How to Maintain a Long-Distance Friendship
Can a close relationship still thrive when you and your best friend end up living miles apart? We have some amicable advice to ensure that absence will, indeed, make the heart grow fonder
It’s so easy to lose track of your old friends when you (or they) move somewhere new, especially when distance stops the frequent visits, and time escapes you.
Researchers have found that friendships can improve our mental health and wellbeing, making us happier individuals. In a world dominated by social media, is it really possible to stop talking to someone? Technically, no; you might give their post a like on Facebook, or comment how cute their pet is. But that isn’t friendship.
A friend is someone you talk to about everything, someone you share stories with and support in times of need. Is it possible to keep this up over a distance? Yes! Here’s how:
1. Call them
While it may be more convenient to drop your best mate a text, messages can often be read the wrong way. Our minds can play tricks and make us think that our friend is being rude, even though we know they wouldn’t be. If seeing them in person isn’t possible, the next best thing is a phone call, because you can hear their voice and how they express their words. There’s a sincerity about hearing your friend’s voice; everything seems more personal and you enjoy it more. Talking on the phone allows us to respond and connect in real-time.
2. Don’t get jealous
Jealousy can destroy your friendship. If your friend has moved away, they’ll probably make new friends. You shouldn’t feel like your friend is trying to replace you, they’re probably just trying to mingle and relax in their new home. The same goes if you’re the friend who moved away – if you start seeing your friend hang out with new people, then you need to be OK with that. If your friendship is strong, then you know that no one will fill the gap like your best friend does.
3. Arrange a meet-up
It might be possible to get together. By arranging a meet-up, you’re both seeing each other in your truest form. It’s not like a text, or even a phone call, where you might avoid certain topics; being with your friend means that you can talk about every single thought that crosses your mind.
If distance really is a problem, you should at least try to arrange something annually, and propose it months in advance so that you can both make plans. When that day finally arrives, you’ll be so excited to talk about everything you haven’t told them.
The only downside to meeting up is saying “goodbye”. But there is one thing that can make a “goodbye” easier – make future plans! Before you part, you could set a date for your next meet-up, that way it won’t be all doom and gloom, because you know you’ll see them again.
4. Remember their birthday!
This one might seem obvious, but it’s one that really could shake things if you forget it. If it’s not possible to visit your friend on their birthday, make sure you send something (bonus points if it arrives on the actual day).
You don’t have to break the bank with an extravagant gift, it needs to be something sentimental. And woo them with your kind words, painting a picture of how much you truly miss them. Use this opportunity to wish them well and let them know that they still have a special place in your heart, no matter how many miles away they are.
If you’re lucky enough to be able to visit them, why not make it a surprise? Get planning with the people they’re close to, and make sure they’re going to be somewhere specific when you arrive. The look on their face is something you’ll both remember for years to come.
5. Get on with your own life
Finally, while you’re away from your friend, it can be so easy to slip into a state of nothingness because they’re not around. You have to remember that you both have lives, and you mustn’t forget about how important you are. If you don’t continue living your own life, you may even come to resent your friend for letting this happen.
The worst thing you can do to your long-distance friend is be angry with them for moving away. Change is inevitable, but you are both individuals. As friends, you must support one another, encourage each other to live life, but both still be part of it. If the friendship is strong, staying close won’t be too difficult.