When I moved to Dallas in 2015, I was moving somewhere where I didn’t know anybody. That meant that every single one of my friendships was suddenly going to be long distance. Granted, I did already have lots of long distance friendship experience under my belt, but this time if felt different and bigger and more difficult. It definitely took some getting used to and some practice, but I’d like to hope that now I’m an even better long distance friend than I was before.
Since I’ve had a lot of practice, I wanted to share some of the ways I keep my long distance friendships strong, and they’re ways YOU can keep your long distance friendships strong, too!
Send a text. It’s the simplest and easiest thing, but it can make a huge difference! Send a text to share big things like a job interview you just scheduled! Send a text to share little things like you just found a dollar in the parking lot! Sending a little text will keep the communication flowing and show your friends that you still want to include them in all aspects of your life.
Return texts. On the flip side- if you get a text, please my goodness return it!!! There’s nothing worse than sending something to a friend and just never hearing back. And yes, I know that life happens and I know I’ve been (too often) guilty of seeing a text and telling myself “oh I’ll respond after I do this one little thing…” but then oops I get distracted and start doing another thing and then my bad 3 days have gone by and I never answered when you asked me a question. It happens! You just have to own up to it and try to do better. So let’s all try. 🙂
Embrace the group text. It can be daunting to feel the want/need to text 18 people a day. That would be a full time job right there! So when it’s possible and when it’s fun, embrace the group text! I have a few group threads going constantly and y’all – it’s fun and hilarious to have so many close gal pals responding all the time! It’s such an encouragement when things are going well, and it can be extremely comforting when things aren’t going so great and you just need a flood of “that sucks” texts. I love the app GroupMe for group texts- go look it up if you’re not already using it! You can like people’s messages (and not get the annoying “so-and-so liked “this text” messages like the iphone does) and you can look up gifs right in the app and the best part, it lets you make a meme out of your pictures in the app!
Call them! Another obvious option, but it needs to be said! A short phone call is so much fun with a friend you haven’t seen in a while! You can go into details about stories, talk about silly little things, or really go into some deep topics with people you really trust. Even if you just squeeze a call in while on the road (use a hands-free device, please!!) that’s better than nothing! I sometimes keep a running list of topics I want to talk about with a friend on our next phone date – everything from the royal wedding to a great recipe I just tried to something that happened at work!
Use Snapchat! Again, I know you’re already using Snapchat, but I had to add it to the list! It’s one thing to send a text telling an embarrassing story, but it’s even better to tell that story over a video! I’ve also been loving the group Snapchat feature where my friends and I can share videos and pictures together!
Send snail mail. I think I was maybe born in the wrong decade/century, solely based on my love of snail mail. I love love LOVE sending little notes and cards to people, because who doesn’t love getting something fun in the mail?!? Sending a little postcard or note to a friend is a fun way to stay connected without feeling pressure to constantly be on your phone.
Plan a visit! This is the ULTIMATE way to keep in touch with your long distance friends! If time and money allow it, plan a time for you to get together! Whether it’s you going back to your old stomping grounds, them coming to see you, or you both traveling somewhere in the middle, it will be such a great reunion and it will give you both something fun to plan and look forward to!
Utilize the awesomeness that is Facetime. Just like a phone call, but better! You not only get to talk to your dear friend, but you can SEE them, too!! What a great way to give your far away friend a tour of your apartment, show off your new haircut, or just chat while you’re both doing meal prep.
Set reminders. Sometimes life gets busy and texting or calling your friend gets pushed to the back of your mind. This is where organization can come in handy!! (Because organization is the best part of friendship, right? Lol.) It can be great to set up a day and time for a weekly phone call with your friend, a monthly Facetime session, or even a reminder on your phone to text a friend and follow up on a previous conversation. It’s not glamorous, but it works.
Have realistic expectations. Life gets in the way sometimes, and it’s good to have realistic expectations that your friends won’t always be able to drop everything to text or call you 24/7. And that’s normal. They should also be understanding that you have a life and won’t be able to talk or text with them 24/7. If you go in remembering that people are busy and not just ignoring you, it goes a long way toward making sure you don’t get your feelings hurt unnecessarily.
Make the effort! If a friendship means something to you, then put in the effort! It’s so easy, unfortunately, to adopt the “out of sight, out of mind” mentality with the people in your life. If you’re not seeing them all the time, it can be easy to not stay in touch. So take the first step, put in the effort, and I promise you’ll be happy that you did.