Relationships (whether personal or professional) that you have built are a lot like plants. If not watered with timely communication, they will eventually die. To keep the bonds strong, it is important to stay in touch with the friends and acquaintances you worked so hard to make while studying in the U.S.
Luckily, It is not tough to keep in touch when you know just how to do it.
Here are six easy tips for staying in touch with your U.S. acquaintances after you graduate. (Plus, what not to do.)
Email and Messaging
Frequent exchanges of emails and messages are the simplest way to keep in touch with anyone.
You can also create WhatsApp groups to stay in touch with multiple people at once.
With close friends, you can chat daily. With professional acquaintances, occasional messages are fine. It could be on holidays, birthdays, or when you have something worthwhile to share.
Schedule Audio and Video Calls
Every once in a while, you can schedule audio and video calls with your acquaintances in the U.S.
How frequently? Well, that depends on the bond that you share with the other person. If you have close friends with whom you share everything, you can call them whenever you please. If you’ve become close to your hosts and foster family, you can call them every weekend. You can also reach out to them on special days or whenever scheduling permits.
However, it may not be appropriate to call your professors or work supervisors whenever you please. Though you can of course call them on special occasions or to share important news with them, it’s best to do so through professional channels, such as their office, unless they have provided you with their personal number and explicit permission to call them.
Use Social Media
With the use of social media platforms, you can stay in touch with a lot of your acquaintances at once. Posting photos and stories about your life and reacting and commenting on others’ posts is a great way to stay in contact.
If you are keen on sharing your life’s updates in detail, use blogging platforms. With a blog, you can share your experiences with a wide group of people, and even build a dedicated readership.
Sending Postcards or Gifts
Postcards are another way of sending greetings and well wishes to your acquaintances on holidays and special occasions. Make sure you have their correct addresses.
You can also send gifts with handwritten postcards. Don’t forget to write a note explaining the reasoning for the gift, or the significance that inspired you to send it. Sending family photographs with postcards can also be a great way to keep in touch.
As for the gifts, it doesn’t necessarily have to be anything extravagant. Even if you send a little something, it will go a long way in fostering your relationship with your acquaintances.
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Attending Reunions and Meetups
Nothing beats meeting your friends in person. Attending reunions is a great way to meet everyone at once and lean about their lives since you’ve parted ways.
You could also meet with your professors and other staff members when you visit your college town or university. Just be sure to call ahead to the appropriate office to make sure they will be there and have time to see you.
While you are there, catch up with your host family, internship colleagues, and bosses too.
You can also schedule meetups and trips with your close friends from college. It is a great way to relive the memories that you shared. You can make a lot of new memories along the way.
Find Things to Do Together (Virtually)
If meeting in person is not possible, there are other types of activities you can plan. It could be something simple like reading the same book or watching the same show or movie. Afterwards, you can catch up online or over the phone to discuss it.
You can also attend online events and concerts together. You can even start a business or cause-related initiative.
What Not to Do
Constantly Bugging Others
There is a fine line between staying in touch and being annoying. Constant messages or calls can feel like an intrusion to other people. Make sure you respect their privacy and choices.
Also, take note of the time zone differences (if any). You might be sending morning greetings, but if it’s the middle of the night for the other person, they are unlikely to appreciate your efforts. Calls at odd hours are rarely welcome (unless it’s an emergency and you absolutely have to contact them).
Being Overly Enthusiastic in Maintaining Contact
Keeping bonds alive requires effort by both parties. If the other person is not as enthusiastic about keeping in touch with you, don’t persist.
Not Listening and Oversharing
Communication should happen from both ends. In your enthusiasm to share news with your acquaintance, don’t forget to take time to listen to them as well. Eye contact during video calls and encouraging the speaker to ask questions are little things that shouldn’t be forgotten. Don’t impose your ideas or solutions. Be attentive.
The bonds that you have formed as an international student in the U.S. are special. And you can sustain them for life with careful and continuous efforts.
Just be mindful of others’ choices and respectful of their decisions, and you will see how staying in touch is not difficult at all.
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