Before moving to the UK, I spent my life at international schools across the world. The thing about international schools is: if it isn’t you, it’s your friends that are moving away every two to three years. So keeping in touch despite lengthy distances is something you have no choice but to get really, really good at. Although the prospect of graduation and moving away from your friends may seem daunting right now- the one thing I’ve learnt is that the better you get at communication, the smaller the world becomes. Here are some tips I’ve acquired over the years:
- Social Media
Use it and love it. Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are all great ways to keep loose tabs on friends that are both close and distant. It’s interesting to see what they’re up to or where they are in life and it’s a good way for you to let them know what you’ve been doing. Stay connected by liking, sharing and remembering birthdays. Comments are no substitutes for conversations though, and good conversations are what relationships are about. Something that is a little closer and that I personally have found invaluable, is WhatsApp. Not social media per-se, but it’s great for communicating with friends overseas that don’t have iPhones.
My friends and I have this system where whenever one of us is having a hard time – heartbreak, exam stress, you name it – the other will mail them some chocolate. Nothing fancy, just a regular bar with a small note attached. It’s a simple, easy way to let the other person know you’re thinking about them. It doesn’t even have to be chocolate – make it a photo, a ticket stub or even just a card. At this point getting anything through the actual mail seems a little bit like Christmas and makes the other person feel like you really care.
- Five-minute phone calls
Whilst lengthy catch-up sessions via Skype are a great way to stay connected – I think my record is something like eight hours – over time, it’s scarily easy to lose touch. Even though we’d like to, we often find that we just don’t have an hour or more to spare for an in-depth discussion about everything going on in our lives. The solution? Five-minute phone calls. More frequent but shorter conversations. Did something embarrassing happen on the way to work? Can’t decide what to buy and need advice? Just call and chat. If the conversations take a little longer, that’s absolutely fine. But it’s equally okay to cut them short and go do something else. This way, you’ll be in touch more often and therefore stay closer.
This is hands down the best way to keep in touch with friends after graduation. It’s one thing to be good at phone calls and Facebook and quite another to see someone in person. For you, visiting a friend in their new area is a unique opportunity to see a new place through someone else’s eyes; your friend can give you a tour of all their favourite spots. It’s also a chance to meet their new friends, which might be awkward at first, but worth it in the end. If you’re worried about costs, book well in advance and get a budget flight or train ticket. Travelling together is another great way to stay connected. Why not make plans to go interrailing across Europe this summer? Or maybe get together with a group of friends and rent a house somewhere sunny.
To sum up, graduation may seem like the scariest thing we will have to endure, but it does not have to be as final as everyone thinks. With today’s technology there are so many easy ways to keep in touch. Instead of seeing graduation as a daunting end, see it as embarking on new exciting chapter where your friends are only a phone call away!