Maintaining a friendship over a long distance can be trying, but the friends who are willing to put in the effort are the ones who ultimately matter the most. For me, this has especially been true with my best friend from college, who is now 700 miles away from me. Distance has not only made us closer, but it has also taught us how to love and care about other people who are no longer a hallway away. While my best friend and I know that we cannot always be around each other, physically, we also rest assured knowing that we are in each other’s thoughts regularly.
The process of maintaining a long-distance friendship, however, can be emotionally tiring and requires a great deal of creativity. Below are five tips for maintaining long-distance friendships that I learned through experience.
1. Make time for each other.
Skype is one of the greatest resources ever created for keeping in touch. My best friend and I set aside two dates a month to Skype with each other, often doing things we used to do together (eating dinner, playing music, etc.) Video chatting makes it possible for you to interact naturally, relying less on voice inflection and more on body language, so that you come out of the conversation feeling like you actually spent time together.
2. Support each other’s growth.
One of the difficult things about maintaining a friendship over a long distance is that neither of you ever stops growing individually. Often, this growth can make you feel more distant; however, it can also be an opportunity to show some selfless support. This is especially true of meeting new friends, taking advantage of new opportunities, and supporting each other to do likewise.
3. Write paper-and-pen letters to each other.
There is nothing as heart-warming as receiving mail from someone you love. My best friend and I send each other letters about once a month, mostly in the form of homemade cards. It allows us to keep to in touch, but also to share our love of arts and crafts.
4. Take time to reflect on your friendship.
If you ever forget why you care about somebody, it can be a turning point in your relationship. Long-distance friendships are not a matter of convenience, but rather an active decision by both people to continue spending time together. Think often about why it is that you are happy making that commitment, and what you would miss out on if you didn’t.
5. Some friendships don’t last, and that’s okay.
Some friends will be around your whole life, and others will come and go. Appreciate friendships of all kinds for what they are, and hold onto the happy memories you create in even the most brief ones.
My best friend and I have been lucky enough to remain close despite our distance. While difficult, it has proved to me that the friends who really matter will love you whether you are right next door or halfway around the world.
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