A lot has been said and written about coping with distance in romantic relationships, but lovers are not the only ones affected. When bosom friends you’re used to having nearby move far away, it can be painful, and also challenging.
My best friend who lived 5 minutes away recently moved to the other side of third mainland bridge, and while it’s not as bad as being in different states or even different countries, I miss the days when we could just decide we needed to be together today and make it happen. Now we don’t even see each other every month.
How can you keep your long distance friendship alive when you’re not in the same place, doing the same things?
1. Stay committed. It’s not just enough to read each other’s tweets or Facebook updates. You need to commit to maintaining an active role in each other’s lives. For my BFF and I, this means keeping up with each other’s lives deliberately. Each day, one of both of us reaches out to ask, “How was your day?” and expects to hear details, not just “It was fine.” If one of us is going through a difficult time, the other usually knows about it in specifics, and this helps us stay close. Not a day should pass without you touching base, if possible.
2. Choose ways of communicating that feel most personal. For some friends, chatting on Whatsapp or BBM is enough, but for others, hearing each other’s voices is more fulfilling, and this means calls or at least voice notes. Then there are others who have to see their friend, see that familiar smile and those endearing gestures, and that means Skype or FaceTime. Also, time of day matters especially when you both work. Make sure you both discuss what works best for you, and review as you go along to make sure it’s still mutually satisfying.
[imagebox maintitle=”” subtitle=”Each day, one of both of us reaches out to ask, “How was your day?” and expects to hear details, not just “It was fine.” ” image=”https://connectnigeria.com/articles/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/woman-on-phone.-long-distance-friends.-by-Kosim-Shukurov-via-Shutterstock.jpg” color=”white” space=”30″ link=”no link”]
3. Don’t rely on old memories. As precious as they are, they are not sufficient to maintaining friendships. You need to make new memories. For us, this means that whenever we have the opportunity to be together we can’t just have a good ol’ visit like we used to. We have to invest a bit of planning and do something memorable that will last in our minds until we see again.
4. Show interest. Now that you and your friend are apart, you’ll need to put more effort into carrying each other along, but don’t wait to be carried along. Ask questions, even about mundane things. Remember that the everyday things are usually what amplify the feeling of intimacy, but you don’t notice this when you’re together. Things like what was had for breakfast, pictures of the new hairdo fresh from the salon, and anecdotes about what the kids are up to these days, help long distance friends bond.
5. Don’t try to pretend that nothing has changed. Talk openly about the void and the distance whenever it is necessary. Acknowledging that it is there makes it possible to validate each other’s feelings, such that “I miss you” can be met with “I miss you too.” Sometimes, that’s just what a long distance friend needs to hear.