How to Welcome Your Returning Friend
This summer many of us (myself included) will have or have already had friends returning from semesters abroad. Many places such as Australia and Germany have programs that extend well into what we might consider summer and others of us might have friends who, while recently returned, have had trouble understanding what works in Paris is more out of place in working-class Boston. With the inspiration of my fantastic friend Claire I’ll rattle off a few ideas for how to help a friend acclimate back home is a good thing to do as a person and also so they’ll shut up about the trip. It’s a win-win, really.
1: Throw a Party
Your friend is going to be sad about returning from wherever they were. Even if they’re excited to see you, they’re saying goodbye to a bunch of friends and places they just had, perhaps never to return again. It’s a complicated situation for them, and even if it’s clear to you (yay Seth is back!) it’s complicated or sad for them (Seth and the Mona Lisa can’t make out again in Paris as they did every morning.)
So what do you do in situations where things are emotionally complex? Party.
A party’s a good idea for a few reasons. It will blind-side all the emotions and sadness that could creep up on them if left alone, it lets them feel welcomed back and gives them an opportunity to re-connect with old friends rapid-fire and it’s an excuse to party. What more could you ask for?
2: Tell Them you Read their Blog
No, you didn’t read their travel blog- no one in the world does, as they are always terrible. But if you say you did your friend might not feel the need to repeat every freaking thing that occurred in Spain in the last four months. This will help them to not dwell on it as much and it will help you to preserve your sanity.
3: Be Active With Them
If you’re in a city or by a city at your college explore it with your returned friend. Show them America isn’t so bad after all by showing them all the non-campus highlights. As a rule of thumb you never explore off-campus or city options as much as you should, so by broadening your area you can help limit the claustrophobic experience of returning to a small campus after having all of Europe as a playground.
4: Remind Them of Old Comforts
No matter how great your friend’s trip, there are some things they couldn’t get in abroad. Remind them of all the things that they missed- their favorite thing at your local “open till 3″ food-place, their off-and-on booty call they forgot about, the terrible but oh-so-cheap local bars or local vodka of choice and most importantly, all the familiar faces they’ve come to love, even the people they barely hung out with. And the best way to remind them of all this? Number 1: throw a party. That, as usual, is my advice to you overall.
Image courtesy of Flickr user Lars Plougmann.