Humans were meant to live in community with one another. However, life makes this difficult when you or a friend moves far away. If you truly value the person’s friendship, you’ll both have to find ways to cultivate the relationship from afar.
Maintaining long-distance friendships isn’t easy, but it’s worth it.
From a few moves around the Midwest to a major relocation to Colorado, I’ve developed many ways to maintain friendships in different regions and time zones. Here are my top five tips:
- Decide which friendships you want to keep. Life is busy; you cannot maintain relationships with everyone. If you try, you’ll end up exhausted, unable to dedicate energy to the people and things who truly bring value to your life. Prioritize which friends need your limited free time.
- Recognize that different technology works for different friendships. I text with my childhood buddies and FaceTime with my best friend; I use Whatsapp with college friends, email with others, and bond via fantasy sports with a bunch of buddies. Don’t make the excuse, “I’m not good at talking on the phone.” It’s okay if you aren’t, but find another way to communicate.
- Start a shared hobby. It’s fun to bond over mutual interests. If fantasy sports aren’t your thing, play an online game like Words with Friends; agree to watch and discuss a TV series, or read a book together.
- Set up a recurring meeting with your friend. My best friend, who also contributes to this blog, is BUSY. He has two kids and a loving wife, and he runs an optometry practice. So, instead of making excuses or playing phone tag, he and I have a standing Wednesday call where we catch up as he’s driving home from work. If you’re tired of leaving voicemails with busy friends, try a periodic meeting.
- Schedule in-person time. As easy as technology makes communication, there’s no substitute for quality time in-person. Meet somewhere in the middle and explore a new place, alternate visiting each other each year, or choose a dream destination you both want to explore. Even if you pick a date a year away, get your calendars out, eat ramen to save money, and do whatever it takes to get together.
Friends are crucial to a healthy life. They keep us sane and encourage us to be our best selves. We encourage you to do what it takes to keep your valued relationships with friends near and far.
By Jordan Fuller
Do you have a creative way to keep in touch with friends?