Here's What To Say To College Friends You Won't See After Graduation

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I've got a tricky habit of jumping from city to city and town to town. Growing up, my family and I had moved back and forth across the Atlantic five times before my ninth birthday, and I've called five different cities home over the last five years. Each time I've left a city, it's been marked with teary-eyed goodbyes — and I can personally attest to the fact that some of the trickiest farewells are to the college friends you won't see after graduation.

So, what's my secret to making those goodbyes a little easier to say? It's simple: You don't say goodbye at all.

Hug your hugs, cry your tears, and tell the people you love that you love them. That you'll miss seeing them every day, or sitting in your dorm's kitchen chugging rosé and learning the choreography to Beyoncé's "Countdown" video. But definitely don't treat them like they're vanishing into thin air and out of your life — because, take it from me, that doesn't have to be the case.

Instead, leave them with some parting words of affirmation (or gifts! Who doesn't love gifts?!), an open invitation to visit you in your new city, and a plan to see each other in the future. Here's a deeper look at three way better ways to say goodbye to your college BFFs than, well, actually saying goodbye.

Write 'thank you' notes.

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I give this advice in pretty much every situation. What can I say? Words of affirmation are my love language, y'all. I think writing notes to your closest college pals is such a lovely way to express your appreciation for their friendship. This not only allows you to sit down, reflect on what they mean to you, and strive to put all of that into words, it's also something they can read through whenever they're in need of a little comfort in their new city or town.

Personally, notes and letters are the only things I stockpile away like a pack rat: I've got boxes full of birthday, graduation, and miscellaneous thank you notes from friends, family, and even old flames. I like to save 'em for a reread on a rainy day.

Oh, and if written professions of love and friendship aren't really your style, write a silly little note instead (I've got plenty of those tucked away, too).

Give them a little memento.

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In addition to, or in lieu of, a note, give your BFFs a little memento to commemorate your friendship. Like a Girl Scout badge, but, for being a great friend!

Maybe it's a bag of beans from that coffee shop you guys lived at during finals week, or a little bracelet with the coordinates of your college town. Or, maybe it's not a "thing" at all!

I mean, I've (unsuccessfully) tried to talk all of my best friends into getting tattoos with me at one point or another, often around graduation time. None have agreed, but I say you give it a try.

Make a plan to reunite.

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Most importantly, make a plan to see each other again, as best you can! Plan a girls' trip one weekend in a brand new destination and/or make plans to visit your friends' new cities (and host them in yours). If traveling to a new spot is out of the realm of possibility, just plan a monthly FaceTime date to catch up and run through your lives. You can both drink wine and do face masks — it'll practically feel like you're in the same room!

At the end of the day, just remember the wise words of everyone's bear BFF, Winnie the Pooh. "How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard."

(Even though, you know, you're not really saying goodbye at all.)