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How to stay connected with friends after high school

Uni life
Published 17 May, 2023  ·  6-minute read

Staying connected with friends after high school can be challenging. Life gets busy and sometimes you lose contact with people you once saw 5 times a week.

Your friends may wind up at a different university, study a different degree, move away, or choose a different path. Whatever the case, it can be hard to know how to keep in touch with friends without structured school days guiding you to see each other.

One key thing to remember is that friendships take effort sometimes, and that’s alright. If you’re willing to put in a little extra work to stay in touch with the people who mean the most to you, that’s a good start.

But it doesn’t have to be all matching schedules, figuring out time differences and travelling long distances. We’ve compiled a list of fun ways to keep in touch with friends after high school, plus a few tips for keeping your besties close.

Connecting via social media

If you’ve heard it once, you’ve heard it a million times – these days, we’re more connected than ever. Social media can unite people from halfway across the globe with a touch of a button, making it easier to chat with friends or just keep up to date on their lives from afar.

However, it can be easy to fall into that cycle of simply consuming information rather than interacting. Be sure to take the time to actually engage with your friends on these platforms. Here are a few simple tips for maintaining personal connections on social media:

  • comment on your friends’ posts, ask questions and respond rather than simply hitting the ‘like’ button
  • tag them in memories and celebrate milestones
  • share content (let’s be real – memes) that reminds you of your friends, or that you think they’ll enjoy or appreciate
  • slide into your friend’s DMs – don’t underestimate the positive impact of a quick, personal ‘how are you?’ and learn to embrace the chaos of the group chat
  • create close friends lists so you can be more candid with your posts and keep track of the content that matters most. ❤️

If you decide to study abroad or move to another city, staying connected with friends has never been more accessible. You’re only a comment or a message away from checking in.

Calling and texting

If social media isn’t for you, never fear – it isn’t a prerequisite for staying in touch. After all, before the smartphone, there was the humble landline.

The joys of having phones in our back pockets means we can just call up our friends or send a quick text to let them know we care. Whether it’s a phone call that lasts for hours or a speedy ‘thinking of you’ message, making an effort to reach out will help you to stay in touch with friends after high school.

If you really want to see your friends but you can’t get to them in person, you can always video call. Watch your favourite TV show together, play an old-fashioned board game, or just have a good chat. You may even like to make it a regular thing with your close friends, so you stay up to date with each other’s new and exciting lives.

UQ student walks over the Eleanor Schonell Bridge, looking at phone with earphones in.

Setting time aside

Some weeks, you may feel like you have little room to breathe, let alone check in with your mates from high school. You may realise that you need to make a conscious effort to set time aside to shoot them a quick message, even if it’s while you’re racing between classes.

If you don’t have time to reply to a long message, even a simple acknowledgement that you’re super busy but still thinking of them and planning on getting back to them soon can save a friendship from fizzling out.

To stay connected with friends after high school, you need to be honest with yourself – and honest with them. Avoid making false promises when you know you don’t have the time or rushing a conversation that needs more of your attention. Being genuine and communicating clearly is key.

Planning activities

Not all your friends will leave your city or town. It’s likely a few people might end up heading to the same location as you or near enough to catch up.

For your friends who still live nearby, why not try to meet up every now and again?

There are heaps of fun activities you can do with your friends that require minimal organisation (and money) but still give you a chance to catch up. Here are a couple of ideas:

  • have a picnic
  • host a board game night
  • see a movie
  • get a coffee
  • go for a walk
  • meet up for dinner.

If there’s something you and your high school friends used to do regularly after school or on weekends, like head to the local shopping centre or play a game of social footy, you could suggest that instead. Sometimes during all the change that happens in your first year of uni, going back to nostalgic moments with old friends can be grounding and comforting.

Going on a holiday

Planning a holiday or a trip with friends can be super exciting and give you all a break from study. Whether it’s an overseas adventure or a simple weekend away in your local area, the aim is to spend quality time together while having fun and reconnecting.

However big or small you go with your holiday, remember to think about finances. You don’t want to unintentionally exclude any of the friends you’ve invited because of the cost of your trip. Saving for a holiday can take a while, especially on a student budget, so it’s always good to plan ahead and give your friends plenty of notice.

Group of friends stand with arms around shoulders in front of a wall of green plants

Getting into social sports

Taking part in social sports is a great way to kill two birds with one stone for those who are pressed for time. You get to catch up with your mates and stay healthy simultaneously – it’s a win-win! Ask any of your friends who still live nearby if they’d like to create a team or join an existing one. It’s also a good opportunity to introduce your new uni friends to your old ones and spread the love even further. Who knows – new bonds may form, perhaps even new romances? 😉

UQ Sport provides a range of social sport programs you can join with friends or by yourself. You don’t need to be a UQ student to join – so feel free to sign up with a few of your old high school mates living in and around Brisbane.

Joining a book club

More interested in the reading than the running? A book club can seem like a big commitment, and may not be for everyone, but it can be a fun way to reconnect with old friends, even if you don’t read much.

Don’t forget that audiobooks exist for the time poor or those who simply prefer listening to reading (or if you’re sick of uni readings!). Hit play on an audiobook at the start of your commute into uni a few days a week and you’ll be surprised by how fast you whizz through it.

You may like to host a book club so you can control how often you meet and where (it’s an easy activity to do online with friends who live further away). Alternatively, you and your mates could join a local book club that aligns with your interests.

If you’re a little nervous about reconnecting with high school friends after a period of radio silence, a book club can provide an icebreaker and some common ground to bring you back to your school days.

If you’re wondering ‘how do you make friends at uni?’, book clubs can also be a great way to meet new people. The UQ Union’s Women’s Collective hosts a book club focused on feminist literature, and the UQ Book Club connects students and alumni with a love for the written word. There’s also a range of other social clubs and societies at UQ that will help you meet like-minded students and forge new friendships.

Final Thoughts

  • Sometimes life gets in the way of catching up, and that’s OK.
  • Some friends you’ll see less often than others, but don’t let distance stand in your way of checking in.
  • Some friends you’ll talk to less often than others, so make the times you do talk count.
  • What matters is that you make the effort, and they do too – book tickets, pick up a phone, and get connected!

Looking for more tips on surviving your first semester of university? Get advice from a UQ student who has been there and done that.

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