Dig Deep: Maintaining Friendships

By Leslie Veliz


Welcome back to the second week of Dig Deep! Today we will be focusing on the ups and downs of friendships. College is a unique place where you have to balance school, work, romantic relationships, and friendships while also trying to adult. 

This can be a tough time in a college students life, but Dig Deep is here to help! Remember to submit your questions every Friday to Dig Deep to be answered the following Wednesday. 

Tips on knowing when you’re in a toxic friendship and how to separate from those friends? 

Do you have a friend who always seems to tear you down instead of helping you get back up? Or a friend who thinks they’re better than you? Do you feel physically and emotionally drained after hanging out with them? If so, you might have a toxic friend.

Toxic friends are unapologetically envious about your other relationships and make it obvious. They’re simply mean to you in a way that makes it feel like it’s always your fault. Toxic friends tend to hold on to people they know are good-natured and sympathetic. It is best to end toxic friendships; you’ll feel like a weight has been lifted off your shoulders and will have more space for friendships that uplift you instead of bringing you down.

Here’s how you can end it: 

  • Fade them out: Stop making plans with them and delay replying to messages. Overall, make less time for them and don’t accommodate to their schedule. They will hopefully get the hint that you are no longer interested in spending time or talking to them and that the friendship has run its course. 

  • Break up with them: If you find that they are not taking the hint by fading them out, formally breaking up with them might be a better route. Sit your friend down and explain to them why the friendship isn’t working and how you specifically feel. This might be tough but in the end, it’ll be best for both people involved. 

  • Ghost them: In some cases, a friend will be aggressive and their behavior will be unjustifiable. At this point, you owe them nothing. Delete them off everything or block them. Make sure to be surrounded by friends or people you love who can help you get through this. Your true friends will support your decision and understand why you are making it.  

Getting rid of a toxic friendship will feel freeing and transformative, but remember, your safety always comes first. If you feel threatened or are in a dangerous situation, do not hesitate to reach out for help. 

How to keep friendships alive when you go to different colleges across the country?

My best friend moved from LA to Washington D.C. for college. At first, it can feel disheartening to know they will not be physically near you anymore, but that doesn’t mean your friendship can’t still flourish. It takes more effort but is completely possible.

It’s all about communication. Send each other messages and try to have small conversations throughout the week. You might not be able to constantly text, but a quick check-in can let the other person know that you still care about them and that you are here for them no matter the distance. 

Sending each other memes or funny videos can also convey that message. You can also schedule time to FaceTime or call your friend. This can be difficult due to different time zones but can definitely be done. We are lucky that we live in an age where all of our communicating can be done in the palm of our hand; take advantage of it. If you keep up constant communication with them, it’ll feel like they never left when they come home to visit. 

How to give advice to a friend without being too harsh?

A true friend should always be honest. This isn’t to say you should be harsh or over critical, but you should always convey any advice in a constructive and supportive manner. Weigh the pros and cons for them and explain your input. Make sure your friend knows you are being empathetic and that you only want the best for them. Sometimes things don’t come out the way we want them to and that's okay. We are all human. Apologize if needed; it’s best to own up to things before they become an even bigger issue. 

How do you have your friends understand that you have to balance school, work, and a social life? 

In a perfect world, we would all have enough time to go to school, work, and hang out with our friends. Unfortunately, that’s not quite possible. We have to give certain things priority, and for many of us, that means our education and work. A true friend will understand this, and you will understand their priorities as well. Let them know that you still care about them and wish you could hang out with them, but you can’t always do that. Try to keep some kind of weekly communication—a text, memes, etc.—so they know they can still reach out to you. They will hopefully understand and be happy you are doing things that are making you and your life better.