Friendships have always been something I’ve struggled with which shocks most people because I can connect with almost anyone due to my personality type. I had a really hard time growing up knowing who my “true” friends were. I would jump from friendship to friendship trying to figure it out. Luckily, over time I found my few close friends that I know I can count on no matter what. Unfortunately, I live at least an hour away from each of them and some of them even more than that. So our friendship looks a little bit different now.
Long distance friendships are hard and they take a little more effort but they aren’t impossible. It is all about intentionality. If you’re intentional with when, how, and why you connect – it’s easier to stay connected. We don’t talk every day or even every week some times. We don’t hang out but a few times a year and for some, we haven’t seen one another since my wedding. Regardless of how much time we spend together, their friendship is still something I hold very dear and it’s because of the things we’ve put into place to make the friendship work.
Friendships are seasonal and can look different depending on the season. There is a likelihood that if you don’t have long distance friendships now, you will. So I hope this post is helpful to show you a few things you can implement to have friendships that last no matter the distance.
4 Practical Ways to Foster Long Distance Friendships
1 // Find simple ways to fit some kind of connection into your already set routine.
We are extremely lucky because we live in the age of technology where we can literally connect at any time during the day. Find times in your normal, everyday routine to connect with one another. This can be a phone call on your commute home, a simple text message while you’re waiting for dinner to be ready, or even a Facetime call while you’re getting ready in the morning.
I think we get overwhelmed when we try to add more things to our schedule, but if you just fit them into the things you’re already doing it makes it more likely for it to actually get done.
2 // Realize that the amount of time is not more important than the connection itself.
Sometimes we feel the pressure since we don’t see one another often to spend more time together to make it count. However, a quick phone call or text message can mean more than spending an hour on the phone catching up based on the sole fact that you’re letting them know you thought of them. It’s truly the thought that counts. This takes so much pressure off when we realize that it’s not about making up for lost time because we will never be able to get that time back or make up for it. We can only make the most of the time we do have in that moment.
3 // Don’t forget to celebrate the things you can’t be there for in person.
Long distance friendships mean that sometimes you miss out on the big things – birthdays, baby showers, bridal showers, etc. Although there is a distance between you doesn’t mean that you can’t celebrate them well. I know that it means to world to me when my friends remember the little things as well as the big things even from far away. It makes me feel extremely special. The distance allows you to get creative on the ways that you choose to celebrate with them. Here are some options:
- having flowers delivered
- using a food delivery service to send them coffee or dessert at work
- getting creative and planning a surprise with their significant other/family/other friends
- having a gift shipped to them
- writing a letter or sending an encouraging card
- sending a special video
4 // Always be realistic about your expectations from the friendship.
Uncommunicated or unrealistic expectations can make or break any relationship, but especially one that is separated by distance. Be upfront about what you can or cannot give to the friendship in this season. Friendships fall apart because one party expects or puts in more than the other. If you discuss what you can give from the beginning it alleviates that from happening.
In this season of my life, most of my close friends are long distance. The distance is as much as states away and as little as an hour or so away. As adults, we get busy and it becomes harder and harder to foster and keep friendships then you add in distance and it can seem impossible. We have to remember that we were never meant to do life alone and that’s why community was put into place.
Don’t isolate even if it seems like the easier thing to do. Keep pursuing your friends even from far away. It’s so worth it and it’s really refreshing when your friends put in the effort too. Some of my long distant friendships give me more joy and life now than they did when we lived closer because we are more intentional now than before. Distance is not an excuse to not have friendships and community. So text that friend, call them on your way to work, schedule a dinner date and meet halfway. Do something that shows your friends that you’re thinking of them and that they are special to you!
What are some of the ways you continue to keep and foster your long distance friendships? We can always learn more and better ways to connect with the people around us. Share them in the comments!