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Keeping Long-Distance Friendships Alive and Well

Keeping a long-distance friendship alive takes some work! Here are some handy tips to ensure distance doesn’t separate you and your bestie.

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Keeping close friendships while being separated by a long distance can be tough. Long-distance friendships are way more complicated and take more effort to maintain than local ones. When you used to do things like go to the gym together or have regular hangouts, picturing what your friendship will be like when there’s a considerable distance between you can be really hard. When one of you moves, it’s a big change, but it doesn’t mean the end of your friendship. Let’s explore some fun experiences for long-distance friends to ensure your bond stays strong. While these ideas aren’t quite the same as hanging out in person, they’ll help you stay connected until you meet up again!

Keeping Your Relationship Strong With Adventures From Scratch

Get ready to nurture your long-distance friendship with a special in-person meetup, or use Adventures From Scratch: Friends Edition’s “mailed adventures” to keep in contact. Our interactive friendship book is chock-full of more than 50 epic activities you can do together in person or over video chat! Just check the key, pick an adventure, and go for it! There are also conversation starters and a spot for scrapbooking to capture your time together. This book has everything to help you make awesome memories with your besties, near or far!

Nurturing Long-Distance Friendships

In the journey of friendship, keeping the connection alive across long distances takes some work. Nurturing long-distance friendships is all about finding simple ways to stay close, even when miles apart. However, you might need to mix things up a bit. Sometimes, the best idea is not the first one you think of. Be open to new activities, even if they don’t seem interesting at first. Pick a few to try out. If they don’t work out like you thought, go back to the list, and try something else. Just remember: Keeping a long-distance friendship going takes effort!

1. Keep your expectations realistic.

Keep your expectations realistic in long-distance friendships. When you’re far away, it’s easy to think the other person is too busy or not interested anymore, but that’s often not true. Many friendships end because people don’t open up and talk about their feelings. Don’t lose a friendship based on assumptions.

Still, you have to be practical. Your best friend might not have hours every day for phone calls. They might not reply to text messages right away, especially if there’s a time difference. They may be busy when you call, and they might need to call you back later. They could make new friends, and you’ll need to handle that gracefully. While you shouldn’t put all your effort into a friendship that feels one-sided, be understanding and realistic about your friend’s new life.

2. Chat over Wi-Fi-friendly apps.

If your best friend lives in another country, use apps like WhatsApp, GroupMe, Telegram, or Signal for daily talks. These apps work with Wi-Fi, so you won’t get charged for texting internationally. It’s a simple way to keep the conversation going without any international fees.

3. Take charge of staying in touch.

If it’s important to you, then take charge of the community. True friends will join in and do their part, but somebody has to take the initiative. Your friend likely misses you, too, and someone has to make the first move to reach out. If you’re the one who has moved away, the responsibility usually falls on you. Your old circle’s life hasn’t changed all that much, and they’re still going about their daily lives. The world keeps spinning without you, so you’ll likely have to be the one to make contact more often than not.

4. Watch the same shows.

Use WhatsApp to chat while you watch shows you both love. Try Teleparty, a cool tool that lets you watch the same show on Netflix, HBO, Hulu, Amazon Prime, and more while chatting in a group text through the app. Another idea is to listen to the same podcast and talk about it over a video chat on Friday night!

5. Plan a weekly phone call.

Figure out a time that works for both of you, especially if you’re in different time zones, and schedule a phone call to stay in touch. Texts are fine, but every now and then, you’ll benefit from hearing your bestie’s voice. Keep it simple. Just say, “Hey, you mean a lot to me, and I don’t want our friendship to fade now that we’re far apart. Let’s pick a time each week to catch up.” Be clear. Don’t hesitate to be a bit personal or open and ask for what you need.

If your friend values the friendship, they’ll likely agree. If they don’t seem interested or make excuses, suggest another way to stay in touch. If things still don’t work out, maybe this friendship isn’t worth the effort. Think about letting it go or keeping it more casual.

