Everyone is familiar with the issue of long-distance relationships and the difficulties partners go through while being apart. However, being apart from your friends can be just as hard and painful, here are a few tips on how to make the best out of this tricky situation.
DO make an effort to stay in touch. When either you, your friend, or both move away for work or university you will of course say that you’ll be in touch — but in reality you sometimes need to make a conscious effort to actually stick to that promise. Make time to call or text and make sure that you and your friend are on the same page when it comes to keeping in touch, this way you can avoid any tension or disappointment.
DON’T be upset if you don’t talk every day, even if you did before. Moving away is a stressful and challenging time, especially when you move to a new place or even country. It is a big life change and people need some time to find their new rhythm. If your friend is not available every minute like they used to be, don’t get annoyed; they probably have a lot on their mind and are not just trying to avoid you. If they are a true friend, your friendship will remain just as strong, even if you no longer talk 24/7.
DO make good use of video chats. Texting is convenient and quick and occasional calls are nice too, but there’s nothing quite like seeing each other, even if it’s only virtually, when you’re catching up. There are so many different platforms out there that I’m sure you’ll find one you like. You can even eat or have a cup of coffee together while video chatting, so it might feel a bit more like the meet ups you were used to.
DON’T be disappointed when they make new friends. When moving to a new place where you barely know anyone it is completely normal to want to make new friends. So if your friend happens to make new friends, that doesn’t mean that they are abandoning you, they just need to build a new support group — but that doesn’t mean kicking you out of it. Try not to be upset when your friend doesn’t have time to talk to you because they’re meeting someone else, just try to be happy for them, they would want the same for you.
DO watch things together online. You might not be able to go to the cinema together but luckily technology now allows you to simultaneously watch a film together. This means that you simply both watch a film at the same time and can talk about it, sharing the experience almost as if you were in the same room. This is for example a free website through which you can watch films or series from streaming platforms together.
DON’T force conversation. There might come days where you don’t have anything to say and that is okay, there is no point in forcing a conversation just because you feel like you have to. Because you’re no longer living in the same area it is completely normal that some conversation topics are simply no longer shared.
DO send them a present for their birthday. If you don’t see them on their birthday it is a good idea to send them a small present or card, just to show that you are thinking of them. This can be done on other special occasions, like Christmas, too. A little parcel in the mail is always nice and usually brightens one’s day.
DON’T forget that they are just as busy as you are. Whether it’s work, university or a personal problem, there may be times where one or both of you might be very busy or stressed, and talking can be a bit too much during that time. That is okay and you should accept that, give them or ask for some space and just come back when everything has calmed down again, it won’t destroy your friendship.
DO go and visit them. If you can visit your friend, they can show you around their new place and you can spend some time together even if it is just for a weekend. You’d be surprised how quickly you reconnect and feel like you’ve never been apart. Maybe, in turn, they can come and visit you the next time.
DO make use of online games. If you liked to play board or card games together before, then this might be a good option for you. There are now a variety of games available online which you can play together while being apart. It is a good alternative to simply having a chat and a fun way to pass an evening. This website is one of many offering this kind of entertainment.
DON’T forget about time zones. If your friend moved quite far away and lives now in a different time zone, you have to keep that in mind when organising phone calls and the like. It would be very inconvenient if you woke them up in the middle of the night.
DO fix one time a year where you will definitely meet up no matter what. Seeing your friends can be challenging enough when you live in the same place, but it is even harder when you live miles and miles apart. The only way you’ll be sure to meet up is to fix a time and make it a yearly tradition, this could be a short trip over summer or just a meal around Christmas time. No matter what you pick make sure to stick to it, declare it blocked out time for your friend and don’t let anything come between you.
DON’T be afraid of change. Your friendship will unavoidably change but that doesn’t have to be a bad thing. You might find that your friendship grows even stronger because you’re now overcoming all these challenges. Just be open for change and see what happens.
DO reach out. Even after not talking for months it will be nice to reach out and just ask how they are, it shows your friend that you’re thinking about them and will probably make them happy.