Ex Best Friend
How to Cope when an Older Friend Leaves for College While You Stay in High School
It can be tough or lonely after your friend has moved onto college. Saying goodbye is hard, but you can send your friend off in a meaningful way. Staying in touch with your friend will make sure your relationship lasts despite the distance. At the same time, however, you should try to make new friends so that your last years in school are memorable ones.
Make something for your friend as a parting gift.Think of something they can display in their new dorm room, or put together a photo album of your memories together. Attach a message saying that you wish them good luck at college or university.
- For example, if your friend likes lacrosse, give them a lacrosse stick, and write your message on the handle.
- Give your friend a t-shirt or poster with their new university’s logo on it.
- Frame a picture of you two together.
Make yourself a scrapbook.Find pictures, mementos, and images that remind you of your friend. These could include tickets from concerts you attended together, photographs of fun times, or even your favorite quotes. Paste these into an empty book or photo album so that you can always cherish the time you spent together.
Throw a going away party.A few weeks before your friend is going to leave, you should try to plan an event to send them off. Invite their other friends, and ask everyone to bring food. This will show your friend how much everyone loves them, and it will let them know that you want the best for them in the next stage of their life.
Talk to someone you trust.Saying goodbye can leave you with mixed emotions. It is good to talk your feelings out with another person. Perhaps you have another friend who will listen, or you can speak to your parents or school counselor. Talking about it will help you process your emotions.
- You can also talk to your best friend about it. Tell them how much you will miss them, but also inform them that you are happy and excited for them. For example, you can say, “I’m going to miss you so much. I’m really sad that you’re leaving, but I think you will love college. I can’t wait to hear about all of your adventures.”
Allow yourself to be sad.It’s fine to be sad when an important person in your life moves on to a different place. Acknowledge your feelings. You can write down your emotions in a journal to help you come to terms with your situation. Do not isolate yourself.If people ask how you are doing, be honest. Tell them, “I’m sad right now because my friend is leaving.” They may be able to offer you guidance and support.
- Be willing to acknowledge how you are feeling and to talk to people about your feelings. These are healthy ways to cope.
Comfort yourself.Even though you can be sad, you should also make sure that you are dealing with that sadness in a healthy way. Whenever you start feeling too upset, try relaxing yourself with healthy techniques. Some good ways to comfort yourself include:
- Visualize a happy place. Maybe you see yourself meeting up with your friend at the same university in a year or two.
- Listen to cheerful or calm music.
- Become more active. Dance, take a walk, or do some stretches.
Staying in Touch
Send them mail.Once they are settled into their new dorm or home, you should ask them for their mailing address. While you may keep in touch through email or texting, you can also send them cards in the mail to let them know you are thinking of them. When their birthday rolls around, mail them a card or a small gift. Receiving mail will put a smile on their face, and you just might get something in return!
Use text messaging.Your friend will be busy with college, and they may not have time for frequent phone calls. Instead, text them. You do not need a reason to send them a text. You could send them a funny picture, an article that made you think of them, or news about your life. Or you could just ask them how their life is. Texting is a convenient and easy way to keep in touch over a long distance.
- After their first week of college, send them a message asking “How’s college going?” This will give them an opportunity to tell you about their new experiences. You can also ask “What are classes like?” or “Have you made many new friends?”
- You can also use an instant messaging service such as Facebook Messenger, What’sApp, or Snapchat.
- Just keep in mind that your friend is at college to learn and receiving too many messages may be a distraction for them (and for you as well). Make sure to text in moderation.
Visit them when they are back in town.When they come home to visit, make plans with them in advance. They will probably be busy seeing all of their friends and family, so setting a date to hang out ahead of time will help you actually meet up. Try to choose an activity where you can both chat and hang out. For example, going out for dinner is better than seeing a movie together since you cannot talk during a movie.
Recognize that your friendship will change.While you can still remain friends with someone who has left for college, your friendship may change in certain ways. You may not see your friend as often as you did before, and you may not chat as much as you used to. Your friend will live far away from you, and they may become busy at university. This is not a bad thing. You will also become busier, especially as you make new friends and finish high school. Cherish the memories you have, and appreciate the exciting future in store for both you and your friend.
Making New Friends
Join a club.Clubs are a great way to meet new people with similar interests. Most schools have clubs or societies that meet in the afternoon. At the beginning of the year, visit a club fair, or ask the school office for a list of organizations. If you don’t see one that you like, you can make your own. Some fun clubs include:
- Art club
- Intramural sports
- Social Justice Club
- Robotics Club
- Model United Nations
- Debate Team
Talk to your classmates.While your best friend may have left, you probably know a few other people around school. You can use this time to improve your relationship with friends you don’t know as well. Start engaging your classmates in conversations.Invite them over to hang out. You can also ask them if they are interested in seeing a certain movie or if they want to work on an assignment together.
- A good way to do this is to take advantage of group projects at school. Invite your classmates to your house to work on your project, and hang out with them afterwards. You may find that you have common interests, and working together in a group will help you create a bond.
Start a new hobby.This is a great time to pick up some new skills or hobbies. Expanding your interests will help keep you engaged, and you’re sure to meet new people along the way.Some ideas for new hobbies include:
- Learn an instrument, and join your school’s band.
- Bake cookies, and bring them to class.
- Audition for a play
- Learn how to play ultimate Frisbee, and join a team.
Volunteer.Volunteering is a great way to gain real world experience while meeting new people who are passionate about the same things you are. The best thing about volunteering is that you are helping people while becoming more well-rounded and improving your college application.
Video: 8 Signs of a Toxic Friendship | Sharon Livingston | TEDxWilmingtonWomen
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