Monday, June 23, 2014

How to maintain long-distance... friendships

Did you think I was going to say long-distance relationships? Yeah, sorry. I've got nothing on that. Except that I'm pretty sure I would suck at them. I try, however, not to suck at long-distance friendships because losing touch with good friends has to be one of the worst parts of getting older.

My late teens and early twenties were spent finally coming out of my shell enough to make real friends, but it was only inevitable we'd all part ways chasing new jobs, relationships or fresh-out-of-college dreams.

I'm still not perfect at maintaining long-distance friendships--in fact, I'm really bad sometimes--but when my best friend and I moved away from each other, losing touch was NOT an option.

1.  It's called Skype. Yes, there's always the phone (if you live in the same country) or text messaging, but actually being able to see their face when you talk makes staying connected so much easier. Plus, I don't know about you, but I'm super lazy and I get really tired of holding a phone up to my ear. Besides, when you Skype you can get screenshots like this:

2. Nothing is too inane to text/Facebook/g-chat about. Seriously. Share all of your stupid thoughts with each other. It will maintain a routine of talking and keep you involved in each other's lives. But note, I did say text. Don't call every time you have something dumbass to say. Send it to them to read at their own leisure. 

3. Make sure your communication doesn't reduce to only speaking through messages. I can't count the number of times I've started to tell a story to a friend through email or Facebook message only to delete it after deciding it'd be too much effort to try to describe in writing. There are some stories that just need to be said verbally. 

4. Don't take it personally when you send a good, long-distance friend a message and they don't respond for a few days. You know they always respond, so shut up and stop being dramatic about it.

5. Send each other care packages that actually show you care (i.e. in-jokes no one else gives a shit about, crappy movies you both like and make-up. Always make-up.)

6. Make a point to ask about the other person's life. Don't immediately launch into your latest problems or news about yourself every time you contact them. That's not staying in touch. That's you becoming the friend everyone ignores.

7. Don't think "liking" a friend's status is the same as taking a moment to actually write them a thoughtful message. Related: keeping in touch /= writing "miss you!" on their Facebook page every now and then. 

8. Don't let a good, long-distance friend find out about a major life event on Facebook at the same time all those people from high school you don't like but added anyway find out. There's no excuse for that thoughtlessness. 

9. But if your friend did tell the world about her new job/engagement/pregnancy before privately telling you, don't act like you didn't see her status. Of course you did. Either congratulate her and get over it or tell her you're annoyed but don't passive-aggressively pretend you didn't see the announcement. 

9. Don't act like your life is just SO busy that you can't take a second out to respond to a friend's email. Bullshit.

10. Don't use your phone conversations to rehash the same topics over and over and oh my god are we still talking about that loser you dated? 

11. Keep a lazy list of the things you want to talk about when you chat again. Nothing is more annoying than skyping with a friend who lives overseas, only to hang up and immediately remember what you wanted to say. (Especially when you're lazy and don't want to type it out). 

12. Don't think you can't revive a long-distance friendship that's gone stagnant. All it takes is a Facebook message or phone call and a little bit of follow-through. But it's also okay to recognize that after several dead-end attempts to maintain a long-distance friendship, sometimes it's just not worth it.


  1. Perfect advice. Almost all of my friends are long-distance after we moved to different cities when we graduated. It can be really tough to keep those up, but always worth it!

  2. These are great tips! I think they're also applicable for people who are almost-house bound due to illness, too!

  3. Photographic evidence that two of my favorite bloggers are BFF IRL? Mind. Blown.

  4. Lovely lovely tips, backed 100% by this girl whose best friend lives in Estonia and we've seen each other in person twice. She's still my BEST friend and so much of it relies on the fact that we're comfortable enough talking to each other about anything - including those random thoughts you just throw into chat - but we're also there for each other. We skype sometimes, we make a point of being up to date with each other's goings-on, and above everything we communicate. A lot. Communication is the key to all relationships, imo.

  5. Yes! Definitely worth it. It just sucks how you meet all these awesome people in college and then you eventually move away from each other. I guess it's better than never meeting them at all though...

  6. Oh yeah, that's true. It's always hard to be separated from friends regardless of the reason. It's definitely frustrating when you can't just see them whenever you want.

  7. YES. I feel like I've said this ad nauseam but Crystal is the reason I even have a blog. We actually met through a mutual friend and then became better friends with each other than we ever were with that friend. Oops.

  8. Amen! Communication is so important. I'm really kind of sad about the friendships I've let basically die out because we just stopped communicating. But I always love reaching that point in a friendship where you're comfortable to talk about everything.

  9. Ummmmm.....why didn't my previous comment get published? Thanks for making me look like a jerk, disqus. -.- ANYHOW, I love the photo collage of us, because the world needs more of those...I'm glad we met in college. Best anthro class EVER. We really do need NEW photos of us together though and amen to not letting FB tell them big news. NOT OK.

  10. It was my finest friend stealing moment and I regret nothing.