Friendships in orientation week

Surviving the Distance: Tips to Maintain a Long Distance Friendship

 

Written by Gayatri Kulkarni (HCAU) and Shruti Joshi (HC at Drexel)

Edited by Kavya Mittal

 

If you’re a college student, then it is likely that you are engaged in a long-distance friendship, just like us. The words ‘long-distance’ often conjures up negative connotations such as ‘difficult’ and ‘discouraging’. When applied to romantic relationships, it is said that they never work but in the case of friendships, they always come with a slight sense of optimism. Nevertheless, adding ‘distance’ to the equation automatically makes it scarier. So how do you survive when your best friend lives 8000 miles away in a time zone that is 10 and a half hours ahead? 

 

1. Don’t leave your girl on read!

 

Make good use of social media and make a proactive effort to stay connected. Even if it is chatting for a couple of minutes, trust me, it’s worth it! Always keep them updated on what’s happening in your life and make them feel like they are a part of it, just like you would if it was an irl friendship. 

 

2. Video Chat/ Send Voice Notes

 

When you finally make plans to talk, don’t you dare cancel on each other. The odds are already against you - the time difference isn’t exactly your best friend and you’re forced to sacrifice meeting in person and settle for talking through screens. So make the most of the time you actually spend talking to each other. Send them pictures, videos and voice notes and try to include them in different aspects of your life. 

 

3. Participate in activities together

 

Try to watch movies and play games together. You get to experience their love and hate for you at the same time. You get to see them nervous, excited, joyful and be cruel in a short span of time. Who would’ve thought right? Or have the other person on call and do your own work. That way you encourage each other to stay on track while also taking breaks together. Hold each other accountable! You can also go shopping over Facetime. The next time you try on an outfit and want an honest opinion about it - call your friend and perhaps even shop together! Find new activities you can do together just like we found writing this article together!

 

4. Reminisce about the old days from time to time 

 

It’s underrated how cherishing it is to think of the wonderful times you have spent together. Bring out those Instagram and Snapchat memories and giggle over the million stories and moments you bonded over. Perhaps, you may even remember different perspectives of the same thing! But at the same time, make sure you are not letting those memories take you over completely.

 

5. Send each other cute care packages

 

This may be difficult, and expensive to do regularly, especially when it comes to international friendships but nevertheless, they create really beautiful moments! If you have spent many birthdays together as we did, your special day can be especially hard without your best friend. Even a small but meaningful gift can really make your friend’s day. A self-care package or some food to cheer them when they are feeling particularly blue on a random day, can hold immense value and strengthen your bond. 

 

6. Look at the Positive side of things

 

This probably seems hard because of the distance and not being able to spend actual physical time with each other. But there is certainly a way to look at the brighter side of things. The global pandemic meant that there have been very strict restrictions on going out and a big NO-NO to meeting people on a regular basis. But a long-distance friendship already has you prepared for this! The pandemic has not particularly affected us, in fact, it has made our friendship even stronger because we’re even more connected online!

 

7. Put in Consistent Efforts

 

This is perhaps the single most important thing in any kind of relationship, but especially true when the possibility of meeting physically no longer exists. When both the friends involved put in consistent effort to maintain the friendship, that is when the bond truly grows stronger. It is very important to not let the other person feel like you are taking them for granted and make them feel loved and valued. Open communication and mutual understanding will lead a long way in making sure that everyone involved is happy. 

 

8. Talk about the difficult things

 

Sometimes, it may be easier to ignore the difficult things because there is ‘limited time’ so you might as well concentrate on the positive aspect of things. Sounds easier, but in the long term, the only way to sustain a real friendship is to go through its ups and downs. This can be applied as a general friendship tip, talk about the difficult things they don't want to hear. It will be tough, they may hate you for a while but it will only help them, and they will appreciate it at the end. 

 

A long-distance friendship is just like any other friendship, even if it requires more effort at times. In our opinion, that is what makes it even more special and the excitement of meeting soon keeps the fire burning. The distance has never affected our friendship and we remain the closest of friends (more like sisters) till this day!