Don’t let heading off to college and saying goodbye to your best friend from home be a farewell to the friendship. You can keep your friends from home and make new friends in college. So if you want to have the best of both worlds, this is what you have to do:
• Stay in touch.
A lot is happening with both of you and in a short period of time. If too much of it passes without you two talking, catching up can be kind of awkward. With the combination of Facebook, Twitter and texting, staying connected shouldn’t pose a problem. Sending an e-mail with some life-updates takes hardly any time at all. If you want to make it more personal then schedule a Skype date. Think of it as a great use of your procrastination time.
• Remember important dates like birthdays, holidays and anniversaries, and reach out. Let your best friend know you are thinking about them. If you really want to be a phenomenal pal then send a card. To take this gesture even further, don’t wait for a special date; do it just because.
• Talk about your best friend from home to your friends in college and vice versa. There’s no doubt that it will make one feel great when the other says, “I’ve heard so much about you!”
• Bring the two worlds together.
Just check with both sides first and make sure they’re comfortable with meeting. You can invite your best friend from home to spend a weekend with you on campus and invite your college best friend to spend a weekend with you at home. Just keep it low-key and take it slow to begin with. Most importantly, avoid making inside jokes. While two of you will be laughing, the other will be feeling left out.
• Chances are your best friend from home is building new relationships, too, and you can benefit from being introduced to some of these friends.
If all goes well, you can both end up with a larger circle of friends. Just don’t force it. Yes, there is a good chance that the bests will hit it off. But if the plan goes up in flames, trying to push the issue will only fuel the fire. In this worst-case scenario, try not to feel pressured to pick sides.
• Be honest about the friendship.
The two of you need to put in an equal effort. If you both care, then it will work. If neither of you care, then it definitely won’t. And if only one of you cares, then feelings are going to get hurt. Old pals don’t have to be left in the past. It’s not as if you’ll always be only a dorm room away from your college companions either. As long as you’re willing to put in the work, your friendship will be able to go the distance.
Bryn Durgin has a bachelor’s degree in communications/journalism from St. John Fisher College (www.sjfc.edu).