How to Keep Your Friendships Strong After Graduation
Written by Phylicia Masonheimer | July 2, 2017
The season between high school graduation and college or career is full of transition. You’re moving out of your parents’ house to a dorm or apartment; you’re moving from the high school or homeschool world to a college classroom; you’re gaining a new set of friends and experiences to add to the old. But in all this change, many girls worry that the people who meant so much to them in high school will disappear.
It’s true—the busyness of this season makes keeping up with old friends hard, especially if you’re separated by miles. But it’s not impossible to “make new friends and keep the old”! It takes intention and time, but if it means enough to you, those good friends from the high school years can stay your friends for years to come. Here’s how to make it happen.
Take the Initiative
If you wait for your friends to think up an outing or make time to get together, it might not happen. You’ll have to wrangle two different work schedules, class schedules and college vacations. But if you really want this to happen, you can make it happen! Be the one to orchestrate the date of your get-together, call or Skype date. If that’s too hard, consider writing letters the old-fashioned way—or emails, if you need something faster. Start a Bible study group online where you can chat and keep up virtually. Whatever you need to do, find a format that works for you and your friends and make it happen.
Schedule Time Together
The scheduling part gets tricky. If you and your friends are all pursuing different college or career paths, none of your schedules will look the same. But if you schedule time to see each other or talk—viewing it not as optional, but as a real appointment—you’re more likely to actually maintain the friendship.
It’s very easy to say, “Let’s get coffee sometime!” with no date attached. Make a habit of following up within the day to choose a place and time so the opportunity doesn’t slip away.
Be Ready to Let Go
This is hard, but sometimes necessary: Be willing to let go of a friend who simply stopped investing. As much as you may want to keep her in your life, if she doesn’t want it, the relationship will be one-sided. You can tell this is happening if your friend is increasingly distant, unresponsive to your texts or calls, only calls when she wants something or consistently reschedules your dates. She has to want the relationship as much as you do. She has to appreciate it. If she doesn’t, give her space to “miss you,” and continue forming friendships elsewhere.
Sometimes you reconnect with high school friends you lost touch with. That was the case for me! So don’t give up hope that certain friendships are done forever; sometimes friendships come and go in seasons. It’s important to broaden your group of friends and be ready to make new relationships, not be dependent on the old ones. But those old friendships hold a special place, too. Take care of them. Tend to them, and they’ll likely bloom for a long time to come.