Blogger | Teacher
Robert Southey once said, “No distance of place or lapse of time can lessen the friendship of those who are thoroughly persuaded of each other’s worth.” Long-distance friendships are hard – not being able to see your platonic soul mate for months or years at a time can be just as difficult as being away from a romantic partner or family member.
It can be even harder if you’re someone like me who needs verbal affirmation to be sure that someone still likes you and enjoys your company. Luckily, I’ve found people in my life who are more than willing to be there for me even from oceans away, and knowing that they’re always a phone call from me if I need to talk reminds me that those friendships are strong and unbreakable.
If you’re someone who is struggling to find ways to maintain your long-distance friendship, here are some tips and tricks for keeping that relationship energized, no matter the time or distance.
Make Time for One Another
The most important thing for maintaining a long-distance friendship is simply to make time for one another. Although, this can be easier said than done at times. There are weeks and months where life just seems to be too busy to keep anything together, and when that happens it can feel impossible to find the time to even answer a text message, let alone schedule a chat.
But no matter what, making time for your long-distance friendship is crucial for keeping it alive. Maybe this requires a scheduled, two-hour zoom call where you can simply talk and catch each other up on what’s going on. Maybe this is an impromptu one a.m. call because the news and drama are just too important to wait.
Whether it’s a weekly call or a once-a-month movie date, making time for your friends is a great way to show them you care and value your relationship. While I can’t talk to my friends a lot, I make sure to send them at least one or two messages daily to let them know I’m listening. Our continuous conversation rarely keeps a consistent topic and derails constantly but waking up every morning to their texts and photos really brightens my life.
Keep Each Other Up to Date
It can be easy to forget to keep each other informed about the little moments when you’re in a long-distance friendship. But while your day-to-day life might feel mundane to you, your friends living far away may not always know what’s going on with you. It’s important to keep them updated with even the smallest changes in your life so that they can feel that they’re a part of your universe.
That doesn’t necessarily mean you should tell them when you change toothpaste brands or when your gas bill is $10 more than it was last month. But if you pick up a new hobby or interest or find a cute little coffee shop you decide to become a regular at, or maybe buy a new pair of shoes that make you happy, make sure to tell your best friends all about these things.
While it may not seem like much to you that you started working out daily or are beginning to learn to bake, your long-distance friends may want to know more about what your life looks like when they’re not with you. For me, my best friends used to be a part of 80% of my daily activities. If they weren’t with me personally, they always knew what I was up to. Now that I live across the ocean, I try my best to keep them updated about the parts of my life that I feel are important so they can still connect with me on a daily basis.
Have a Hobby Together
One great way of maintaining and reinvigorating a long-distance friendship? Have a hobby together! One thing my friends and I enjoy doing is sharing a playlist so that we can listen to each other’s music and discuss songs that have touched us each personally.
Maybe you and your friends take the time you’re apart to start a book club and hold monthly discussions on different topics pertaining to what you’re reading. Maybe you and your bestie both get into cooking from different parts of the globe, sharing recipes that the other should try.
Are you and your best friend crafty people? Start crafting together and mail each other your creations and special gifts just because. Having a shared hobby is a great way not only to make time for one another but also to create deeper bonds with experiences you can have together.
Don’t Forget Your Words of Affirmation
Honestly, one of my favorite ways of maintaining my long-distance friendships is just remembering my words of affirmation. Whenever a feel a strong pull toward my friends or I talk about them with the new people I meet, I take a moment to send them a brief message just to say “Hey, I love you and I miss you and I hope you’re doing well.”
You don’t have to say it all the time – most true friends know your feelings even if you don’t tell them. But it can be nice at times to be reminded that someone is thinking about you. And, more than likely, if you’re missing your friends, then they are missing you, too, and receiving this kind of message from you might do wonders for their day.
However you make time for them or whatever you do to build deeper bonds with your friends, don’t forget to remind them about how much you care for them – even from thousands of miles away.
Remember: If They Wanted to, They Would
While trying to maintain long-distance friendships can be a wonderful thing, not every friendship is maintainable or meant to be as strong as it once was. If you have a friend who doesn’t put in the same effort you do or doesn’t seem as invested in keeping the friendship alive, then you don’t need to force yourself to do all the work. Friendships are a two-way street – you can’t be the only one working to maintain them.
At the end of the day, if they wanted to, they would. That isn’t to say that a friend who is semi-absent in your life once you leave them doesn’t care about you – there are so many factors that make maintaining long-distance friendships hard.
Maybe they’ve grown too busy to communicate or something happened to them personally that requires their attention. It could be that they work better with in-person friendships, and everything will be the same as before the moment you’re together again. Or maybe the friendship has run its course. Just because a friendship wasn’t meant for forever doesn’t mean it wasn’t still important.
In your life, you will make so many friends -some for a short time, and some that you’ll carry with you for years and years. Whatever your friendships look like, I hope you meet the kind of people that make working through a long-distance friendship worth it.
Because friends are like sunshine – they just make your day a little brighter.
About Draven Jackson
Draven is an avid writer and reader who enjoys sharing her opinions on movies, books, and music with the rest of the world. She will soon be working as a teacher in Japan and hopes to use her experience to connect with other teachers and students around the globe. Draven spends most of her time at home with her family, her dogs, and her ferret.
To see more, view all posts by Draven Jackson here.