Do you ever feel like you're drifting away from friends who now live in a different city or state?
After you graduate from college or move away for a job, it's not quite as easy to stay in touch with your friends.
But even if you live in the same city and live two totally different lives, friendship drift can still occur.
While you'll have to work hard to rekindle old friendships that have been lost, you can do your future self a favor and prevent friendship drift with current friends by finding ways to stay in touch, no matter the circumstances.
Feel free to get creative, but the following tips seem to be pretty effective:
1. Create a group chat.
OK, let's be honest: There's nothing better than a group chat.
While it can be a little frustrating to constantly have your phone buzzing while you're trying to get stuff done, it's fun knowing you're able to stay connected with your friends who are now located all over the country.
It doesn't replace face-to-face interactions, but it's a great substitute when you can't all be together.
Group chats are awesome because they tend to mirror your real-world friendships.
In those little green and blue bubbles, you can still see the quirky and funny things that make each person unique.
With a group chat, the only thing you have to be careful about is getting so immersed in this virtual world of emojis and acronyms that you forget to look up and make new friends where you are.
But hey, this is an article about staying in touch with old friends, not a primer for making new ones.
2. Set standing dates for phone calls.
While it's great to have a group phone chat or phone call, sometimes you just need a little one-on-one with your best friend.
So, don't assume that a Google Hangout session with all of your friends is adequate for maintaining a friendship.
It's a good idea to check in on your friends in a more private and confidential setting to give each other a chance to be open and honest.
3. Send holiday and birthday greetings.
When you're separated from friends, it's often difficult to properly celebrate holidays and birthdays.
You can't quite throw a party, you may not have enough money in your dwindling bank account to mail a nice gift across the country and a cheesy text or quick phone call can seem contrived.
The solution to this dilemma is to send holiday and birthday greetings. They're cheap, simple and easy to do over and over again.
Snail mail is always great, but do you really keep stamps and envelopes on hand?
Plus, those cheesy greeting cards at the drug store are cringe-worthy and over-priced.
So, why not do what you do in every other area of your life and go online?
Don't tell your parents, but digital greetings are the new black. You can pick from tons of unique templates, customize the text and even throw in a picture of your smiling face.
It's quick, easy and lets you show friends that you're thinking of them.
4. Reminisce on memories.
When you're separated from a friend in different cities, you obviously don't get the opportunity to hang out very often.
And since you're both living your own separate lives with other people, it's easy to drift away on account of not having anything to bond over.
One of the best things you can do is reminisce on old memories and experiences.
Scroll through your Facebook or Instagram feed and pick out old memories to laugh about.
This will help you feel connected and will remind you both of why you became friends in the first place.
5. Plan an annual trip together.
Group chats, phone calls and holiday greetings are all wonderful.
But in order to prevent friendship drift and stay connected, you have to get in a little face-to-face time together.
And while it may not be practical to see each other every weekend, planning an annual trip or weekend getaway together can be a fantastic way to stay close and create new memories.
When planning a trip, make sure you take everyone's budget into account and choose a location that's fairly central to everyone.
It's also a good idea to give everyone a planning responsibility. If everyone has some input, there's less of a chance that people will feel left out or end up doing things they aren't interested in.
6. Make your friendships a priority.
Friendship drift is natural and in some ways healthy.
You'll make dozens, if not hundreds, of friends in your life and the drifting away is a natural process that allows you to move on and spend time with people who are right for you in whatever stage of life you find yourself in.
Most would agree it's better to drift than have a huge fight or breakup. However, that doesn't mean drifting away from someone you care about is easy.
If you want to minimize the amount of friendship drift you experience in your life, the only thing to do is make sure you're prioritizing all of your relationships.
Be conscious of how you deal with major life changes and try to stay in touch in meaningful ways.
You can't save every friendship, but you can do your best to stay close with those you love.