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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Columbia Barnard chapter.

Aside from questionable food, cramped dorms, and communal bathrooms that make you question how in the world some students were admitted to college, one experience many Columbia students share is the devastating goodbye to their best friend before they move to the Big Apple. For many, the assured promises of “we’ll Facetime every night” or “I’ll visit every month” amount to a slowly dissolving friendship consisting of three-word text conversations every few weeks. Long-distance relationships of any kind are difficult to maintain: they require mutual effort and can begin to fall apart easily from just a few missed texts. Between late-night study sessions at Butler and 8am lectures the next morning, it can be especially challenging for Columbia students to find the time and energy to maintain these relationships. 

However, long-distance friendships can also become the strongest friendships once both friends find a balance. This isn’t easy—texting and Facetime can quickly become mundane, and if you both have busy schedules, it may be difficult even to find time for that. But don’t be discouraged! There are so many different ways to stay connected with long-distance friends, some of which involve getting creative and stepping out of your comfort zone. So have fun with it! 

Write Letters

Snail mail is tedious, but it can be a lot of fun if you get creative! Add fun drawings, use a photo print as a postcard, or write from the perspective of a spouse in the 1800s to their partner overseas—the possibilities are endless. You even could theme your letters by using prompts like “rant about your least favorite professor” or “rate and review each dining hall.” If you keep the letters you receive, this could also be a great way to create mementos of your friendship to look back at in the future! 

Create a Time Capsule

Next time you see your best friend, grab a shoebox and throw in mementos that represent where you both are in your lives! You can add whatever you’d like: letters to your post-graduation selves, a picture of you both together, a recent concert ticket from Madison Square Garden, or even a receipt from your latest purchase at the Columbia Bookstore. Make sure to set a particular date in the future when you’ll both meet up to open it. It can be as soon or as far as you want, and you can even make multiple to open at different times! 

Use the Locket App

This app is a great way to stay digitally connected with your best friend! Locket allows you to send pictures straight to your friends’ home screen through a widget that will display new pictures for up to five hours. Send your best friend pictures from your day in the city or on campus to keep them updated on your activities with minimal effort!

Use Teleparty

Even if you and your best friend aren’t film nerds, Teleparty (formerly Netflix Party) is a great way to spend virtual time together in between classes and homework. Set aside a couple of hours once a month to cozy up in your dorm and catch up on that new movie you’ve been dying to watch together. Teleparty allows up to 1000 participants in the same party, so you could even have a virtual film party with all of your hometown friends if you wanted to! 

Create an “Everything About My Week Newsletter”

If you and your best friend have absolutely no overlapping breaks in your schedules for weekly debriefs, stay connected by sending them a recap of your week in newsletter format! Find a fun template from Canva or Piktochart to use; or get super creative and make a physical newsletter using resources from the Barnard Zine Library! Recount every detail of your week in overly formal vernacular, add pictures, and send it off! 

Journal Together

Are you and your best friend the type of people who constantly update each other on your every thought, action, and interaction? Stop by Book Culture to purchase journals (matching, if you want to go the extra mile) and write in them every time you wish your best friend was there to talk to. The next time you see each other, swap and read each other’s journals to get a full update on their life. If you and your best friend won’t see each other for a long time, mail the journals back and forth! You could even add small notes or responses so you’ll have something fun to look back at. 


While this may seem like the most obvious method, it’s also arguably the most important and the easiest to forget about! Even if you are a chronically bad texter and find it hard to respond to texts in between classes, homework, and clubs, take the time to respond to your best friend—it’s the easiest way to show that you value your friendship and want to stay close. Of course, it doesn’t have to be serious at all. If you see something that reminds you of your best friend or an inside joke, send it to them! People love knowing when others are reminded of them by everyday things. 

It may seem difficult to find the energy to stay connected with your long-distance best friend through the toils and troubles of college, but don’t give up easily! If you both value your friendship, you can definitely make it work and you’ll strengthen your relationship in doing so. Stick it through and you’ll be well on your way to accomplishing your dream of moving in together. 

Hailey Khetan

Columbia Barnard '27

Hailey Khetan is a freshman at Barnard College in New York City and originally from Northern Virginia. She loves playing the piano, watching horror movies, reading romance novels, and singing karaoke with friends. She is passionate about politics and feminist theory.