Maintaining a long distance relationship is difficult, but maintaining a long distance friendship can be much more challenging. When one of your friends moves away, you say you'll keep in touch, and you do at first. But as time passes, you both become busy and maintaining that friendship becomes increasingly more difficult. It's one thing to let friendships die out when you're talking about your BFF from second grade or even high school. But the friends you make in college and thereafter, tend to become lifelong relationships. And at some point one of you is bound to move away for one reason or another. So how do you stay in touch with a friend once distance prevents the daily or weekly hangouts?
It used to be so easy. All you had to do was send a quick text and hop in your car to go meet up with your bestie. But now you can't do that. Now it takes serious coordination. Days off from work. Flights. Road trips. Looking at your calendars. These orchestrated meet-ups are no longer random. It takes work now!
If it's just an acquaintance and the relationship is solely proximity-based, it may be okay to let the friendship dwindle off with the occasional Facebook like or comment. But if this is a true friend whose friendship you really value, you have got to put forth the effort.
- Call regularly - It doesn't matter if it's once a week or once a month, it just has to be regular and consistent. You have to check on your friend and make sure they're okay.
- Skype or FaceTime - Phone calls are a great way to connect and catch up with your friend, but actually seeing their face will add a whole other dimension to that connection.
- Send letters or cards - This is an old-fashioned means of communication, but there is still nothing like the written word. It's nice to know that someone thought enough of you to pay for a stamp!
- Gchat of Facebook message - Instant messaging gives you the back and forth that you miss from face to face conversations.
- Share things on social media - Sending a friend a pin on Pinterest or a Buzzfeed list that reminded you of them or that you thought they'd enjoy will bring back fond memories and strengthen that connection.
- Snapchat - This form of social media is not just for sending inappropriate images that you want deleted in 10 seconds or less! Send your friend a picture of something that reminds you of them or that they'll find funny or just send them a quick selfie! Utilizing snapchat is a better alternative to taking the actual pictures on your phone's camera because it doesn't use up your space.
- Remember birthdays - Just because you can no longer take your friend out for a drink and/or dessert to celebrate their birthday doesn't mean you should forget it altogether! You can still send a gift and/or a card in the mail. But beware, this will require forethought and pre-planning. You can't just send a text and pick a restaurant at the last minute like you used to. But the smile on their face will definitely be worth the effort. If you don't have time (or money) to stick something in the mail, at the very least, give them a call. They will appreciate the thought. Do not just send a text!
- Plan a trip - At some point you have just got to go see your friend. Even if the trip can't be as long as you would like (you've got several months to catch up on at this point!) you just need to see each other and spend that time together face to face. Try meeting half-way or taking turns.
Remember, there once was a time where people moved away and they had to write letters or use calling cards to talk! We have it much easier in this generation. There is so much technology to make things easier. But that technology also seems to make us lazier and sometimes we just don't put forth the effort at all (even with so many options at our fingertips). If ever the effort seems solely one-sided, the other person will stop putting forth the effort, so don't forget to make some deposits in your relationship bank account! You will definitely both get busy, but you've just got to make the time.
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