By Sarah Wright
Staying in touch with friends from high school can be a challenge once you get to college. Inevitably, some of those friendships will fall by the wayside. But you probably have a small circle of friends that you'd like to stay in touch with no matter how much you all change. Getting in the habit of preserving old friendships in the face of big life changes is a skill that will serve you well after graduating from college as well. E-mail is fine, but it's kind of boring. These other methods of staying in touch will help keep you tied to your old friends no matter where you are.
In some circles, Facebook and other social media get a bad rap for being narcissistic and unnecessary. Sure, that can be true, but it all depends on how you use it. Facebook is a fantastic way of having a line of connection to another person that can keep them within your reach no matter how far away you live. It's a great way to re-connect with people after a long period of time, too. If you don't have a Facebook already, just go ahead and sign up. It's pretty low-commitment, and all you really have to do is provide a minimal amount of personal information so people can identify you and stay in touch if they want.
Phone calls are a great way to stay close with friends who are far away. Even if talking on the phone isn't ordinarily your style, you might want to make an exception to keep friendships going. Other forms of communication have replaced phone calls for the most part, but making the gesture of a phone call for special events like birthdays or big life changes is a good way of showing that you're there for your friend, even if you don't live in the same place.
Letters and Other Mail
Like phone calls, items sent through postal mail have a special significance because you have to take time and put special effort into this form of communication. You don't have to write a novel to your friends - even just a post card or a fun little trinket that made you think of them will be a welcome surprise. Most mail is junk or bills anyway these days, so getting a special note or package from a friend is likely to brighten your friend's day. E-mail is so routine and is easy to ignore or forget about. Analog mail stands apart, and is a great way to show you care.
Chatting through Google Chat or Skype is a great way to stay in touch on a more casual, day-to-day basis. Both chat services also have video chat features, so you and your friends can get a glimpse into each other's lives. It can also be a more relaxed, low-pressure setting than a phone call. Though you aren't face-to-face like you used to be, you can skill hang out almost as if you were in the same room. It's a great way to restore a sense of normalcy to a friendship that may have been shaken up by going to schools that are far away from each other.
Staying in touch with friends may not be such a high priority in high school, where Facebook might be blocked by school administrators.