6. Ask specific questions regularly.

True friendships involve personal talks. Instead of just saying, “How are things?” or “I miss you,” try something more direct. Ask, “Hey, what’s going on today?” or “Any important plans this week?”

These are just examples; you could also ask about something from your last chat too. If they had a problem, ask if it got solved. If they had a big work project, ask how it went. To do this well, be a good listener during your talks and take notes. Asking these specific questions shows your friend that you genuinely care about their life, that you’re there for them, and that you’re working to keep the friendship strong. When people feel valued, they usually return the favor.

7. Make your friendship a priority.

You need to make your friendship a priority, schedule time, and stick with it. The best way is to turn your communication into a habit. At first, it might feel weird to text your friend and set up a video call for next Saturday at 3 p.m. or something. It seems silly to schedule your interaction, but it’s the only way to make sure other stuff doesn’t take over your friend time. Having a set time on the calendar that you can plan other activities around helps to keep mishaps from intruding on your friend time.

We suggest making a shared calendar on Google or Apple. Put important things on it, like your video calls, and set reminders. You can add notes and photos to the calendar so you and your bestie know what’s going on. It’s nice to see all the little things and be part of your friend’s life, even if you’re across the ocean.

8. Share short videos.

If a video chat isn’t possible, try using apps like Snapchat or Marco Polo. These let you send quick videos to your friend, almost like texting. They’re fast and easy ways to get face time with your BFF over Wi-Fi. You can send a clip of your kid’s basketball game, ask for advice on new pants, or share a funny work moment in real time. It’s one of our top ways to talk with long-distance friends.

9. Go on a virtual tour together.

Thanks to the pandemic, lots of cool tourist attractions are now online. You can take guided tours of places like the Louvre or the Smithsonian museums from the comfort of your home. Make a list of spots you both want to check out. Plan a time to meet up online with your friend, pick a place, and explore together.

10. Play games with Let’s Roam.

If you’re into games, join our cool platform, and play pop culture trivia, Pictionary, or our fun geography challenge game with your friend over video chat! It can be just the two of you, or you can invite other friends to join. It’s a simple and fun way to spend time together without the pressure of carrying on a conversation.

11. Send special packages for important moments.

Who doesn’t love getting a gift? We can’t think of anyone who doesn’t enjoy a thoughtful present, especially when it comes in the mail. Whether it’s a birthday, anniversary, or just some awesome event, send your friend a special gift. Heck, send one on a random Tuesday. Surprises are more exciting than expected gifts.

For young companions, friendship bracelets, keychains, or picture frames could work. Adults might consider sending a bottle of their favorite wine. A gift basket of tasty treats from Harry and David or a piece for your friend’s hobby collection are also great ideas.

The best gifts are things you know your friend wants. If your way of showing friendship is through gifts, create an Amazon list where both of you can add things you love. When a special day comes up, check your friend’s list, pick a great gift, and have it sent right to their home!

12. Read a book together.

Be part of an online book club, or create your own reading plan. Decide on a schedule to read the same chapters each week, and then chat about it over the phone. You not only get to spend time with your friend and have an easy topic to talk about, but you also get an accountability partner to help you get through your book list.

13. Share a laugh every day.

One of the things you probably love about your best friend is how they make you laugh like no one else. Just because you’re not together in person doesn’t mean you can’t still enjoy daily inside jokes. Social media is perfect for a good laugh. Send your friend a funny Instagram reel or a meme you found on Twitter. Maybe they’ll reply, and if they’re busy, they might not, but either way, you’ll bring a smile to their face for a moment.

14. Make the most of your quick chats.

You probably don’t have a lot of time for talks with your long-distance friend. Actually, we suggest keeping your chats short. Good friends often avoid calling because they know their talks can go on for hours. Since they don’t have hours to spare right now, they skip the call. Try to keep your talks meaningful and relatively short.

A short chat can be just as good as a long one. Come prepared with a few important things to discuss. Ask important questions. Talk about what’s happening this week, and then plan your next call for next week. Of course, you can still have longer talks, but this approach doesn’t set the expectation of being on the phone for hours. It respects both of your time.

