How to Keep Your Long-Distance Friendships Hot

I have a lot of BFFs (or what some on my Facebook page have deemed “breasties”.) Some of them I’ve known since my teens and some more recently in my Mommy years, and I love them all.

But unfortunately, I move around. A lot. Or they get married and start a life somewhere besides where we went to college (I know, shocking.)

So maintaining those friendships can be tough. Add in multiple kids, work schedules, family issues and everything else life throws at you, and it can be hard to stay in touch.

I am committed though, and as my friends know I will stalk them through Google and other forms of social media to wherever they are to stay connected.  Yes, once I decide I want you in my life, there’s really no getting rid of me. I’m like the herpes of friends.

 I’ll admit though, it takes some effort. Here’s a few ways I keep my long distance friendships hot:

Communicate often, no matter what the medium. I try to talk live on the phone as often as possible, but we all know that life gets out of control sometimes which is why I’ll turn to texting. Or Facebook. Or email. Or smoke signal. I could probably add Skype or FaceTime on here too, but I hate the way my wrinkles show up on the screen.

Honestly, I’ve felt the closest to my long-distance girl friends when I keep them abreast of the mundane aspects of my life, just as I did when we lived local. Sometimes that is a texting of a photo of a case of wine I bought at Costco or posting a Facebook article about living with a Nutella addiction. This type of communication reminds each of you why you were friends in the first place.

Share. Even when you think they don’t care. When you aren’t around someone a lot, you forget that you may be missing important events in their life. Nothing draws a wedge into a friendship like thinking your girl friend doesn’t care about what’s going on with you. But suck it up. Don’t put all the weight of the friendship on the other person’s shoulders. Tell her what’s going on with you even if she doesn’t ask. If she cared once, she’ll care now.

But don’t always do all the talking. Sometimes I may or may not dominate a conversation by chewing on my girl friend’s ear about how upset I was at my daughter’s teacher or that the cable guy cancelled my appointment three times in a row so I didn’t get to see the finale of the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills (I have huge problems over here.) So I try to limit my rants, and then immediately ask about my friend — or her kids or her job or her marathon training. I try to ask specific questions so I can keep current on any issues she may be going through, which keeps our connection going strong.

K.I.S.S. Keep your mind out of the gutter people. I mean: keep it simple, stupid! Some people don’t want to call or e-mail because they think they need to have at least an hour to have a proper phone conversation or write a three-page e-mail. Not the case. The point is to keep the connection flowing, not add to your to-do list.

Make plans — and commit — to meet. Two words: Girls Weekends. The mere act of planning a get together will assure that you keep your sister from another mister top of mind. Disney trips are great, but nothing replaces the joy of seeing your bestie, and if you’re lucky, your kids and spouses (if they have to come) will enjoy it as well.

Accept that they will cheat on you. Yes, your best friend may soon find another best friend. She may even drink wine with them at your special time. It hurts, it’s painful, and it sucks. But don’t you want them to be happy?

Unless your bestie’s new friend is like Helen from Bridesmaids, there’s probably enough room in her life for both of you. Change happens, but your friendship doesn’t always have to suffer because of it.

Forgive and forget. Birthdays may be missed, phone calls won’t be returned and plans may get messed up. But take comfort in the fact that you can’t change your history and your friendship will always be there as long as the both of you are willing to cultivate it.

Support like your local. Buy girl scout cookies from your friend’s daughter, support her son’s basketball fundraiser, watch the same shows, share movie reviews, send a recipe. Don’t forget why you were friends in the first place.

And don’t keep score. I think most of my friends will tell you that I do a pretty good job at staying in touch, and I would say that my friends are pretty mediocre at it (just kidding!) But don’t keep a running tally of who calls who more, who sent the last gift, and who travelled where. Life sometimes runs like the tide — times when one friend may have more time for phone calls and times when another has more financial resources to travel. Invest in the friendship in whatever way you can and it will all even out in the end.

Some may think I’m crazy for focusing so much of my time on friends that I rarely see, but I don’t know how to live my life any other way. How do you keep your far-away friendships going strong?

Whitney Fleming

www.playdatesonfridays.com

 

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