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Highly educated individuals constitute great assets for regional development and economic growth. Nevertheless, young university graduates are relatively geographically mobile and less likely to stay in peripheral regions. Based on semi‐structured, life‐calendar interviews, this study explored the immobility decisions of graduates who have stayed in a peripheral urban area in the Netherlands where they completed their university education. The study specifically focused on the roles of family and friends in the staying processes of these young adults. The results indicate that the decision to stay was frequently and consciously re‐evaluated by some, whereas for others, it resulted from a ‘lack of triggers’ for moving elsewhere. Notably, the interviews revealed that family and friends act as more than motives for staying or deterrents to migration. On various occasions, family and friends had played crucial roles as advisors, influencers, triggers, exemplars and facilitators in the staying processes of highly educated young adults.