Friendship is one of the sweetest parts of life. When we’re young, most of our friends tend to live quite close to us geographically, making it easy for us to maintain close connections with our favorite people.
But as we grow up, things change: we go off to university, move to new cities, study abroad, travel to faraway places — and along the way we often find that many of our friends become scattered in different locations around the globe.
It’s always bittersweet when we have to say “goodbye for now” to the people we’re used to spending so much time with, knowing that it may be a while until the next in-person reunion.
But that’s where the importance of nurturing long-distance friendships comes in! Luckily, there are plenty of ways that we can practice this, especially in the digital age.
Here are some that I personally recommend:
1. Schedule video calls into your calendar
Video calling is the next best thing to an in-person visit for obvious reasons. It’s awesome that we have the ability to chat in real time, face to face, via the internet. But realistically, we all lead busy lives and exist in different time zones, so it’s unlikely that you or your friends will be available at a moment’s notice.
2. Send voice recordings
This is a fun alternative to video calls but without the time constraint. Listening to voice messages feels more personal than getting a text, and it’s a great way to hear all about your friends’ latest thoughts, feelings, and experiences. Think of it like creating your own podcast where you talk about anything that comes to mind at any time that works for you.
3. Share things on social media
I know this one comes more naturally to some of us than others, but here’s a reminder that your friends want to know what you’re up to! Regardless of how you feel about social media, it really can have a positive impact on our personal connections. So whether it’s in an Instagram or Facebook post, or more privately on “Close Friends” Stories or Snapchat, share a bit about your life so that your friends can stay updated from afar.
4. Utilize tags & comments
Do you ever scroll through your feed and stumble across a meme or video or article that reminds you of a friend? Tag them in the comments! Even a tiny gesture like this can be a lovely way to exchange laughs and thoughts with friends no matter where you are, and it lets your friends know you’re thinking of them. Even if you haven’t chatted in a while, I can pretty much guarantee they will appreciate it.
5. Write long old-timey letters
Okay so this is a hilarious way to show your friends you love them while giving them life updates. Whether you want to practice your hand-written calligraphy skills or use a really extra digital font, write a dramatic, formal letter to a friend using as many metaphors and long words as possible. Try looking up old-fashioned love notes online for inspiration. Don’t be afraid to get creative with it!
6. Mail post cards
Everyone loves getting real-life mail that you can hold in your hands. It’s much less common to send messages like this in the online era, but that just makes it even more special and heartfelt. Whenever you’re traveling to a new place, buy some post cards and write cute notes to send to your friends. Even if you’re living in one location for a while, mail some cards to your friends anyway, to remind them of shared memories and wish them well.
7. Know that throwbacks are always a good idea
When extended periods of time pass between reunions, you and your friends are out there living your own lives and making new memories. But that’s all the more reason to reflect on the amazing things that you and your long-distance friends have experienced together, no matter how long it’s been. So send them an old photo that you stumble upon, or share it on social media. We all can appreciate a good throwback.
8. Embrace the art of texting
Honestly, I’ve never been a huge fan of texting because verbal communication is always miles better. But I’ve realized that in order to keep long-distance friendships thriving, it’s important to embrace all forms of contact. Whether it’s just sending a random text here and there, or having an in-depth conversation, message your friends. Because they’d probably love to hear from you.
Remember: long-distance is hard, but lasting friendships will always be worth the effort. The best kinds of friendships are the ones that withstand time apart, because you both know that when you do finally see each other again, it’ll be just like it used to be.
How do you nurture your friendships from afar? Let us know if you think of any other tips!