Adulting is a struggle, can we just agree on that? I mean, there are awesome things about it, like getting to eat dessert for dinner (anyone with me here?!) and feeling independent – but dealing with moving away from friends and vice versa because #life just kinda sucks.
As I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized how important my friendships are to me. Regardless of where my friends live, I always make an effort to maintain those friendships and treat them just as I would any other close relationship. This is a subject that has been on my brain a lot lately – friendships evolving, what it means to be a good friend – and it got me thinking about some of my BFFs who don’t live here in Dallas. More specifically, how we maintain our friendships and how I can be a better friend.
Since I know a lot of people have friends across the world, I wanted to share my tips on how to be a good long-distance friend.
Regular phone dates
OK, so maybe you can’t have a weekly wine night in person, but who said it can’t be a virtual one? Make it a point to schedule regular calls or FaceTime phone dates with your long distance friends – as in actually put it into your calendars at a time that’s good for both. If you’re strapped for time, hop on the phone during your commute home from work or wherever – it doesn’t have to be a long call, any amount of time counts.
Scheduling a recurring time to connect will give you a chance to update each other on everything life related, and you won’t be saying “how did 3 months already go by?” the next time you chat – which are the calls I start dreading, TBH. Weekly, casual chats feel much more natural and it’s not as exhausting (honest but true!).
Lastly, remember to ask about the other person! Don’t get so caught up in your life and week that you forget that you’re talking to someone you care about.
Use social media
Even though I have a love/hate with social media, I do love how easy it’s made it for friends to constantly connect with each other. Try tagging your friend in funny pictures or memes to let them know you’re thinking of them, or Snapchat them funny things that make you think of them. Even if we’re living on opposite sides of the country, I know my long-distance friends check their social media and are getting mini-updates on stuff happening throughout my day and vice versa.
Put in extra effort
When it comes to long-distance friendships, one thing’s for sure – they take way more work! If you don’t make an effort to connect, it’s not like you’ll run into that friend around town (as you might with local friends). That means when things happen in your life, you’ll need to make extra effort to tell your long-distance friend about them. Pick up the phone, send a text, send a Snap – there are SO many ways to keep your far-away friend in the loop. If you’re trying to be a good friend, you’ll need to put in some extra effort – it’s just how it goes. And hopefully they are doing the same – if they aren’t, that’s worth re-evaluating the friendship in general, which is a topic of another post I have on my mind (would you want to see that?).
Send care packages
One of the hardest parts about being away from certain friends at such an eventful time in life, is that you feel like you miss a lot of their milestones (good and bad). It’s not always feasible to travel for a bridal shower, a birthday, even funerals, but it pains me to miss these things in my friends’ life. When I’m really top of my game, I like to put together a little care package in lieu of me attending and a standard gift. It doesn’t have to cost a fortune – maybe it’s filled with a candle that reminds you of your friend, a cute framed photo of you two, your favorite candy, a hand-written note. These little personal touches get me excited, remind me of why we’re friends, and mean a lot to the person. Try it!
Plan a trip
My friends and I make it a point to go on a yearly girls’ trip, which lately has been by way of bachelorette parties. Although talking on the phone and watching each other’s social media updates gets us by, there’s nothing like spending quality time with someone in person. Am I right y’all? So whether you plan a week-long tropical vacay, or just a weekend back in your hometown over Christmas, make sure you set aside special bonding time at least once per year. It not only gives you a time to connect, but it’s something to look forward to in general – which leads to overall happiness in your life.
P.S. I actually asked some of my long-distance friends for things they do or think about, so this was a collaborative effort. Now it’s your turn! How do you stay close to those far away?
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