Easy Tips For Maintaining Long-Distance Friendships

Personally, it feels like every time I’ve made a close friend, they eventually move away. (Ahem, you know who you are.) All the way back to high school when I laid in the road in front of my best friend’s car in hopes it would prevent her move to Wisconsin. Spoiler alert: it did not. Twenty years ago we were limited to phone calls, instant messenger, occasional visits, and who remembers Skype?! Today, we are fortunate to have more options.

Making time to nurture friendships can be hard. In the chaos of everyday life and taking care of families, keeping in touch with friends–even local friends–can sometimes feel like another item on your to-do list. With long-distance friendships, it becomes a whole new level of commitment.

These aren’t friends that you can reach out to last-minute to go grab a margarita with on Taco Tuesday. While it may feel challenging at times, let’s discuss how to show up for your long-distance friends.

Are You In or Out?

A big decision needs to be made first: are you willing to put the work in to maintaining long-distance friendships? Being the only person who puts effort into maintaining any relationship is frustrating and hurtful. Friendships are a two-way street and need to be treated as such.

Will you find the time for phone calls, texts, video chats, and planning visits? Or are you okay with letting this friendship run its course? Either way, being kind and respectful to your friend and communicating what kind of friendship you are willing to move forward with is top on the priority list.

Get Creative

We’re all guilty of letting our busy lives get the best of us. Then at the end of the day, we remember, “Shoot! I owe this person a text.” While checking in a few times a week is great, how often is it a real check-in and not just popping in to say how busy you both have been?

Instead, why not set aside some time to do something you’d both enjoy doing together from a distance? Pick a book to both read or a TV show to watch and set aside a monthly night to talk about it. Or if the stars align and you both find yourself with an hour of free time, turn on FaceTime and watch the show at the same time for real-life response times!

Go the Distance

Use your miles apart as an opportunity to plan a trip together. Swap trips to each other’s houses, meet in the middle, or pick somewhere completely different. Not only will it do you both good to spend the quality face-to-face time together, but you’ll also be able to enjoy the planning process together.

Where do you both want to go? What are some things you want to do while you’re there? Solo trip or family trip? Planning will be half the fun and only increase the excitement to spend time together.

Be There for the Hard Times

When you hear your friend going through a hard time, it is essential that you show your support. If you cannot be there in person, find another way to let them know you are with them. Think to yourself: if you were currently going through their situation, what would make you feel loved and supported?

I’ve found the best way to do this is to NOT ask your friend what you can do for them. Nine times out of 10 they’re going to say that they don’t need anything because they don’t want to feel like a burden. When my father-in-law passed away, a friend reached out and told us that she was going to deliver Chinese food for us. She gave us two options for delivery days and said to let her know our orders. What I loved about that was that she took the mental and physical load off us. During tough times, the last thing you want to do is make another decision. This way, the decision was made for us. (Thanks, Melissa!) Send flowers, a meal delivery service, mail a hand written note . . . anything, so your friend feels that you’re with them.

Whether your friend is moving across the state or the country, keeping these ideas in mind can help keep your friendship strong and looking forward to creating long-lasting memories together. What are ways you maintain your long-distance friendships? Leave your ideas in the comments!

Navigating friendships takes work for our kids, too. Renee shares how to help your kids keep friendships going after they’ve moved.


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