We’ve all had that bestie who up and left for a sweltering summer abroad, a great new job in some distant city, or simply just had to be elsewhere for a while. So much effort is put into talking about how to make long-distance between lovers work, but we forget that circumstances also blow friends to far-flung corners too.
Friendships are an integral part of our life and we can take this proximity for granted. Who doesn’t love splitting a bottle of wine and whispering conspiratorially with their bestie, planning mini-adventures, and knowing you can head right over and be welcomed with open arms after the day from hell. So when distance drives a physical wedge in, it can bring all kinds of longing and loneliness. It’s gut-wrenching, it's hard but it can be made good again. With a little work and a lot of love, here are our top tips for surviving the fallout and making those long-distance friendships work…
The first thing you need to do is take a deep breath and change your expectations. Whether because of time changes or schedule clashes, sometimes you will go weeks without chatting. This is going to suck and may even lead to a little resentment when your bestie suddenly can’t always be there for you. Recognizing that things may change and not letting that swallow you alive will grant you the patience and understanding to take your friendship to this new level.
Get All the Apps
Skype, WhatsApp, Messenger, Facetime – there are a ton of amazing apps that help people to stay connected and many of them are free and cross all kinds of borders and boundaries. Employ your fave and use them often. Skype and Facetime are great for when you need to see each other smile and messenger and WhatsApp work for those phone calls and fly by text updates. You don’t always need to wait for big news to share to keep your friendship running, it’s the small moments and the tidbits that add to the strength.
Make the Trip
Just because you now live miles apart doesn’t mean that you can’t visit, if it's within your budget of course. A great way of making your meetups magical is to both meet up on a trip somewhere, especially if you live thousands of miles apart. Meeting up in a neutral and new destination really grants you that one on one time and builds upon memory making. Whether it's lounging on sun-kissed beaches in the Med, taking cultural sojourns to South East Asia, or even just a chic weekend city break; a friends getaway gifts you that much needed catchup time in a stunning setting.
Many people fear that if their besties live far away that they won’t talk as much and distance will cause them to drift apart. Making time to chat, accepting that sometimes they (and you) won’t be able to be there in moments of hardship. Knowing how to effectively communicate when you really need to talk to them is more important now than ever. If the time difference is getting in the way of a good catch up, then revert to old school letter writing or a super long email but try not to be too hurt when it takes them a while to get round to a lengthy read and response. Do make phone dates and stick to them as much as possible, don’t let lack of proximity turn you into that flaky friend.
Details have always mattered in friendship but now they matter more than ever. Make sure that you make the effort to remember birthdays, important dates, and even the names of your friends' new colleagues, beaus and community members. Details keep relationships strong and the little things truly do count. From sending care packages filled with home comforts (especially if they live abroad) to simply dropping them a text telling them you are thinking of them, there’s no reason why geography should get in the way of a good friendship.
Are you or any of your besties trying to navigate long-distance? Share your humps and heartfelt tips in the comments.