5 Steps for Maintaining Friendships After College

Emma Gase | Medium Talk Co-Creator

1. Instigate the Drunk Visit

Pick your friend who lives in the most interesting/warm location. Drop, at the VERY least, $500 on travel. When you and your buddy are reunited, the first order on the agenda is to get as drunk as humanly possible together. This means The Works: Happy Hour, followed by overpriced cocktails and dinner at an overpriced, Yelped-to-death restaurant that your friend selected to reflect that they are hip to their city. When the bill arrives, you must pretend not to be horrified that getting two $15 cocktails each seemed like a good idea merely 40 minutes prior. Was your gin fizz with caramelized ginger root really worth your grocery money for the week? You no longer have the liberty to wonder.

The rest of your visit should consist of recovering from your ferocious hangovers by eating an exorbitant amount of exorbitantly priced brunch (when did mimosas become $13?). Maybe you then take a nap on your friends’ couch while you two attempt to watch a Netflix documentary. Eventually, you shower and get ready for another night on the town. See prior paragraph.

Alternately, you can serve as the host in the aforementioned visiting situation. Your responsibility in this role is to make reservations at your city’s hippest restaurants (which you don’t regularly go to), purchase a handle of mid-shelf booze to prove you’ve outgrown Admiral Nelson, and to arrange a lineup of bars (which you don’t regularly go to) at which you and your pal can get suitably sloshed while still “experiencing your city like a local.”

It’s not until you’re taxiing on your plane home—which has been delayed 2.5 hours for “maintenance issues”—that you notice the two main takeaways from your visit: your checking account has fallen below $25, and you didn’t have a single one-on-one sober conversation with the friend you just visited. Was this trip worth one-fifth of your PTO for the rest of the year? Don’t think about it. You’re too hungover.

 

2. Pick Your City Right

Is there a city that attracts 45-50% of the post-grads from your alma mater? Move there. You will be able to recreate and never let go of your college experience. Game Days will move from dirty frat houses to dirty pubs, nights out will be different only by the uptick in bar options and the addition of Uber. Now, you will awkwardly run into the same people at Trader Joe’s on a Sunday afternoon that you ran into at the liquor store on Friday nights in school.

You will be able to hang out with the same 11-17 people you knew not only in college, but probably high school as well. You can even share an apartment with the exact same people you shared an apartment with in college. This way, you don’t have to mingle with others who don’t know exactly what it was like to grow up in your circumstances.

You can probably even narrow it down further. Chances are, there is one neighborhood in particular where everyone you knew in college has chosen to live.  Other kids who went to colleges very similar to yours, and grew up in similar suburbs as you, probably live there too. Soon, your college and high school friends may even begin to merge into one, giant conglomerate friend group who can go to the beach on the 4th of July together, or possibly form an intramural coed softball team.

 

3. Hang Out at Home for the Holidays

It’s easy to maintain friendships by going home for the holidays. You then have the opportunity to get wasted with a group of people you haven’t had a real conversation with for 6+ years. In this scenario, you may find yourself in a bar (or possibly a basement), with up to a dozen people, one or two of whom you are vaguely interested in maintaining a relationship with. You can reconnect with these old pals by talking about that time you smoked weed at the elementary school playground back in 2006.

 

4. Make Appointments

There will always be a choice few from your inner friendship circle who are worth keeping in touch with—at your leisure, of course. Pick a night to Skype or FaceTime with your most-missed comrades. Spend 90 minutes staring at their pixelated image on your electronic device while really only checking yourself out the whole time (have you always had a double chin?).  It’s easy to pretend that you’re actually hanging out with someone you like and know well. This can be mentally restorative, fun, and a good way to maintain a connection with a friend who doesn’t live near you.  But you must also anticipate the inevitable crash. When you hang up the phone or computer, that person is no longer in the room with you. You’re alone.

 

5. The Sunday Scaries

Your legion of textable compatriots is now reduced to a list of rarely-dialed names on your phone’s ‘Favorites.’ You can’t remember the last time you placed an actual phone call to anyone but your mom, or your brother that time you forgot the family HBOGo login, but you make the big decision: THIS is the Sunday you’re going to call a friend with whom you’ve been meaning to catch up. That is, if you remember. Or if you have enough time before John Oliver. Or if you’re awake. Is it already 11?

 

The Last Resort: BALEETED

If the aforementioned steps, scenarios, or strategies aren’t feasible or producing results, that former friend is now just a contact in your smart phone. Don’t let their information take up any more data on your phone. It’s only a 16G.