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At Southern Utah University I got more than two college degrees and six years of memories. I found my closest friends, my soul mates. I found people that shared my interests, my intellect and my humor. We are there for each other for everything from celebrating professional achievements to heartbreaks to marriage and having kids. These people will be my friends for the rest of my life, but only if we put in the effort.

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When I was getting ready to leave college I was scared of losing all of my friends. I’ve never been good at keeping up with people at a distance because they were out of sight and out of mind. I have let so many people walk out of my life simply because neither of us put in the effort to stay in touch. When I graduated from college, my friends and I vowed to stay in contact and so far it is going well. These are my tips on how to stay in contact with your friends, even when you live on opposite sides of the country.

Pick up the phone – One of my favorite ways to stay in contact with my friends is through a phone call because it is much more personal than sending a text. Texting is great, don’t get me wrong, but hearing your friend’s voice on the phone is so much more satisfying. I typically call a different friend every day on my drive home from work.

friends-blog-2Send a card/letter/package in the mail – When I was a kid I loved getting mail, but that’s because I didn’t know about bills yet. Don’t let your friends’ mailboxes turn into bill-boxes. I have so many different types of cards and stationary that I could send my friends a different card each day of the month without sending the same card twice. It’s a cute and unexpected way to let your friends know you’re thinking of them.

Use social media – Do we have full conversations on Twitter? No, because we aren’t 14 anymore. But, if I see something that reminds me of someone, I’ll send it them. Some people argue social media is impersonal, but who are we kidding? If we were still living together we would just be sitting in the living room showing each other the funny things we found online.

Plan trips together – My friends and I haven’t done this yet (because we’ve only been apart for four months), but we want to go on a yearly vacation together. Our plan right now is to have each of us host a trip in our own city. So one year, my friends will visit me in Las Vegas and then we’ll go to North Carolina, etc.

Be spontaneous – Sometimes you just need to be surrounded by your friends. My best friends-blog-3friend is living in South Bend, Indiana while her husband is working on his PhD. at the University of Notre Dame. Friday of Labor Day weekend I was driving home from work and I thought to myself, “I really want to go visit them.” Twelve hours later I was at the airport and I couldn’t have been happier with my decision. The trip was short, but spending two days with my best friend, her husband and their baby was the perfect weekend getaway.

Staying friends with people that live in different time zone is difficult because the best friendships are the ones that seem effortless. Suddenly, you need to put in a lot of effort. These are people that I could sit in a room with and do nothing while being perfectly content. When you move away you realize that you miss things like making margaritas and watching Broadway musicals at 11 p.m. or going on night hikes to watch the moonrise. Being away from friends isn’t easy, but if you know how to stay in contact, it will be worth it.

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Submitted by – Emily Ronquillo