Balancing work, sleep and a social life is the classic college life struggle. It can be hard to stay on top of friendships when finals roll in or when schedules don’t match up. Friendships fade, restart, develop and always require some work, but there are ways to stay in touch.
First, answer texts and phone calls. It’s basic but goes a long way to show respect and care for the other person. Picking up the phone late in the night is not something anyone should have to do every night but helping a friend in need despite the time is a tried and true way to express that they can rely on you. That being said, know your friend. Sometimes a call can be left until you’ve got more time. Make sure to check in every once and while, though, especially if your schedules aren’t matching up. Asking how their semester or week is going lets friends know they’re still being thought about.
Another option is sending friends things that remind you of them, like a cute photos or funny posts. The action will make it clear to your friend that you’re paying attention to their mood and what they like which will go a long way to making them feel special.
Additionally, spending time outside of the dorm room opens the door to more interactions. Studying in the common room or at Kelvin Smith Library gives people a chance to run into you and is a much more inviting situation than a closed door. Also, if you’re super busy during finals, studying in KSL is a win-win. Asking a friend along for a study date even if you’re not studying the same thing can be a great way to hang out.
Also, going to your friends’ events can be a huge confidence boost for that friend. Showing up to their dance rehearsal, going to their concert or showing up to a club event they planned sends a clear message that you care about what they do. Inviting them along to events in the last weeks, namely Springfest, may be a good way to do things together and distress. Many people forget to reach out beyond the group that’s automatically going. Asking them along demonstrates that you enjoy hanging out with them.
In this nature, effective ways to reaffirm a friendship is by trying out something your friend is passionate about. Playing that new video game together, checking out karaoke with them on Thursdays or watching their favorite show and talking about it together will mean a lot to them and is a great conversation starter if it’s been awhile.
Furthermore, being a good listener is key to helping any friendship survive. When someone tells you about anything make sure you keep harsh evaluation out of it. Ask questions and respond with how you think they feel. “Oh, that sounds great!”, “How did that work out?”, “Seems like you had fun!”, “What happened next?”, “That sounds rough,” or “I’m sorry you’re going through that,” are all great ways to respond that don’t shut your friend down.
Conflict, however, is bound to arise. When they say something that could be bothersome or do something that’s irritating, it is best to talk with them about it. Expressing how something made you feel demonstrates respect and trust in your friendship and usually allows conflicts to end early rather than boiling over into something bigger.
In the end, make time for your friends. Life is stressful but they’re the ones who will still be there after exams, after a breakup or after your crazy semester. Little things go far in showing your friends you appreciate them and will establish a solid relationship that you can call on when you need help or support.