I was raised an only child so my friends were like family to me. I reveled in sharing secrets, growing, and learning from my best friends. It was difficult for me to move away after high school, but I realized that an increase in physical distance between me and my friend did not mean emotional distance and separation. Since I was nine years old, my best friends from my childhood have supported and transformed me. To them I am forever grateful…and I hope that I can give them back love and eternal support two-fold.
So just like a romantic relationship, friendships – especially long distance friendships – require work. We are all inherently lazy, and anything you want will require work. So here are five suggestions to keeping and maintaining long distance relationships to nourish and sustain your soul:
- If you’re thinking of them, reach out to them! It’s that simple. Just take less than one minute out of your day to send a text. It doesn’t have to be an extravagant gesture, just one that comes from the heart. I usually say something along the lines of “Miss you! Hope you’re doing well!” I know whenever I receive a text or call from someone out of the blue I can’t help but have a huge smile and feel loved. Because isn’t that all we want? To be loved and love others? I’ve also found that if you’re thinking of the person that usually they have also thought of you. It’s funny how the universe syncs us up!
- Maybe your friend got a new job, it’s his/her birthday, or they bought a new house…Celebrate the little things with your friend. Whatever the occasion is, take the time to reach out to your long distance friend. I enjoy sending small, personal gifts – like a picture from the last time we were together or a helpful tool for their new apartment. Gifts not your thing? Maybe call or set up a “Skype date” and ask about the experience. Relationships require intimacy – not physical touch – but an emotional connection. Remember to keep engaged in one-anothers’ lives!
- Make time to see each other. This doesn’t have to be an extravagant get-away weekend, although there is nothing wrong with that! If my friends and I were both home visiting family over a holiday we made sure to at least grab a cup of coffee together to catch up. Maybe you’re in their area for a business trip…make the effort to meet up! It doesn’t have to be for dinner but maybe you can get together at a park and go for a jog together.
- It’s always important to share a laugh together. Remember something from your past that’s hysterical? Well let them know you were thinking about it! Share common humor and find something funny? Take a picture and send it to them. Laughter opens the heart and allows love to enter the space created.
- Don’t force anything. People will go in and other of your life. It took me a long time to be okay with this. I tended to only let in people I trust, and then I used to place an expectation on them that requires their total dedication to the friendship. My heart was broken many times by unwavering, fickle friends but I don’t regret anything because I learned the greatest lesson of all. No matter the distance, no matter the time of day, no matter how long it’s been since the last time you talked, true friends will always be there for you.