It used to be easier, right? Remember when you and your BFF would hang out every day, even if it was just to say hi? The two of you would spend hours and hours talking about everything that was happening in your lives, even if you were already together most of the time. But now, you’re so tired from commuting and work, that by the time you get home you barely even look at your S.O. before getting some dinner, a shower, and maybe an episode or two of your new favorite show on Netflix. Adulting takes a toll. Friendship is usually the first casualty.
Modern life is complicated. I mean, nothing in our contemporary world is human-friendly. Unless you’re lucky enough to not have to work to have a roof over your head, we’re all barely trying to keep our heads above water, in terms of sanity. Financial issues aside, being in a romantic relationship is also a lot of work. You need to make time for both of you, and you need to be there for each other, otherwise what’s the point? Time is a luxury, but one you have to keep using to survive. A friendship that can endure the pressure of being a functional person in this setting is even rarer. But we all need to strive for it, so we don’t sink beneath all the other stuff in our lives.
It’s hard but not impossible to maintain relationships with friends once we’re all past graduation. Sure, it’s complicated to keep up when each person is living in a different city, state, or continent, but there are a few tips to stay in touch despite it all.
Use the phone part of your phone. It’s okay to send a quick message to check if you can have a phone call right then, or set it up for later. But the important thing, regardless if the call lasts 5 minutes or an hour, is that you actually talk to each other and listen to each other. In a text someone can say they’re doing fine, but when you’re on the phone, you can hear whether they’re smiling on the other side or just pausing before saying it. Both of you will play off each other’s reactions, making the conversation more interactive. It’s a bit like the difference between Yes or No questions and open-ended ones.
Set a day to catch up
When I was younger, I thought it was funny that my mom had a game night with her friends. Every Tuesday was scheduled for the five of them to play cards, each taking turns hosting. Now that I think about it, it’s not weird at all. If you make a plan, it’s easier to set aside time each week to meet up. Having an activity, like game night or cocktails, makes the conversation less awkward. You can even get together to go to a class or course that allows you to learn something while spending quality time together.
So maybe you can’t meet up every week or even every month. But making the time once a year, even if it’s just a weekend, can be the vacation you need. Each year, you can pick out a specific place you want to discover or return to. Taking a roadtrip means sharing funny moments and hanging out together way more than if you meet at the airport in Las Vegas and then each one goes their separate ways.
The reason we need friendships is so we have an outlet and support system with people who love us –without being related or having a romantic relationship with–, to talk freely about our fears, happiness, and everything that is happening in our lives. It’s not easy to stay in touch, but it’s an effort that’s well worth the hassle. This is a luxury you cannot live without.
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