You both pledged “best friends forever” when you met on the swing set in second grade, but when you moved to different colleges, staying close was easier said than done. As your college career flies by, your calls and Facebook posts to your hometown bestie become less and less frequent. Long-distance friendships are tough to keep up with when you’re both living your own very separate lives, and even though you’re still “friends,” it may get to the point where you start to feel like you barely know each other anymore. If this sounds like you, check out HC’s tips for reconnecting with your hometown BFF so that your high school friendship really lasts forever.
Socialize with Social Media
If you haven’t talked to your former bestie in a while, social media is the perfect way to ease back into your friendship. There’s nothing like a few nostalgic Throwback Thursday Instagrams to remember the good times you used to have together. If you don’t have as much in common anymore as you used to, a cute throwback pic can give you a starting point for conversation.
Another way to ease back into BFF-dom is through Snapchat. Goofy Snapchats are light and fun ways to share how your day is going and show that you’re thinking of your bestie. Alex from Miami of Ohio suggests using Snapchat to stay in touch with old BFFs “to keep each other laughing and [as] a way to visually see each other.” After all, you may go to different colleges, but you still know what can get your HS bestie to laugh!
You should also consider starting a continuing Facebook message where you each post to update each other on your lives, like modern day pen pal letters (except much more eco-friendly!).
Visit Her College
One of the best ways to reconnect with a friend is by visiting her college. “Plan a visit to each others’ college[s] if you can, so you can experience your BFF's college life and meet their friends,” suggests Alex. Everyone is busy, but making the extra effort to spend a little time in your friend’s new world can help rekindle your friendship. You’re both in college and are growing up and changing; take this time to get to know who your friend is as a person now. Make sure you invite her to come visit your college as well. This way, you’ll get to meet each other’s friends and get a glimpse into each other’s new lives. When you catch up later, you’ll both personally know the people that you’re each talking about!
Video Call Me, Maybe
“My BFF and oldest friend from high school, Ali—we've been friends for almost 18 years—and I managed to become better friends in college. I thought we would probably lose touch, since we both would be busy with college,” says Shira, a collegiette from Franklin & Marshall. What’s her secret? She and Ali iChat almost every day, using both the messaging and video call features of the service. With all the different call services available—Skype, iChat, FaceTime, and ooVoo, to name a few—there’s no excuse to not take advantage of video chat in order to keep in contact with your old friends. “Even though we don't go to the same college, it's still like we're in the same room talking to each other,” says Shira. “We also both went through some tough times adjusting in the beginning, and it was nice for both of us to have someone who knew the other so well be there as a great support.”
Be sure that if you make a video chat date, you stick to it, as it’s easy to fall into the “we’ll talk next week” routine. Remember that your chats don’t have to be two-hour talks; try having a simple FaceTime while you are taking a long trek across campus if you can get a WiFi connection. Little five- or ten-minute convos on the go can work just as well as a long chat in your dorm.
Watch a Show “Together”
If you and your BFF had a favorite TV show you always used to watch together, schedule a phone date during or after the show to discuss the latest developments in the show and each other’s lives. Even though you’re on different campuses, you can easily text each other on commercial breaks to share your latest thoughts on what’s about to happen next.
Meghan, a recent grad of Boston College, and her BFF did this with Pretty Little Liars. “We would call each other after to talk about it but also just catch up on our week,” she says. “We knew we'd always hear from each other and always looked forward to it.” This gives you and your bestie a weekly schedule to stay in touch that’s easy for you both to remember. It’s the perfect time that you can both commit to being available for, since you’ll both be sitting in front of a TV watching the same show anyway!
Make a Hometown Friend Date Night
It may seem simple, but scheduling specific time to get together when you are both home on breaks is a must for staying close with your BFF. This worked for University of South Carolina student Kayla and her best friend when they started to drift apart while separated at college. The two lost contact for more than half a year, but they sat down to figure out a way to reconnect and stay close despite the distance.
“I'm a very open person, but there are some things that I can only talk to my best friend about, and I missed that when we lost contact,” she says. They worked out an agreement to have a lunch or dinner date every time they come home. “Normally, one lunch turns into two, which turns into three, and we end up seeing each other a lot more than we normally would have,” Kayla says.
Be sure to talk about when you are going back for breaks, so that if your time doesn’t overlap, you can try to schedule staying home an extra day to see each other. Find excuses to hang out; over Christmas, host a holiday gift exchange to get the old gang back together for a reunion, or in the summer, find a concert that you all can go to together.
Not everyone is cut out for long-distance friendships, but that doesn’t mean you have to lose contact with your best friend. You may not be together 24/7 like you used to, but there’s still no reason that with a little extra effort you can’t remain close!