Surviving the long distance friendship(s)

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Out of my top 5 insta bridesmaids who I am in a long distance friendship with, the one who lives the closest to me is still 893 miles away. So, I guess you could say I've learned to 'master' long distance friendships...and no I am not talking about acquaintances. I am talking about full fledged friendships with a meaty history who I have at one point been a complete tool around, broke down and cried, screamed for joy, or have had an all out brawl with and then 5 minutes later everything was perfectly okay. They've helped me at my worst and shined with me at my best.

With several of my peers and within my own circle of friends getting ready to transition into a new location, I figured I'd add in my penny or two about surviving long distance friendships. You're in luck, it could be worse- it could be a long distance romantic relationship. So, for starters, let's all be grateful it's people who we don't plan on walking down the aisle with.

Sounds odd, but sometimes I am comfortable with geographical distance in friendships. Although it totally and completely sucks around holidays, birthdays, or days you want to celebrate or whine with wine....long distance friendships do have their perks.

Perks & Tips for Survival:
Perk: You may not see each other as often or talk as much, but when you do talk you make it meaningful.

Tip: Don't have unrealistic expectations. Stop...Just stop. Trust me, I've tried and it fails every time. This is the toughest when you are moving away from 'every day' best friends. It will feel odd at first, but give your friendship time to transition into a new rhythm.

Perk: Technology makes it all work. iphone group messages are ummm godsent. I can keep up with all my favorite people easily. Also, snapchat, skype, facetime...we can all agree these are friendship savors!

Tip: Don't be a snot when you can't talk (I say this from experience, Sorry KT, Tia, & Caitlin). It's going to happen. With several different time zones to juggle, setting up weekly or even monthly chats can be its own piece of work- so don't blame the other person for not having time for you. Chances are they've thought the same thing about you before too.

Perk: You will ALWAYS have a place to travel with friend(s) all over. So, start saving!

Tip: Despite distance, friendships are still a two way street. Both parties must put in effort to make it work. Granted there will be times when one person can put more effort in where the other can't...but always make an effort..and if it's feeling a little lopsided, KINDLY speak up.

Perk: Separation makes you more thankful you're friends. You are less likely to take advantage of them and them of you.

Tip: You are busy. So no, neither of you have just means you create time. Utilize your time well. If you're in the car for a longer drive, make that phone call. If you're in an airport, send them a text message to let them know you'd like to catch up. Remember birthdays, and never ever be afraid to check in with them no matter how early or late it is their time. --> Before I go to bed I check all of my texts or missed calls and no matter how late it is, I make sure to call or text back to let them know I got their message and answer whatever they are asking.

Tip: Respect their newfound space and allow them to make friends. It can be hard to hear your best friend 'replace' your role as every day best friend, but believe it or not it is healthy for them and for you...because chances are you're doing the same thing.

Terk (Tip + Perk): Send each other gifts via snail mail. For some reason a little distance means rad gifts and the like. Seriously, some of my favorite presents have been since some of my friends and I moved apart.

Bottom line, if you're actual friends, you will find a way to make it work. I hope this helps save you some time from worry, stress, or fear of the long distance friendship(s).

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