head off to university, gain some independence and lots of brand new friends, and inevitably start to lose some old ones along the way. No matter how good your intentions, even the strongest of friendships have fallen victim to the ‘university curse’.
It might seem easy enough at first, but before you know it you’re drifting apart from each other and every conversation has turned into an endless series of “how are you”s, “we should really meet up soon”s and “sorry it’s taken me so long to reply”s.
But it doesn’t have to be this way.
1. Actually speak to them.
Texting and tagging one another in dank memes is great and everything, but nothing can compare to hearing their voice in real life. Having a good natter on the phone, or even FaceTiming them so that you can actually see their little face will take your catch-ups to the next level. Pro-tip: rather than turning phone calls into a chore by constantly trying to schedule one for a time when you’re both free, just call them. You’re bound to catch them doing nothing at some point.
2. Or even write them a letter.
Sometimes, if you want to hit your friends right in the feels, you’ve got to go old-school and surprise them with a letter. I know, I know, it sounds super cheesy (and it is), but just try it. Not only will you find it enjoyable to actually put pen to paper for a change, but it’s guaranteed to make their day in a way a WhatsApp message simply cannot.
3. Show an interest in their life right now.
If you’re finding yourself not knowing what to talk to them about because you feel a bit out of the loop, ask. And don’t just say “hey, how’s it going?” Be specific, otherwise the conversation may well fizzle out again. How’s their job going? Where are they up to with that show you both like? Have they done anything embarrassing recently? It can feel awkward to admit you don’t know what’s going on, but the longer you leave it, the worse it will get.
4. Don’t feel like you can’t talk to them about uni just because they’re not there with you.
Often, drifting apart from your home friends occurs because you feel like you can’t talk to them about uni. What if they’re not interested? Or what if you end up annoying or upsetting them because you’re just reminding them that they’re not experiencing everything with you? Rather than deciding for them without giving them a chance to prove you wrong, why not just talk to them about it anyway? If they’re true friends, they’ll be happy you’re sharing everything with them. And if they’re not? Well, now you know.
5. Decorate your room with pictures of them, not just of your uni friends.
What are your favourite pictures of them? I’m not talking the perfectly-posed plandid photos either. I’m talking completely awful, deeply embarrassing, “I swear I won’t put this on Facebook” photos. You know, the kind you save tagging them in until their birthday so that they have maximum impact? Put those up on your wall to remind you why you’re friends with them. (You can also put the nice ones up if you want to, of course.)
6. Invite them to actual events.
Rather than just saying “come and see me soon!!!” which is easily agreed to but never acted upon, invite them to a specific event that you think they’d enjoy. Be it a birthday, a themed night out, a show, a local attraction near your university, if you can highlight a specific date when they should come to see you, it makes it so much easier for them to actually follow through. Of course, they might not always be free, but if they are then you’ve just made things so much easier.
7. And if they invite you to something, don’t let distance stop you.
When you’re living in the university bubble, the thought of making plans that involve you leaving said bubble can seem like too much trouble, not to mention too much for your bank account. But really, when you’re spending God only knows how much on takeways and nights out, you can’t really justify why you’re not prepared to pay for a train ticket home once in a blue moon. Make the effort; it will be appreciated.
8. Make time for them when you go home.
If you’re home for the holidays, or just for a weekend, put some time aside for them. Forget how much work you have to do, or however much you’d just like to do nothing, try to see them, even if it’s just for a quick coffee. You’ll thank yourself afterwards when you’ve had a great catch-up, and don’t have to go through that whole rigmarole of telling them that, yes, you were at home, but no, you didn’t tell them.
9. And finally, acknowledge that a gap has formed if there is one.
If you can tell that you’re drifting apart from someone and you’re not happy about it, pretending it’s not happening won’t bring you back together. Instead of ignoring it and hoping the gap will close by itself, actively try to close it by doing the above things. Remind them and yourself how much your friendship means, and make it clear that you’re prepared to work for it. They say absence makes the heart grow fonder, so prove it.