Hey everyone! I have been wanting to write this post for a little while. It's been sitting in the back burner since I've felt too busy to take the time to actually sit down and write it with the time and effort I think it deserves. The friendships we have in life are very important; they shape us into the people we will become and have helped mold the people we are currently. I am sure that everyone reading this can think of friends that have had both positive and negative impacts on their lives.
Well, what happens when you or one of your friends is no longer going to be in a close proximity to you anymore? Whether it's moving away from your home town, leaving for college, graduating college, moving across the state, or moving across the globe being away from the people that understand you the most can be really really difficult.
Many returning readers to this blog probably already know that I attended Tulane University in New Orleans for both my undergraduate and graduate degrees. I spent some of the best years of my life in New Orleans and made some of my very best friends. While I miss living in the same city (or apartment) as these people I make a very conscious effort to stay in touch with them and maintain our friendships. Some people are shocked when they learn I don't live in the same city as some of my Tulane friends, mostly due to the amount of snapchats and pictures we have together. Well, although there's no exact science or perfect formula for maintaining these relationships, I thought it might be nice to share on the blog today some of my favorite tips for supporting lasting long-distance friendships.
ONE // Pick up the phone and share. This sounds like a no-brainer, but don't wait for big news to reach out to your buddy. If something happens that reminds you of them then let them know! Shooting a quick text when you're bored, waiting in line, or watching TV is also pretty effortless but gets the lines of communication open. The more often you talk to your friend, the more lasting your friendship will be. My favorite times to connect with friends are if I'm walking around the city running arounds or in my car driving somewhere, I have a bluetooth system in my car so it's almost like having someone riding along with me.
TWO // Make an effort to visit. It's easy to say "Yes come visit me, it'll be so fun!", but the truth is you're probably both busy. Set a phone date, get out your calendars, and pick a weekend. If you're friend lives very far away or money is a big concern then make a savings goal to work towards or try meeting somewhere in the middle. One of my good friends lives in NYC and travels a lot on the weekends, I'm so fortunate to get to see her now since I'm living in the city, but we're trying to hammer down a weekend for her to come to Philly. However, time passes so quickly and before you know it the perfect weekend is gone with no visit, so plan early!
THREE // My friend Risa emailed me this tip and I really liked it: "Since most of my sorority sisters are scattered across the country, long distance friendships have been inevitable and difficult. One surprising way we have all been keeping in touch is through fitness apps on our phones. At any given point, I am in a step competition on the Fitbit app and a workout competition on Mapmyfitness. I love the Fitbit competitions because there's a chat section on it so we can talk about our lives (in regards to our walking of course). Mapmyfitness, on the other hand, is just for logging workouts, but it's such a great motivator to know that your sisters will see your workout. It often pushes me to go just an extra few minutes on my runs. It's been nice to see how our lifestyles have evolved from that partying-centric college life to a more balanced healthful life. Even if we aren't going out together anymore it still feels like we are part of each others lives."
FOUR // Find a common television program or read the same book and talk about it. My friends and I love watching anything in The Bachelor series, so it's a great conversation spark to text or snapchat during the shows and send each other articles or Instagrams of the cast throughout the year. Side note, is anyone else excited for Bachelor in Paradise this summer? One of my other friends and I both love Big Brother and listen to the same podcast about it. We text constantly about the show over the summer and it really bonds us closer.
FIVE // Send postcards and other sentimental mail to your friend. How fun is it to get something in your mail that isn't a bill? A card, letter, or postcard from your far away friend is such an unexpected and thoughtful way to let them know you're thinking about them. Especially if it's around their birthday, go on and dig out their address and connect the old fashioned way. For birthdays, my friend Catharine likes to send personalized Dunkin' Donuts gift cards in the mail, you can choose any photo you want for the card and write a little message inside, how perfect is that?
While maintaining a strong friendship takes a lot of work, the obvious key is communication. Also, some friendships require more work than others. Some friends you may text every few weeks when an inside joke pops into your head or you have some downtime, and some friends are going to be blowing up your phone daily in the group chat. Or spamming you on Instagram by tagging you in every meme possible (btw I love when it when my friends send me memes). The important thing is to make the other person know you care about them and are thinking about them. Putting forth an effort to maintain the friendship is the first step and the most crucial.
What are some of your tips for maintaining a long-distance friendship? Do you have any faraway friends?
I hope you have a great Friday!