If you’ve ever tried to maintain a friendship with someone who you don’t see often, especially if you live far away, you know how hard it can be. Busy schedules that don’t always match up are already a big problem for friends who live nearby, but add on physical distance – sometimes across time zones – and it can seem nearly impossible to stay close to each other.
Setting a time to call or Skype is a great way to ensure that you don’t get so caught up in your busy schedules and forget to spend time with your friends. This can be difficult, especially if you’re in different time zones, and this doesn’t have to be the same time each week (or however often you call each other). Be flexible and work around your schedules, but don’t let yourselves put it off by making other plans.
For those times when you can’t arrange a longer phone or Skype conversation, your cell phone is your friend! Whether it’s your phone’s texting system, another texting service, or social media, there are plenty of ways to stay in touch that don’t involve setting a time to talk. The great thing about texting is that even if you or your friend are busy when a message is sent, it will still be there waiting for you when you’re done. Did you see something that reminded you of them or of a memory that you share? Send them a text, even if they’re on the other side of the world and still asleep. Even if it doesn’t lead to a full conversation, they’ll still appreciate that you thought of them.
And of course, when you are in the same place, make it a priority to hang out! Whether it’s spending a full weekend together, going shopping, or even just getting coffee, make it a point to get together and catch up in person!
The most important thing in a long-distance friendship, like any long-distance relationship, is to understand that your friendship is going to change – and that’s not necessarily a bad thing! Whether you’re at different universities or living in different cities (or different states, or even different countries) for work, you’re both experiencing new things in new environments and making new friends, and all those things are important.
Of course, you want to hold on to friendships even when you aren’t physically in the same place, but not at the expense of the new friends you might make in your new location. Trying to make your long-distance friendship the same as it was when you were living close together is only going to lead to frustration and bad feelings on both sides. If possible, talk about your expectations and make sure you’re both on the same page. Long-distance friendships can be more difficult to maintain, but they’re possible if you’re willing to be flexible!