Life after college can be a whirlwind. In the midst of finding a job, working, building a career, finding yourself, marriage, children, etc., it can be easy to lose touch with friends and acquaintances. The impact of social media also makes it less likely to engage in more personal forms of communicating like calling or actually meeting in person. Although there are some relationships you naturally outgrow and some people you won’t always be as close too, how do you maintain those friendships–old and new–that you do want to hang onto?

Sure, during college it was easy to meet up on campus, catch lunch between classes, or hang out at each others apartments. But if you’ve moved back home or to another state since then, it can prove to be more daunting to keep up with your girls. Having a strong, supportive circle of friends can be very important and beneficial. However, keeping these relationships in tact takes work. Like most things in life, friendships must be nurtured and maintained to flourish and continue to grow. Here are some helpful tips and advice to maintain your circle as you journey through life after college:

Make A List, Check It Twice
Writing a list of your friends, family, and/or professional contacts you want to stay in touch with can be very helpful. Sometimes it’s easy to forget that you haven’t talked to or checked in with someone in a while. By having a list you can be proactive in maintaining relationships that are most in important to you. Also try making a to-do lists of how you plan to reach out in some form each month or over the next few months, whether it’s via phone, email, through social media or text. Don’t be afraid to pick up the phone and call time-to-time.

Remember the Small Things
How cool is it when someone you haven’t talked to in a long time remembers your birthday? Or emails forwards you a deal on your tickets to your favorite show because they know how much you love it? On the other hand, it can be disappointing when friends forget about these things. Make an effort to mark your close friend’s birthdays and events on a calendar, which you check consistently. Don’t rely on Facebook or cell phones to remind you of important dates such a birthdays, holiday get togethers, house warmings, parties, performances and so on. Write it down, mark it, and don’t forget! It’s important to make an effort to call or send a personal message on important dates as well, so for example, writing “HBD” on your friend’s wall does not suffice.

Put Your Address Book to Use
Ancient as it may seem, address books still exist and can be useful. It will require putting pen-to-pad, but it’s always good to have a hard copy of contact information for your loved ones and close friends. Not only should you have numbers and email addresses written down, but try to have up-to-date addresses as well. Although sending out e-cards or e-vites may be less time-consuming, there’s nothing like receiving a card or invitation in the mail. So for example, when your big day comes around you can add a personal touch by mailing out your invitations and announcements. It shows your friends that you put thought and consideration into inviting them to share this special moment in your life.

Know Your Relationships
As we live and grow, we learn that there are some friendships that may prove to be lifelong, and some that are short-lived. Within your group of friends you may realize that there are some friends you can confide in more than others. You may have friends you can discuss your dreams with, friends to discuss marriage and motherhood with, or friends you know you can call when you just need a good laugh or words of encouragement. Once you access your relationship, you can access how to nurture that relationship.

Go Ahead and Tell Them
Yeezy taught us that: “If you love somebody you should go ‘head tell em, people never get the flowers while they can still smell em”. This is true for all relationships. The reality is that someone can be here one day and gone the next. Never miss an opportunity to tell or show that your friends that you value you them, even when they drive you crazy. No need to be sappy or sentimental, a quick call or text just to check up, can go along way.

What are some ways you’ve maintained your circle of friends over the years? Do you find it difficult or pretty easy?

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