There is nothing new about long distance friendships. They've been happening for quite literally centuries with folks keeping up by letter until that grand ol' invention of the telephone. Since then we've moved on to e-mail, webcams and nowadays, Facetime and of course, social media. Thank goodness for internet!
I've been very lucky to gain some beautiful friends over the years and it really took me a little bit to realize how difficult it can be to keep up with those wonderful friendships even with all the modern technology at hand. I'm not perfect but I have found some ways that have helped me keep those friends close even miles apart!
10 Tips for
Maintaining Long Distance Friendships
1. Make the call/text/email - If someone is on your heart, make the connection. Don't wait for a spare moment, just do it when you think about it. Even if you miss them, leave a message and get back with them when they call again. I reached out to my little sis from my sorority to say I think of her every time I use a blanket she gave me. One quick text and we were able to reconnect years after we graduated! I'm so glad I just sent the text and honestly, every time I reach out, I'm glad. Those people are on your mind and in your heart for a reason and you may never know how much that note can mean. Heck, that works for family all the time! Don't worry so much about the time that's past, just connect.
2. Schedule your calls - Yup, I schedule my phone dates with friends. We're all busy and sometimes it's not the most convenient time to talk right that second, but offer up times to visit and schedule the date. Then make sure you put it in the calendar! If you're worried you'll forget, set an alarm and if you're concerned your friend my forget, just a send a sweet text to remind them, "hey! Are we still on for tomorrow?"
3. Set a time limit (if you need it!) - When we schedule dinner dates with our girlfriends or plan a for day out together, it could take a couple hours and it's always delightful! Somehow changing the amount of distance between two folks and a couple hours on the phone can be difficult. There's not shame in keeping it short. When you call a pal, check the time, note how much time you've got and try to stick to what you need. If it's a short call, let them know you have a few minutes but you wanted to drop them a line. My sister is really good about calling any time she has the car to herself. When she's driving from client to client, she'll give me a call just to talk for a minute before the next meeting. It's not an in-depth convo, but it's a moment we get to share a quick "hello" and "I love you!"
4. Be understanding if plans fall through - Like I said, life happens and sometimes things get busy. Don't get your knees in a knot if someone has to cancel. Trust that your friendship will be able to weather a cancelation and reschedule. Sometimes you have to give each other grace and a call comes maybe a month later than originally planned. It's okay!
5. Text - I think this one is pretty obvious but in case you forgot, text messages can be a great easy way to keep in touch! Send a joke, a gif, some picture that reminds you of something or just a steady stream of a conversation throughout the day.
6. Make that gal pal group text - One of my favorite group texts I have on my messages is with a great group of gals from work. Three out of six of us are in other states, two of us still work together and one is just minutes away in the city at a different job. Even far from each other, we seem to be able to share the funny moments in life, celebrate the high notes, lift each other when we need the support and just reach out for that friendly connection. We don't text all the time but we text and connect nonetheless!
7. Get comfy - I have one friend I always Facetime. I'm not sure how we got started on Facetiming only but I can't image calling her any other way! When I see her on the screen, it's like she's right next to me and that is the best when you're long distance! We schedule our Facetime dates pretty far out and I make it a point to treat those calls like a friend date with favorite drink in hand, a comfy chair to sit in and total focus on my friend.
8. Don't be afraid to be honest - With my college roomie--yes, we're still best friends!--we call each other probably about every six to twelve weeks and when we talk, it's usually for a good amount of time! There's so much to catch up on but we're both pretty good about saying, "hey, I'm throwing in some laundry while we talk" or "ooh, don't mind the sweeping, I've got company coming later tonight!" I appreciate that ability for us to take care of little things while we visit. The hardest thing is making time to talk and catch up and if you and your friend are close enough, let them know you're listening while you stir sauce or wipe down counters. If it's a big task, it can wait, but if it's something mindless and it needs to get done, fold that laundry, lady!
9. Book the trip - OK, travel can be expensive. I still don't know how all these college grads are traipsing around Europe after school or how people are able to live like nomads, but somehow they're able to purchase some plane tickets. Surely you can find a way to get to see your friends, too! I just booked a flight to Denver to see a dear friend and I'm hoping I can add Florida on the 2019 list for my college roomie although, she's coming to town this week! Someday I'm going to make it the Nashville for an MFA buddy and I always love staying with friends in NYC. Maryland, I've got to come soon soon because I miss the heck out of not one, but TWO friends up there! I try really, really hard to make visits happen with friends when I'm back in Dallas and I'm usually successful. There are so many more places to add and many wonderful people to see.
10. The point is make it happen. There's nothing like spending time with those people who mean so much. Family is a wonderful gift as is the family that you choose in friendships. If you have ten minutes to scroll, you have ten minutes to call. If you have a second to send a text, just do it. The only way to keep friendships up long distance is to make them a priority as you do all the other things in your life. That doesn't mean all day every day communication, but it means making time for those people even if it's five minutes to send them good thoughts or share a funny memory. Just do it.
Where are some of your besties and how do you keep up with them?