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  • If you’re new to college, it’s completely normal to miss your childhood friends.
  • From video chatting to sending care packages, there are lots of ways to stay connected with friends from home.
  • What matters most is carving out time for each other.

If you’ve moved away to college, you might really be missing your friends from home. Some may be off at different schools or still living back home. Keeping long-distance friendships alive may take some work, especially if you’re dealing with different time zones, but it’s more than possible to stay connected with your core friend group. Here are seven simple tips for how to keep in touch with friends from home.

1. Video chat on the regular

Scheduling conflicts can make impromptu calls tricky, but putting a recurring video chat on the calendar is an easy way to stay connected. Pick a day that works for everyone and get it on the books. College life gets busy, and these standing dates can help strengthen the connection. Take your virtual catch-ups from your favorite coffee shop, lounging on the couch, or sitting outside on campus. What matters most is making time for each other. You can do this in groups or one-on-one.

2. Keep the group chat going strong

Group chats create the opportunity to share one-off comments, questions, ideas, and funny stuff to make each other laugh. It’s the perfect place for memes, inside jokes, photos, and videos you want to keep private in your group. Texting allows for on-the-fly messages that don’t require any advanced planning. Think of it as an ongoing conversation. You can also go deep with a group chat—it can be a great way to get advice and support from your childhood best friends.

3. Plan a watch party

A little distance doesn’t mean you can’t hang out and watch something together. Platforms like Teleparty use a browser extension to sync your streaming sites with your friends’ for free. This allows you all to watch movies and TV shows at the same time. There’s even a group chat feature so you can message each other in real time. For large televised events, like the Super Bowl or Oscars, you could video chat and enjoy it live together.

4. Do remote activities together

Another way to stay connected with friends from home is to get together for virtual activities. That might look like:

  • Sharing a recipe, then cooking and eating together online
  • Doing the same creative project together, like painting or crafting
  • Going for a walk while video chatting
  • Signing up for the same virtual workout or gym class
  • Starting a book club
  • Playing online games together

5. Send care packages

This is an old-school way to keep in touch with your favorite pals. Consider a secret gift exchange where everyone draws a name, then puts together a special care package for that friend. You could also take it upon yourself to send thoughtful cards or little goodies to your friends from home to show you’re thinking of them. Don’t worry about breaking the bank—it’s the thought that counts. Here are a few ideas of what to include:

  • Their favorite snacks
  • An inexpensive gift card to a store they love
  • A small souvenir from your school or new town
  • A photo album
  • A handwritten postcard or pen-pal-style letter

6. Use social media

Chances are you’re already connected with your childhood friends on social media, so use it to your advantage. A recent study implies that it could reduce the feeling of distance, especially if you’re using tools like stories, which can create a sense of real-time contact. The BeReal app falls into this category because it encourages you to share a snapshot of your current surroundings at a given moment—not an image that’s been curated for social media. With that said, you can also use social media to share things privately or tag your friends in public posts.

7. Make plans to get together in real life

Prioritize seeing each other in person when possible. Maybe that means taking turns visiting each other or planning a getaway somewhere. If these kinds of trips feel too pricey, you can simply get together when you’re all home during school breaks. Plan ahead and keep the lines of communication open so you can work out the logistics.

The most important thing is carving out time to stay connected with friends from home. How you do that is up to you and your friends but you’ll probably need to put a little effort into your relationships to keep them alive. Maybe that means keeping reminders in your phone with big things going on in each of your friend’s lives. From breakups to the fun stuff, it’s possible to be there for them from afar.

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