As you know, I’m moving from Portland to Nashville in a couple weeks (gulp). I’ve started selling most of my stuff and getting all the logistics figured out, and everything’s going pretty well so far. There’s one thing, though, that’s been weighing on me since I began the process of relocating my life: I’m freaking out about leaving my best friend, Katelyn.
We met during college at Portland State and have been inseparable ever since. Currently, we see each other at least two or three times a week, and while we’re pretty good at talking on the phone too, the thought of putting thousands of miles between us is daunting to say the least. Since Ami gave me such great advice about moving, I thought I’d ask my Frisky coworkers for advice on how to make a long distance friendship work. It turns out that Jessica, especially, has a lot of experience in this arena, with friends scattered all over the globe. Read on for their top 10 LDF tips, and please share your own experiences and advice in the comments!
1. Never stop texting. Julie recommends keeping your old texting habits intact. “I think you should still text them about the mundane crap in your life and theirs,” she says, just like you would when you lived in the same place. Jess swears by the iPhone app WhatsApp for free text messaging: “It’s a lifesaver!”
2. Visit them as much as possible. Katelyn and I have already dedicated most of our travel budgets to visiting each other (I’m going to know the Southwest Airlines Nashville-Portland route like the back of my hand!). Jessica suggests using AirFareWatchdog to keep an eye out for the lowest fares.
3. Skype, duh. Skype video makes you feel much closer than regular phone calls. Amelia recommends planning specific Skype dates, “like seeing the same movie and getting on Skype to talk about it after, or cooking the same meal together and eating it at the same time.” I love this idea, and Katelyn and I are excited to schedule some Skype tea dates.
4. Make a schedule. If there’s a huge time difference (like NYC to Israel), don’t hesitate to schedule weekend phone calls ahead of time.
5. Keep emails simple and frequent. ”A lot of people think keeping in touch means writing long emails back and forth all the time,” says Jess. “My friends and I just constantly write shorter emails back and forth during the day, which makes us feel more a part of each other’s lives.” I’ve had other long distance friendships fizzle because I always felt like I needed to write long, all-encompassing emails, and I never had time, so I’m definitely going to keep this in mind!
6. Send free ecards to instantly celebrate major events. SomeECards has free ecards and so does Bust Magazine’s web site.
7. Offer your couch. “Always let them know they’re welcome to stay at your place if they want to come visit,” Jess advises. “Some people feel weird about the imposition.”
8. Send some love in the mail. ”When I studied abroad in Prague in college, someone sent me a bunch of old Bitch magazines and it made me so happy,” says Jess. Julie and her BFF, who lives in San Francisco, send random postcards to each other. “Mail is the best!” says Julie, and I totally agree. Plus, whatever I can do to support my mailman is a good thing.
9. Be honest. Try to let the other know what’s up if you’ll be out of touch for awhile. If you’re going through a rough patch and need to request some extra phone time, let them know that too. Just keep those lines of communication open as much as possible. It will make you feel closer and prevent any resentment from building.
10. Accept that change is inevitable. ”Don’t expect the friendship to be the same once you don’t live in the same place,” says Ami, “but know that it will still be there.” True that.
Alright, Frisky readers, I would love to know about your long distance friendships! How do you keep the friendship fires burning? Have you ever had a friendship fizzle out because of distance? What would you do differently in the future to make it last? Give me the scoop in the comments, or feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org!