I’ve lived in four different places in my life so I have friends from all phases of life. This is including childhood, grade school, high school, college, post college in Los Angeles, and post college in Charleston. Other than my Charleston friends, I don’t live in the same place as any of these friends. So I try to put in an effort to keep these friendships alive and well. I value these long distance relationships. I never want them to fade away. So, I thought it would be fun to share my thoughts on how to keep a long distance friendship! Long distance relationships aren’t just with significant others, they are with friends too!
How To Keep A Long Distance Friendship
Hop on the Phone to Text, Call, and FaceTime
Isn’t it crazy that picking up the phone to text, call, or FaceTime can be easier said than done? I suffer from it too… from claiming I’m too busy. However, are we ever really too busy to pick up the phone to shoot off a text? Nope! Talking on the phone is probably the single best and most influential way I have kept strong relationships with my friends. Even if these are friends who live in other cities, states, and time zones. Also, I wrote about it in this post. But, to recap, I’ve been most successful at hopping on the phone when I can find increments of time to fill with making phone calls instead of doing something else like watching tv, scrolling through Instagram, or listening to music.
I love to call my friends when I’m waiting at the airport, folding laundry, walking my dog, driving in the car, meal prepping etc. If you call your friends often, then it’s easy to hop on and off the phone after just 10 – 15 minutes. It doesn’t have to take up an hour of your day every time you pick up the phone. Some of my friends are definitely better at video chats and face time than I am but I’m working on that one because it can be so fun (especially with my friends who have kids!). Whether you call or video or even text, it’s so helpful with maintaining long distance friendships!
Send Random Snail Mail and Gifts
I’m a big proponent of mail! Sending snail mail is quick and easy. I promise it will bring a smile to your face and to your recipient’s face! Greeting cards are so darn cute these days too so I find it fun to peruse them in paper stores with friends in mind. My friends and I are at stages in our lives where things are constantly changing. I always have a friend going through a major life milestone from getting a new job, to graduating from grad school, to moving, to getting engaged, to getting married, to having a baby. Guess what? There is a card for everything! Use these excuses to pop a card in the mail and don’t forget about the “just because” card. The same goes for surprise little gifts. If you see a little something that makes you think of a dear friend, why not scoop it up and pop it in the mail with a card that simply says “This made me think of you! Miss you!” I can tell you first hand that these things add up with friends and are great foundation builders in the lifelong process of maintaining long distance friendships.
Send Birthday Cards and Gifts
If you don’t already have all the birthdays of your friends saved into your calendar, then what are you waiting for? It takes ten minutes to write a birthday card and address an envelope. I absolutely guarantee that you have time of write a few birthday cards a year. Chances are you can’t be face to face to celebrate birthdays in a long distance relationship. Sending a birthday card or small birthday gift can be a really nice and meaningful way to remind your friends how much they mean to you on their birthday and everyday. Sharing on social media is great. But I’m willing to bet that a private birthday card where you can actually write down a few sweet birthday sentiments is more appreciated.
Plan Annual or Biannual Trips
Planning annual or biannual trips with long distance friends is so much fun! The planning is fun, the anticipation is beyond exciting, the trip itself is incredible, and the brainstorming for the next trip is great. Unfortunately, the friend hangover after the trip can be a little rough. But it’s worth it for the time together. There are so many ways to plan trips with long distance friends.
You can keep it affordable by visiting and staying with each other or you can easily gather where you met, aka back home or in your college town. It’s also fun to travel to a new place together, pick a place in the middle of where you live, or go big and travel outside of the country together. No matter what, the time together with be priceless! I highly recommend all kind of trips and recommend trips with just your best friend just as much as trips with your whole group of college besties or couples trips. There will be times when one or two people can’t make it, which is just fine. Life moves so fast and it’s okay to move forward with a group trip without a friend or two. You can miss them and remember that they will hopefully be on the next trip!
P.S. planning a trip can be hugely helpful when you or a friend moves. So many emotions go into moving away from a friend or watching a friend move away. To help soften the blow, plan a trip before the move. When you say goodbye, you already know the next time you will see each other!
Plan to Read the Same Books at the Same Time
Coordinating reading the same books as your friends is so much fun! It’s really great sharing book recommendations, alternating between picking books, and talking about the books you’re reading over text and the phone. When you and your friends read the same book together and then talk in the morning to find out that you both stayed up until 2am reading, you know you’re on the same wave length as your friend! I love sharing books and reading with my favorite people!
Set your Friend’s Home Cities as Saved Locations on your Phone Weather App
When I wake up in the morning and am procrastinating getting out of bed, I have a few go-to things I do. One such thing is checking the weather on my phone. I always check the weather where I live to see what the day holds. I also always check the weather where my friends live so I can imagine what their days will be like. The saved cities on my weather app are all the cities where my friends and family live. Weather affects everything including mood, outfits, work commutes, after work and weekend plans, and more. Following the weather of the cities my friends live in gives me a tiny little daily insight into their lives and I really love it. It’s not uncommon for me to then shoot off a morning text of “Woah, it’s dumping snow in Denver today!” or “Wow, it’s raining again in Los Angeles? Stay dry!” or “Oh my gosh it looks like spring hit in New York City!” It’s silly but it makes me feel more connected to my friends when I know their daily forecasts.
Embrace and Ask about their New Friends
This can be a big one! If you have wonderful long distance friends, then chances are other people are going to think they are a great friends too. Your friend will make new friends in the places they live. In order to really maintain a long distance friendship, it’s really healthy and important to be excited about your friends making new friends. Don’t be jealous! All friendships are different and no other relationship will replace your own. Instead, ask about their new friends and take an interest. Literally write down and remember their names if you have to. Being friends is about supporting one another, which includes supporting new friends! You will feel it back too as your friends will be just as excited about the new friends you are making!
More Silly Fun Ideas
Share recipes you love so you can cook them separately but together. Listen to each other’s playlists on Spotify separately but together. Do a secret Santa at the holidays with a group of friends. My college friends and I still do this every year and mail out our gifts! Use a horoscope app and mark the birthday’s of your friends so you can read their horoscope each day. Watch the same movies on the same nights. Send random selfies throughout the week. Dream about making big life plans and marking life’s milestones together.
Pro Tip: Remember that, at times, you might have to work twice as hard as you would if you lived in the same place as your friends to keep your friendships strong.
On Allison: Dress from an Artisan in Italy
If you agree that nothing beats friends, then read these other two posts I’ve written on friendship: The Importance of Making Time for Friends as an Adult // Your Most Frequently Asked Questions about my Friendship with Allison (this was one of my most popular posts last year!).
Photography by Edwin Eversole