Will Our Paths Cross Again? The Art Of Keeping Contact After Leaving Friendships Behind
Making the decision to study abroad and leave behind all that’s familiar is a hard task. You end up asking lots of questions like what will the university be like? What should I take with me? Will I be happy with the place I picked? Will I have nice roommates? I personally think that my biggest question was: “Will I make any friends?” And, more importantly, “Where will I make them?”
During my time in Groningen, Netherlands, I met an awesome group of people through a student organization. We had house parties together and we made a great study group. Once my six months were up, I had to leave behind the lovely connections that I made with them. I was heartbroken and I might have shed a tear or two. These people let me be myself and accepted me for who I was. They’re the greatest friends that I have made. But even in this day and age, when technology is a major part of our life, it is quite hard to keep these strong connections and stay up to date with what is going on in each other’s lives.
One of my closest friends lives in Scotland, which is only a flight away from Malta, but we are both students and it is harder to meet up than we expected it to be. Thankfully, in the past year we’ve already met once; even if it was just for a couple of hours roaming around Brighton. It was as if we were back in her bedroom in Groningen, sharing experiences and talking about life. Here, I’ll talk about how I maintain a long-distance friendship with her. I hope these tips can be applied to your own long-distance friendships!
- Download a chat app so you can stay in touch. WhatsApp and scheduling Skype calls saved our life. I know that she is just a phone call or a message away. Just knowing that settles the thoughts of losing her and just makes me feel that we have not lost the connection that we once had. These messaging applications are the best thing to friendship-saving. It’s ok if she doesn’t answer instantly; she may be busy, but you know that she will be there for you. Be ready to answer your messages!
- Try and keep the random inside jokes alive and act as if she was just one mile away rather than several thousand.
- We made a target to try to meet up at least once a year, and if we are lucky twice a year. She knows that my house is her house and vice versa. Knowing that makes it easier for us to make plans and visit each other. The most settling part of it all is that whenever we do meet it feels like no time has passed at all.
- We write to each other. Not instant messages, but actual letters. Either a birthday card, or a post card or even just a random letter. It just makes the whole friendship realistic and not just a factious idea in your head of a friend you met so long ago in a foreign country. Also, it makes the six-month experience realistic. All my letters from her are all saved in a little box in my room.
- You may call this stalking, but I call this social media support. Sometimes I find myself scrolling through the Instagram feed just to catch up with her life. I even make sure I liked each and every one of them just to let her know that I miss her face.
- When we finally do end up meeting, I make it a point to drop everything (my phone included) and make sure we are in BFF isolation. After months of counting down until the next time you meet, and the long hug once you pick her up from the airport, you need to enjoy each moment of being together. It will also be great having her around because now the people and places you talk about are not just pictures on her screen, but actual realistic places.
Every time we say goodbye, it hurts as much as the first time we said it. Saying goodbye does not ever feel realistic; it only hits you when you are leaving the person, and that is when the tears start flowing. Unit then, you keep denying it until the last minute. After practically spending every hour of the day together during those six months, I must say that not having her around when I got back home made me feel a little bit empty.
One of the things which happens after you say goodbye is that you are back to counting down the days of when you will see each other again. It does not remain a ‘goodbye’. Instead, it becomes a ‘see you soon’. Always keep in mind to update each other and be there for them, communication is key. Your paths will in fact cross again if you make them do so.