by Brianna Allison
This article was written by The Zillennial Zine’s fall editorial intern Brianna Allison. Find her on Instagram at @ballison7. If you would like to share an article with The Zillennial, send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Before moving away for college you say goodbye to your hometown friends. As you hug one another, you swear that this next stage in life will not change your relationship at all. You’ll still talk all the time and visit whenever you can… But as time goes on, you find your place and a new community of friends at school. Now your texts, calls, and visits with your hometown friends are less frequent. And before you know it the relationships that you thought would never change, slowly faded.
So now what? You graduated college, you’re back home and you’re missing those genuine connections that you once had with the people you grew up with. Do you reach out even though it’s been a while? Will it be awkward? Do they even want to see you? Let me answer that, yes, yes and yes. Reach out to them because reconnecting with your hometown friends is important and here’s why.
They are a reminder of how far you’ve come
Your hometown friends were the ones that knew you before you really figured out who you were. Whether they’ve been by your side since you were five or 15, they’ve watched you grow. These friends are the ones who fell to the floor laughing when you ripped your pants trying to do the Jerk in 6th grade, have the most embarrassing pictures of you when you got your wisdom teeth out in 10th grade and threw you a surprise 18th birthday party because they knew you always wanted one. They saw you were a mess but accepted who you were without judgment.
Your hometown friends are a reminder of where you came from, who you were, and how far you’ve come in life thus far. They listened to you talk about your dreams and what you wanted from life since you were young. So, they’ll be there to cheer you on from the sidelines each step of the way. Where each of you are now is a new beginning of your friendship. Reconnecting will allow you to continue to develop your relationship with each new milestone.
They are your community
You may have moved away from your hometown for college or your career, but that doesn’t mean you won’t ever be back. When you move back home after graduating or you come for a visit during the holidays, it may seem daunting. It can feel like everything has changed. You may be lonely, and you’ll be looking for that community of friends that you had in the past. Your hometown friends might be in the same boat and looking for that friendship again, too.
So reach out and get together. The memories that you created in the past will help you continue to build the future of your relationship. Catch up on all the big events that you want them to know about. Let them get to know you as the person you are now. Then, set up another time to hang out. Slowly, you’ll build your hometown community again. It may look a little different than it did when you were younger, but that’s okay.
They are on a different path, but that’s a good thing
Oftentimes, you may have grown apart from your hometown friends because you chose different colleges, different majors and/or different cities after graduating high school. It’s hard to maintain a relationship when you’re living different lives.
Your friends from college were likely in your major, from your sorority or fraternity or through some mutual connection. You tend to bond with people because of how similar you are or how your paths are the same. Now, although you will grow extremely close to your friends in college for these very reasons, it also is important to surround yourself with people who chose a different path than you did.
These hometown friends that chose different paths are also at different points in their lives. Some may be continuing their education or starting their first job. Others may have decided not to go to school, so they’ve been working for years. Some of your friends may have even gotten married and started families. However, these friends that are in varying stages of life are important to have. Revamping your relationship with them will allow you to experience new things, see the world from a new perspective and have unique conversations.
Friends that you met in college and the ones you meet afterward will never know the younger and messier side of you. That’s why your hometown friends are special. Now, this does not diminish your college and adult relationships at all. But your bond with them was built on something different than the friends you grew up with.
So, if you lost touch with your hometown friends don’t be intimidated to reconnect. Don’t tell yourself that it’s been too long. It may be awkward at first but try to build those relationships because the foundation of them never truly went away. I’m sure that they still sit and think of you and your friendship through the years. They might reminisce about the inside jokes you shared, the memories that you made and the hard times you helped them through. However, if you feel that your relationship is now toxic, stressful or changed too much to benefit one another, then it’s okay to move on, and let the relationship be what it was in the past. But you never know until you try.
Have you reconnected with your hometown friends? Leave a comment if you have any advice or stories! Thanks for reading!