Let’s be honest, anything long distance is hard. Communication can be tricky and feelings can get hurt when there is less face-to-face communication happening.
My mom always talked about seasons with friends and how sometimes you have people in your life who are only there for a little while until life happens. People move, people grow apart, that one friend you met in college might not be a friend for life and that is totally ok. These seasons help us grow and we are always introduced to the people we need at each phase in life.
Distance can do a number on any relationship including your friendships. How can you keep that connection with a long distance friend and still feel like you are maintaining the foundation of that friendship? It’s hard and it takes a lot of work and communication from both sides.
I’ve talked about my friend Emma before. You might remember her from this blog post on How to Meet Friends in a New City. Emma and I met at TCU in our graphic design class. She was a year younger than me and we instantly bonded over boy drama and our love Taylor Swift. I graduated a year before Emma and moved to Dallas and we began our “distanced” friendship 45 minutes apart. It was much easier to grab the occasional dinner and catch up.
When Emma graduated, she followed her dreams (much to my encouragement) and moved to Chicago! I was so excited for her but scared I was going to lose my best friend in the midst of this move. I can honestly say almost two years later since her move we have never been closer. Which seems insane because we have never been further apart.
I think Emma and I do long distance friendship extremely well. We have truly mastered how to maintain a solid friendship even at a distance. I wanted to share all my best tips with you because I know this is hard and this scenario doesn’t work for everyone. I have other friends from college who I talk to twice a year and it breaks my heart a bit to think about how out of touch I am with their daily life. This takes work, but with these tips it is truly possible to have that long distance BFF.
DON’T SCHEDULE TIME TO REACH OUT – JUST CALL
Scheduling a time to FaceTime or call never works. Don’t treat your friendship like it has to make the calendar. The beauty of long distance is that you don’t need a calendar to schedule your social life because chances are you’re both busy almost every night anyway with social engagements with friends who are actually in your city. If you have to schedule a FaceTime to talk to your friend, you’re doing it wrong. Just call. If they are busy, they’ll call you back and if you’re busy and can’t accept the call, call them back!
DON’T LET TOO MUCH TIME PASS BETWEEN EACH PHONE CALL
This is so important. Think of this like talking to a relative who asks what’s new and you can’t fit in the last three months of your life into a single phone call, it’s just impossible! So you spend your phone call with your uncle talking about the weather and your job on a superficial level until you check off that box until you have to call them again in three months.
Don’t treat your friends like this (or honestly, really your family lol but for another time). You need to make small amounts of time every few days or once a week to talk on the phone and catch up because then you’re only a few days behind in their life and are staying constantly updated.
DO UPDATE EACH OTHER ON EVERYTHING & DON’T THINK YOU’RE A BURDEN
When you do get the chance to talk don’t leave anything out. Talk about all your highs and all your lows. If you’re going through a tough time and every time you talk to your friend you feel super down and complain that’s ok. If life is going great and you share all the good things don’t feel like you’re bragging.
This is your friend you’re talking to. They should want to hear about all your highs and lows no matter what you’re feeling it’s valid and you should share. Not sharing things and keeping things inside because you don’t want to come off as complaining or bragging puts more distance between your friendship.
DO MAKE TIME FOR IN PERSON VISITS
This is something I’m guilty of and have to work on. I can get so caught up in our new routine of being long distance friends that I forget we haven’t seen each other in months. I was supposed to fly up to Chicago in March and then COVID happened and I haven’t rescheduled my trip. I need to and plan to and I’m so grateful Emma made the time to come down and visit me this past month. It was so fun to catch up in person and even though I felt like we talked yesterday and I knew all the in and out details of her life, nothing replaces that face to face communication with a friend! I’m so grateful for her and am planning my trip to Chicago soon!
I truly know how hard it can be to maintain long distance with a friend. It takes lots of work on both sides! You can’t have a friend who isn’t willing to not meet you halfway; this has to be mutual! Emma and I make time to talk to each other when we are out running errands, when we are on walks, on Sunday afternoons bored at home, but it is all completely unscheduled. Just pick up the phone and call! It is so much easier to maintain that friendship when you keep it spontaneous and catch up frequently.