The Key to a Successful Long Distance Friendship

Around this time last year, I was standing in an airport with my best friend.  We were looking forward to a Taylor Swift concert and our upcoming sixteenth birthdays, and I was trying not to think about how we’d be on opposite sides of the country in a week.

It’s not uncommon to hear about the struggles of long distance romantic relationships, but distance in a platonic relationship can be difficult in its own way as well.  This is something I’m quite familiar with, as my best friend Katerina and I have lived 2,257.6 miles apart for seven of our nine years of friendship.  Despite this, we’ve remained extremely close, and I’m genuinely proud of that.  I remember being so worried that she and I would drift apart as regularly we hear about distance causing friendships to fizzle out; but we’re proof that the platitude “it doesn’t have to be that way if you don’t let it” can be true.

I’ve been thinking about this frequently as two of my closest friends moved away last month. Despite the distance being significantly smaller between us this time, the emotions I experienced were similar: disappointment that I wouldn’t be able to see them as often and worry that we’d grow apart; however, as cliche as it sounds, those worries do not have to come to fruition. If you are physically separated from a friend, here are some reminders and tips for staying close and connected.

Put in the effort// these days, there are more ways than ever to stay updated with each other’s lives.  Take the time to Skype and send gifts.  Text back as often as you can.  Quick and easy things like Snapchat are glorious ways to remind your pal that you are thinking about them. Being farther apart means you need to work harder, but it is worth it.

Stay understanding// life gets busy, and sometimes people can’t talk as often as they would like. This doesn’t mean they don’t miss you or aren’t thinking about you.  Trusting that your pal is as dedicated to your friendship as you are makes a big difference.

Stay patient// while most people get to see their friends daily or weekly, this isn’t a luxury you have.  I feel your pain; nothing is the same as being face to face.  Just remember—you will meet again.  Smile and nod when well-intentioned people say “at least you can Skype!” and look forward to making the most out of the next time you see each other in person.

If you’re currently in a long distance relationship (platonic or romantic), I believe in you!  Keep doing your best to continue growing your relationship despite the lousy situation.