As a veteran of a long-distance relationship (that successfully led to marriage), I’m no stranger to the challenges of maintaining friendship over time and space. The reality many of us face after graduating college is that we lose touch with the people we loved and cherished for a season.
Changes in space = changes in friendship
There are many causes for this, not least the fact that we no longer live together. It is less likely that we share experiences once we enter the work force or continue our education. As experiences begin to vary, common ground can feel like it’s shrinking– which in turn makes it even more difficult to reconnect.
I’ve recently reconnected with a few friends from college and have been reflecting on the state of our friendships. It’s a challenge when distance forces us to miss entire chapters in each other’s lives– when in the past we’ve never missed a beat. Still, if maintaining past friendships is a manner of reconnecting with our whole selves, then there are steps we can take to keep those friendships alive.
Post-college friendships are different too.
Furthermore, my approach to new friendships is shaping up to be different as well. Getting less “face time” with my new friends than I did with my college friends means that it takes longer to get to know someone. I can’t assume that they thoroughly understand the context of my work or the circumstances I face. I no longer belong to the same institutions as my new friends, even if we have an overlapping community.
Ultimately, maintaining old friendships and making new ones both require more intentionality once college is over. Over the past year, here’s what I’ve learned!