Long-distance friendships have already become a usual part of our hectic life. I am sure all of us have that one friend who left to study abroad, or who moved to another country. Besides, the lockdown restrictions prevented us from seeing our friends in person as often as we used to do in the pre-pandemic world. Although nothing can beat a face-to-face dinner or a nice walk in a park with friends, there are some tips that can help us maintain the bond despite the distance. 

Set a regular date

With a busy schedule, time-zone differences and tasks that unexpectedly pop up at work, it is challenging to make an arrangement and stick to it. However it shouldn’t be an excuse to deny meetings altogether. The issue can be worked out with good communication and some effort. Instead of putting off the meeting with your childhood friend, why don’t you choose a time that can work for both of you.

More is not always merrier

Instead of defaulting to catching up over texts every evening, it is more efficient to discuss the means and frequency of communication. As a psychologist and a friendship expert Dr Irene S Levine stated, “Friends need to talk about their preferred methods of communication”. First of all, it gives you a chance to learn more about what is comfortable for your friend. This information can be crucial for making sure your friends’ needs are taken into consideration and met. Second of all, such open communication strengthens the bond, demonstrating that you care about your friend and you are ready to be flexible. The frequency of contacts is equally significant: while some prefer to stay in sync and receive short messages throughout the day, some like to have weekly chats over the phone.  Additionally, having such conversions will give you a fresh perspective on communication that suits you best: maybe you will find out that voice memos work better that messages or creating a group chat to share memes and funny videos is a nice option. 

Practice empathy  

Let’s face it: both parties in long distance friendship are going to have hurdles to overcome. The one who remains must be sensitive to all additional time demands placed on the friend who has moved out. At the same time, the other friend should be sympathetic to the fact that their friend may feel abandoned. Acknowledging the struggles each friend faces will lead to better communication and understanding.It’s helpful for both friends to offer each other assurance that the friendship is a keeper. 

Remember important dates

Anniversaries and birthdays carry even more weight in long-distance friendships. Although technology might make day-to-day communication possible, on special occasions, extra effort goes a long way.Simply keeping a diary that keeps track of friends’ birthdays and other important dates will make sure nothing slips by you.

Don’t rely on technology alone too much.       

It is easy to have a sense of connectedness through social media, but long-distance friendships – even close ones – may require more conscious effort to maintain.Seek out opportunities for “friendship renewal” to spending face-to-face time together whenever possible. Making an effort, as well as posting, is what keeps a long-distance friendship intact.