Post-Mortar: How To Maintain University Friendships After Graduation
Leaving university can be tricky for lots of reasons. You’re suddenly dealing with unemployment, you’ve lost your routine and you even have to say goodbye to that student loan. But worst of all is the effect it has on your friendships. You can’t walk over to your mate’s house at 1:00am anymore. You can’t laugh through a two hour seminar together, or take joint trips to the co-op in your pyjamas.
Graduating puts question marks over university friendships you thought were rock solid. Will you still be close now you’ve got different careers and live in different cities? Is it still possible to be best buds?
The short answer is: yes, it is. And there are plenty of steps you can take to make this happen.
Don’t be afraid to force things a little. At first, it might feel a bit weird agreeing to talk every Monday at 8:00pm. Your friendship used to be so easy – all you had to do was open your bedroom door! Chances were they’d be in the corridor, waiting to fill you in on what happened in the last two hours.
Still, now you’re in different cities, it has to be a little more planned. Set a time and day to chat, stick to it and you’ll thank yourself later. Of course you can still send each other pictures of cats and ‘I miss you’ GIFs in the meantime.
Chatting regularly is key to keeping a long distance friendship going. Friendships are based on a sense of mutual understanding, which can’t happen if someone is cut off from knowing about what you’re going through.
Don’t just call every month to relay the headlines; send each other alerts and live updates. Technology, beautiful technology, makes this kind of friendship possible. Chose your weapon – Skype, Facebook, Facetime – and talk to your buddy on the bus or a lunch break.
Don’t just ‘catch up’
Friendships are more than just filling each other in on your own individual lives. They are also about making new memories together. It can be chatting about a book you’ve both read, a mutual friend, or watching Netflix at the same time. Just make sure you take the focus off yourselves individually and invest in the ‘we’.
Create moments with your old university buddy, rather than just telling them about moments you had doing other things.
Fill each other in on the details
You slipped in the rain and tanked it over a fence? Tell your bestie. You want to buy a Grinch costume for the Christmas party? Tell your bestie. Saw a top you loved online? You get the idea.
Everyone shares the big things, like passing a driving test or getting an interview. But it’s these small details that will make you feel less separate.
Often it’s the case that we don’t invite people over because we’re afraid they will be too busy, too broke or too far away to come. But even if the whole group can’t make it, chances are two or three will. Be pro-active. Be that person to suggest a reunion (everyone else will be grateful that someone finally did).
Plan a holiday
It helps to keep a university friendship going if you know when and where you’ll next see each other. If you can’t afford seven days in Croatia then do a budget weekend camping in Devon. Whatever it is, making these plans tells the other person you’re invested in them and see a future in your friendship.
So, even though university friendships get harder after graduation, they aren’t impossible. In fact you may find you need your mates more than ever, as you print out an unhealthy number of CVs and wait for emails.
At the end of the day, you’re the same people. Your friendship withstood exam season, cold and crumbling student houses, and that crazy housemate who filled the dishwasher with fairy liquid. No job placement or internship can get in the way of what you have. Can I have a ‘heck yeah’?