Something happens when you graduate from college. Okay, a lot of things happen. But what I’m talking about has to do with friendships.
Thanks to proximity, schedules and more, it was pretty simply to maintain quite a few friendships during your four (or more) years at school. You had friends from class, clubs, teams, or work, dorm life, off-campus neighborhoods, parties and more. If you forgot to call or text someone back one day, you usually found yourself crossing paths with that person sooner rather than later and making up for it. Little effort was required to stay in touch. You made plans for the following weekend and that was that.
By the time graduation rolled around, you probably started having an idea of who you’d keep in touch with (just like you did in high school). After college, everyone faces the reality of heading separate ways.
So what happens to the friends who stayed up with you half the night? Who celebrated team victories, the end of another semester and job offers with you? Well, you have a choice. You can let these friendships fall by the wayside, or you can enter what’s known as a long distance friendship. Yes, you’ve heard the term before. Just like a relationship, after all, a friendship is only as good as the two people in it.
Just because college is over doesn’t mean your college friendships have to be over. But now that you’re not living next door, it may take a little more effort. Thanks to conflicting schedules and post-grad responsibilities, you may even live in the same town as a friend and feel like you’re living “long distance.” That’s okay! Because technology has definitely made it so much easier. (Honestly, I don’t know how our parents stay in touch with only landline phones and snail mail.)
After college, a lack of effort in any relationship becomes more noticeable because proximity and parties aren’t there to pick up the slack. It’s sad, but it’s true. And it doesn’t really take that much distance to realize who’s going to make the effort and play phone tag with you… And who isn’t going to call you back.
I struggled with this at first. It’s tough to watch and feel friendships you truly cherish fade away. But over time, you’ll realize that the quality of a friendship is much more important than the quantity. Instead of worrying about those who don’t reciprocate time and effort, you can spend time developing stronger, closer friendships.
Let Brittni, Jenna and I serve as an example! During college, we were “class friends” and sent the occassional “what are you doing tonight?” text. But now I consider these ladies two of my closest friends! Sure, we live (kind of) close by. But we also make an effort. In fact, I can’t even remember the last day that went by without my phone buzzing from our group texting conversation. And I love it.
As harsh as it seems, now more than ever is the perfect time to cut ties with those who aren’t making the effort in return. This may sound harsh, but it’s likely that you’ve already given them the benefit of the doubt and quite a few chances. We’re all busy, right? There’s only so many times you can justify an un-returned call with busyness or forgetfulness.
While thinking about the friends you have, it’s a good time to evaluate your own role as a friend. Do you return a missed call or find the time to stay in touch? And if you do… Is it always you?
Change is hard. And as twenty-somethings, it’s the only thing that’s really constant.