My college roommate lives 400 miles away from me. Staying in touch hasn’t been easy. I was used to walking 10 feet to her room, lying on her bed, and talking about our day over a jar of cookie butter. I never truly appreciated living in such close proximity to one of my best friends until the moment we hugged each other goodbye as she loaded the last boxes from her room into her car and drove away. I was left with this empty aching in the bottom of my stomach, the same empty feeling you get when you think about a puppy being taken away from its mother and delivered into the excited arms of a child; a happy, smiling child who will be their new best friend, their new object of affection, their whole world.
I left college and the friends I made there with the naive expectation that my relationships would remain relatively unchanged with the same effortless ease that comes with living together. When my roommate and I first started to drift apart, I blamed the distance. If only we could see each other more often. If only plane tickets weren’t so expensive. If only… If only… If only… Then it happened. We fell into the same bottomless hole that suffocates most friendships; we both got “busy”. Phone calls stopped. Texts grew fewer and farther in between.
How have you been? Busy. What are you up to nowadays? Nothing, just busy.
Busy. The death sentence to any relationship. Busy. When life threatens to outpace your capacity to juggle a career, family, and friends. Busy. When giving a damn about how you look/smell is no longer a high priority in life. How are you supposed to keep in touch with someone hundreds of miles away when you can barely touch base with your own sanity? Busy makes having friendships, especially long distance ones, inconvenient.
So, for those of us willing to add a little more inconvenience to our lives, how do you maintain a friendship throughout the “busy” stages of your life? I’m afraid I don’t really have the answer. I guess what I’m really trying to say, is that I don’t know what the hell I’m doing in life anyway, so I can’t really provide the solution to anything. All I know is that I’m really trying, often failing, sometimes (not as often as I would like) succeeding, but always learning along the way. Here are 4 little tips I’ve learned to help nourish a long distance (and hopefully lifelong) friendship.
Tips For Maintaining a Long Distance Friendship
- Keep a positive attitude. Just because you’re doing long distance, doesn’t mean your friendship is doomed to die. Long distance can be hard, but having a good outlook on your situation can make a difference in how you approach your friendship and the energy you bring into the relationship.
- Set a regular time to catch up. Whether it’s a phone call, FaceTime date, email, or a simple text, set aside a little time each week or every other week in your schedule on a regular basis to update each other on current events in your life, the highlight of your week, or anything else on your mind. Whatever you and your friend do, keep that time as sacred time between you, even if it’s just a small “Hey, thinking about you!”.
- Plan an adventure together. Make an effort at least once every 1-2 years to go on an adventure together. It doesn’t have to be a long, elaborate, or expensive adventure. The act of planning a trip and the anticipation of having fun together will add excitement to your relationship and help to keep your spirits high. Me and my roommate are taking a roadtrip to Oregon this spring. I’m excited to see my roommate and spend a long car ride catching up with her!
- Remember important dates. Birthdays, holidays, or special landmarks in your friendship should be highlighted on your calender! I try to put a little extra effort into these special occasions by either mailing my roommate small packages or writing her a letter.
For my roommate’s birthday, I mailed her this handmade card. She has an (unhealthy) obsession for whales.
The power of a simple DIY!