A couple of nights ago it really hit me that I'll be going to college soon, which is exciting but also bittersweet. I've lived in the same home for 18 years and have truly grown up with many of my friends. Going to college means leaving everyone and everything that I've come to love.
As I lay in bed awake and admittedly crying, I texted one of my best friends (that's going to the same university as me) and asked him, "How do you say goodbye to your best friend [that's not attending the same college as you]?" In those moments waiting for his response, I truly could not fathom how I'd make peace with leaving my other two best friends. What he said gave me some comfort, and got me thinking.
Wanna know how to say goodbye to your best friend? You don't. Goodbye is final. You say, 'See ya later.' This isn't the end.
Mitchell is right. Things are changing but not everything has to. Going away doesn't have to mean reinventing yourself or your friend group, it just means adjusting, so even though parting is sad, it truly isn't the end. To ensure that you don't trick yourself or your best friend into believing otherwise, here are some creative ideas to make leaving more bearable.
1. Paint a canvas that features your friend's favorite quote or song lyric.
(You can make matching ones, one for you and one for him/her). Making something from scratch is really fun and also shows how much you care about you best friend. Little canvases are easy to take to college and display in dorms. Every time your friend looks it they'll think of you.
2. Write a letter for every week you're going to be apart and give it to them before you go.
This one is difficult to do in a short period of time (that's why when I decided to do this a year ago I started immediately) but it's a sure way to show your love. You can include bits of wisdom, funny stories and jokes and even pictures of you and your best friend. Instruct your friend to open one letter a week on whatever day they want. They're great to open when you're feeling down.
3. Buy your friend cute stationary and stamps to entice them to write to you at college.
Texting and Facetiming are great ways to stay in touch but receiving a letter feels extra special and thoughtful. Not everyone thinks of bringing the supplies needed to write and send a letter so sometimes help is needed. There are lots of really artful and funny out there so you'll definitely be able to find a design your friend will appreciate. (Additional tip: this works best if you return the favor and write back.)
4. Make a mini-bucket list for the time you have left together.
Whether you have two weeks or two months left with your best friend, there is plenty of time to do fun things together. Activities can range from making one last late-night cookout run to a camping trip or trying recipes you found on Pinterest. Remember to take pictures to document the great times you have.
5. Make plans far ahead of time for the next time you'll see each other.
Waiting is more bearable when you have something to look forward to. Before you and your best friend part, pick a day in the future when you know you'll be able to see each other. Decide on something you both really want to do, like go to a cool museum or something as simple as have a sleepover, and mark it on both of your calendars.
6. If they're also going to college, get a hat or t-shirt from their university and vice versa.
Wearing gear that reps your best friend's school shows true loyalty, especially if you're going to rival universities (like UNC and NC State).
This new beginning doesn't have to be the end of your friendship. Do all of these things and more, sit down with your best friend and come up with your own creative ways to come to terms with leaving each other, but don't you dare utter "goodbye". Remember that friendships, as well as all other relationships, take effort to make them work, but it is definitely possible to stay best friends despite being apart.
Lead Image Credit: Alexis Brown via Unsplash