Maintaining Long Distance Friendships: The How To

It’s that time of year. The days are slowly beginning to get warmer, cuffing season is in full swing, and your best friend from high school is having a midlife crisis. Sounds pretty accurate? (At least for me).

 

Losing touch with friends from high school can be hard- especially when your only forms of communication seem to be a half-genuine phone call or wayward meme. Being apart from your best friend- whether romantic or otherwise, is definitely challenging, and it can be hard to make the relationship not feel strained or fake.

 

You went from showing up unannounced and having random sleepovers to barely seeing each other, and that’s a big shift. So what can you do to help your relationship when you actually DO get the chance to head home and meet up with your bestie?

 

1.Actually plan something.

Your “plans” in high school may have been more of the “show up till we get bored” variety, but that doesn’t mean you can’t plan an activity for the future, and actually pull it off! Long distance friendships need quality time too, so make sure to get the most out of it. Wellandgood.com says that distance can actually improve relationships- so don’t give up hope.

“Long-distance friends are more likely to spend concentrated periods of time with each other,” Dr. Levine says. By spending more quality time together—read: not silently scrolling through social feeds at dinner—you may find that you appreciate your bestie even more.”

 

You’ve already stalked their insta trying to figure out who they ACTUALLY are dating, so why not grill them in person?

 

2. Acknowledge differences

Maybe you grew up in the same small hometown, and maybe you both always dreamed of moving to the city and starting an Etsy boutique, but time often lends to new realities. You are different people with different dreams, relationships, and political views. And that’s ok. Just because you were inseparable a few years back doesn’t mean you can’t both grow in different ways.

Coming from a small town, I know that relationships and that "small town vibe" can be suffocating for some, but for others it may not be. You may want to avoid certain topics that may be a hot issue, but if you can talk about differences in a civil and respectful way- go for it. You'll learn something new every time. 

3. Offer advice

You’ll probably both have very different beliefs/standards from when you first met, so it’s important to address these issues and make sure you respect boundaries. If a friend is having a crisis, be glad they’re reaching out- especially if the distance makes regular communication difficult. Maybe you won't agree on the best approach to solving your problems with Steve from work, or how to resolve an issue with an upcoming school project. You might even have differences in how you think about the future, but you never know until you ask. 

Make sure you know about your friends life from THEIR perspective- Instagram stories and updates from mutual friends can be misleading, so you never want to judge a situation until you've heard their side of the story. Who knows? Maybe you were completely wrong about how your friend was dealing with a situation, so you need to ask.

Staying in touch with friends can be hard, and sometimes it’s worth letting relationships go, but the important thing is to communicate and figure out if you can continue to have a healthy friendship.

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