My dad used to say that as “an adult” you can consider yourself lucky if you can count your close friends on one hand.
When I was in high school, I felt like this sentiment was a tad pessimistic. I mean, when you’re a teenager, making a wide circle of friends is an easy task. Flash forward ten years and I find what he said to be absolutely true. I’m fortunate to have plenty of casual friends and acquaintances – but true, deep, meaningful friendships? The kind where you can call each other at 1AM just to chat about nothing and everything all at once? Yep, I can most definitely count those on one hand. And I’m 100% okay with that.
My three best girlfriends and I have been friends for over nine years. We all went to the same high school but didn’t really bond until our first year in college. Throughout the years we’ve been pretty inseparable. Between breakups, graduation, career changes, road trips, parties, and other countless adventures, these girls have been by my side through it all. Most importantly, we have always supported and empowered each other to chase our dreams and live our best lives.
When I made the decision to move from our hometown in Florida to New York City last year, I was sad to leave my friends behind. I was worried that things would change and with the new physical distance, there would be an emotional one as well.
I’m happy to say, I was wrong.
“True friendship isn’t about being inseparable. It’s being separated and nothing changes.” -Anonymous
Long distance friendships can be difficult but they’re also incredibly rewarding. Below are a few tips that I’ve gathered from personal experience and I hope they help you cultivate meaningful friendships that truly go the distance.
Accept That Different Isn’t Bad
When you go from living with one of your girlfriends to moving over 1,000 miles away, your friendship will obviously be put to the test. The ease of proximity is erased and the lack of face time can be hard. This being said, you’ll have a much easier time maintaining a strong friendship if you go into it with a positive mindset. You may no longer have your late night chats over pizza and wine in the same room, but you can still have them over Skype. It’s important to accept that while the forms of communication may change, the heart behind it all still remains.
Pick Up The Phone
In the age of Snapchat and texting, having an actual phone conversation isn’t always on the top of our to-do list. Oh trust me, I’m a huge fan of texting. It’s quick, convenient and a little bit… impersonal? You can get by with words on a screen when you live in the same town but when you’re long-distance there’s nothing that can replace a phone call. Find out what works best for each of your friends. Some may need calls to be scheduled in advance while others are open to quick 5 minute chats at random times throughout the week. It may be slightly tricky but a little effort goes a long way.
Send Snail Mail
Whoa, snail mail? Like, writing things on a piece of paper and having the post office deliver it? Crazy. I know it’s a bit unconventional and it takes some forethought, but the few times that my girlfriends sent me things I literally squealed in delight. It doesn’t have to be often. It doesn’t have to be anything big. Simply taking that extra time out of your busy schedule to personally send something can really brighten your friend’s day.
Share The Little Moments
Whether you’re close together or far apart, sharing little “real life” moments are the key to connection. Luckily technology has made it incredibly easy to share snippets of your life as they happen. Whether you choose to pick up the phone, send a text, snap a video or even leave a comment on their Instagram photo, find a way to share all those “laugh out loud” moments as they happen.
Make The Most Of The Time You Have Together
One of the most rewarding aspects of long-distance friendships is the excitement you’ll feel when you’re reunited. Since I went from seeing my girlfriends multiple times a week to multiple times a year, we do our best to make the most of each and every time we’re together. This takes extra consideration for our busy schedules and of course some additional planning, but it’s so fulfilling to be able to have girl time over dinner and chat away as if you’ve never been gone.
On that note – I just want to send a huge, heartfelt thank you to my friends, Nicole, Erica and Chrissy who braved the chilly 55 degree weather (yep, Florida has cold snaps too) to capture all these photos with me.
When you are lucky enough to find a sisterhood of inspiring women who make you laugh, listen without judgement and always support you, it’s important to keep them close no matter how far the distance may be. I’m happy to have left bits of my heart in Florida with these three women who always put a smile on my face.
“You will never be completely at home again, because part of your heart always will be elsewhere. That is the price you pay for the richness of loving and knowing people in more than one place.”
– Miriam Adeney