I know all about long-distance friendships because I haven’t lived in the same zip code as some of my besties since high school (17+ years). Still, we keep the friendship fires burning. Here is how we make long-distance friendships work.
Top 10 Ways to Make a Long-Distance Friendship Work
1. Always be on the lookout for potential plans for future in-person gatherings with your long-distance friends (like holidays, out of town work conferences, long weekends, random 3-day weekends or excursions).
Who knew I could drive 17 hours with 3 kids solo to visit my long-distance friends when I discovered I had a 4-day weekend in my midst? I made it happen and it was one of the best visits ever!
2. Don’t sweat the small stuff – if you don’t hear from someone for a while, it’s not personal, it’s just life.
One of my besties reiterated, “Can’t emphasize enough how much the “it’s not personal, it’s life” part is. If you can’t get over that, long distance won’t work (expectation violation)!”
3. Quality over quantity, you don’t need to spend tons of time together in-person to feel connected and close.
I do not boast a bevy of super close friendships, but the friendships I have are deep. I invest in my relationships with time and energy and really value having heart-to-heart conversations and understanding my friends to their core instead of just talking about “What ya been up to?” We still address the superficial stuff of life, but we go much deeper much quicker than most. Time is of the essence and we don’t waste any of it.
4. Find other ways to communicate and socialize.
We use gchat, snail mail, emailing pictures of our kids (there’s something special about sending a certain photo to a friend as opposed to posting it to social media for everyone to see), random long-ass email threads… we keep the dialogue going well past in-person or phone conversations.
5. Don’t be petty and go tit for tat about who travels more in the friendship.
This is a competition nobody wins.
6. Be open to adventure and meeting in a different location.
Sometimes we shake things up by meeting in a new city. We are all moms with little kids (ages 5 years and younger), so getting a weekend away is luxurious.
7. Find joy in the mundane, not every moment needs to full of amazingness.
Don’t try to do it all when you are together. We value chats while cooking a meal together, taking a walk, going to our favorite stores to browse, or drinking wine during a night in. We don’t need to plan something “amazing” when we are together. We’ve had the best times chilling in our shared hotel room instead of hitting the town for an all-night party.
8. Relish the “alone together time.”
One of my most favorite friend memories is reading trashy magazines in silence together. We are in the same room (which is super special in and of itself) but just doing our own thing and enjoying the quiet company. It’s lovely to look up and see your best friend less than 10 feet away. This is “alone together time.”
9. When shit hits the fan…. physically GO TO YOUR FRIEND.
Did someone just have a baby? Lost a baby? Get diagnosed with cancer? Experience the death of a loved one? Just bought a home? Struggling with life in general? It’s time for an in-person visit – MAKE. IT. HAPPEN.
10. Feel secure in your friendship and avoid getting jealous of their other friends who live nearby.
In order to maintain long-distance friendships, we need to feel secure in our friendships. I do not worry about being replaced or usurped by other friends who live closer to my besties. I would LOVE to be the friend going out to shows, movies, dinner, play dates, and so on, but it’s crazy for me to think my besties are sitting alone at home. They are amazing people and I wouldn’t want them to avoid socializing with nearby friends because I am not there. I know our friendship is special. Spread the awesomeness!