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How Do You Hold On To Old Friends While Growing Up?

By: Hana Tilksew

Girls laying in bed

So much of our younger years are spent being giddy to grow up. When I was in middle and high school, I definitely fantasized about getting to be an independent young adult. But for some reason, I never considered how time would change my personal relationships.


Now that I’m a college student with friends who all ended up at different schools, I miss being able to see my favorite people every single day. While college friends are great, they’ll never know you the same way that childhood friends do. As they say, you can’t make new old friends. Here are some ways to hold on to these precious relationships when life gets busier.


Don’t Be Afraid To Reach Out First


When a lot of time has gone by, you can sometimes feel awkward about approaching your old friends. But if you feel awkward, chances are that they do too! If this is a friendship that matters to you, and you want to stay in touch with this person through all the ups and downs in life, you might have to put aside your pride to reach out first.


Reaching out can be as small as a text letting them know you miss them, or taking action to get together and catch up. The longer you go without communication, the higher the chance of this friendship going stale.


Make An Effort To Stay Connected


Friendships are like flowers. If you don’t water them, they’ll wilt. When you’re busy with classes and work, keeping up with old friends might be the last thing on your mind, but it’s still worth making an effort for.


Follow each other on Instagram and comment on each other’s posts. When an old Snapchat Memory featuring them pops up on your phone, send it to them to reminisce on the good old days. Never let them doubt that you’re thinking of them fondly.


Create Traditions With Your Old Friends


As we get older, our schedules get crazier. Unfortunately, we can’t count on school or our parents to organize special occasions for us like they did with field trips or school dances. Being an adult means carving out the time to make your own traditions.


Summer is the best time to set these traditions because everyone is back from college, taking vacations from work, etc. Whether it’s a 4th of July BBQ or an annual pool party, organizing a consistent get-together for your friends that you can all anticipate ahead of time makes it easy to stay in touch despite adult responsibilities.


Include Each Other In Major Life Milestones


It’s really hurtful to watch someone you used to know inside and out, experience major milestones and not bother including you. It makes you feel like a stranger, and you wonder if all those years of friendship meant nothing to this person.


Even though you may not chat with your old friends 24/7, make it a point to celebrate your wins with them. Invite them to your birthday parties and college graduations. Call them up when you have good news. Let them know that when great things happen, they’re the ones you want to enjoy them with.


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