15. Share in a spiritual study.

If you and your friend share the same religious beliefs, think about studying together. Use an app like the Bible Recap or one that suits your preferences. Read the same scriptures every day, and then have a chat about what stands out to you.

16. Follow an influencer you’re mutually interested in.

Do you and your friend enjoy fashion or cooking? Maybe you both love a certain sport. Find an influencer or social media account that shares content about your shared interest, and follow them. Send each other popular posts, and talk about what you think. Just be careful not to get too caught up in online drama. The goal is to uplift and support your friend, not get caught up in negativity.

17. See their face regularly.

On most days, you’ll just text or chat on social media, but at a set time, plan a video call to actually see your friend’s face. You can use Zoom, Facetime, Skype, or WhatsApp. There are lots of options. Having a real conversation is nice, and it’s healthier, especially for important topics. Being able to hear your friend’s tone and see their body language can help avoid misunderstandings that often happen in text-only chats.

18. Send long-distance friendship quotes.

Sending long-distance friendship quotes to your friend is like sending a warm hug through words. It’s a simple yet powerful way to let your friend know that they’re cherished and missed. Whether it’s a funny quip or a heartfelt message, these quotes become a reminder of the strong bond you share. It’s a delightful way to stay connected and sprinkle some happiness across the distance that separates you.

19. Plan a get-together in person.

The truth is that there’s nothing like spending time together with your best friends, face-to-face. At least once a year, make a plan to visit each other. Maybe when you go home for Christmas to visit your loved ones, plan some time for your friends, also.

Even better, plan a trip together! Decide on a city or destination that’s midway between your current locations, and make it your next vacation spot. Plan it early, and mark it on the calendar at the start of the year. Make it a top priority, and don’t schedule anything else that week. In between your visits, spend time planning together. It will make you more committed to making the trip happen and build excitement for it!

Use a shared Google Sheet to list possible itinerary items and include links to fun activities. Include cool hotels, tourist spots, and recommended local restaurants. Add them to a shared Google Map for the trip. By the time it comes, you’ll be ready for an amazing adventure! Bring your copy of Adventures From Scratch: Friends Edition to add some spontaneity to your trip!

Closing Thoughts

Sometimes a new job or even a romantic relationship can take you away from your close friends. A lot of people have a hard time keeping a long-distance friendship going, but it’s not impossible. The most important thing is for you to be open, committed to the friendship, and ready to adjust your usual routine. Your friendship will have to change a bit from when you lived close, but that doesn’t mean it can’t still be fun. By using some of these easy methods, you can keep connected until you meet for hugs again!

For advice on adult friendships, read “Keys to Maintaining Adult Friendships.” We go deep into why adult friendships can be tricky and share useful tips on keeping them healthy despite busy schedules.

If you’ve recently moved to a new place, you’ll need to start making new friends. Here are a few tips on “How to Make Friends as an Adult (And Why You Should!).”

Frequently Asked Questions

Why do long-distance friendships fail?

Many long-distance friendships fail because people don’t communicate and don’t have a plan. To help keep your friendship alive, plan fun virtual activities together, and schedule your talk time!

How do long-distance friendships work?

Both friends need to put effort into long-distance friendships. Plan a phone call every week, text via Wi-Fi apps, and meet up in person yearly for a fun adventure using Adventures From Scratch!

Are long-distance friendships hard?

Long-distance friendships have their challenges, but by using creative ideas and staying committed to your friends, you can make your long-distance relationships successful!

How do you keep a long-distance best friend?

Some ways to keep long-distance best friends are to set up weekly phone calls, share short videos, and plan to get together in person. For more ideas, read “Keys to Maintaining Adult Friendships.”

How often should long-distance friends talk?

Long-distance friends should try and talk at least once a week. If that is not possible, send texts, share long-distance quotes, and share in hobbies, like a virtual book club!

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