1. It’s hard work, but it’s so worth it.
It really, really is! It’s not easy to balance your life and all of its demands, as well as keeping up with your long-distance friends. Sometimes you don’t even have enough time to cook dinner or run to the gym. But if they are a priority in your life, it’s not that hard. It just shouldn’t be! You might play phone-tag for a few days (or weeks..), or you might have to schedule a phone date with a friend, but ensuring that your friend knows you care about his or her life (the big things as well as daily life!) is critical. It shows you care, and it shows how much you value that friendship. You’re not always going to keep in touch with everyone you’ve ever been friends with, but it’s so worth it to keep in touch with the friends that you do.
2. The phone is your friend.
I’m not the biggest fan of phone calls, but I’ve learned to enjoy lengthy phone calls with friends more and more of the years – necessity demands it! Seeing your long distance friends in person is, of course, ideal, but that can’t always happen. Calling your friends is an excellent way to stay engaged with one another & all that’s going on. It’s so much more convenient, satisfying, and genuine than simply relying on a text or social media (nothing wrong with those, but phone calls are so important, too!). Try Skype or Facetime, if you want. I try to talk to all of my closest friends about once every two weeks, on average. Sometimes it’s a bit longer than that, and sometimes it’s shorter. Figure out what works for you all, and stick to it! Now I so look forward to my phone chats with my dear friends – there’s a reason why I put an effort into maintaining friendships with these people, afterall.
3. Social media doesn’t (really) count.
Social media has lots of perks, but there are also some disadvantages to social media sites when it comes to maintaining genuine friendships. I’m a pretty firm believer in the fact that social media (seeing news via FaceBook, liking a picture on Instagram, etc) doesn’t really count when it comes to maintaining and growing deep relationships. I think it can help, or it can spark a friendship, and it is beneficial to keep up with friends via social media, but it’s not the end all, be all. I would be rather upset if I found out big news from social media first, if it was news from a dear friend. In my opinion, you cannot rely solely on social media avenues to “keep in touch” with friends if you expect them to be lifelong, close friends.
4. Snail mail! Pen pals!
As a Southern girl, I clearly adore the art of sending a handwritten letter. Remembering to send handwritten birthday cards (remembering birthdays is huge!), congratulations cards (new job, new pet, new house, new anything!), engagement/anniversary cards, thinking of you notes, and everything else… it’s so fun, quite simple, and so rewarding. I love the surprise of receiving snail mail, and I imagine others like it just as much as I do. It’s an easy yet special way to show your friends that you’re thinking of them.
5. Plan a reunion.
As much as all of these tips can help you maintain and grow meaningful, genuine friendships, there’s nothing quite like seeing your best friend(s) in person for quality time together – in person. Planning reunions with your closest friends has a plethora of benefits: not only do you have something to plan for & look forward to, but it’s also one of the best feelings in the world when you’re surrounded by the people who just get you. Weddings and babies are marvelous opportunities to reunite with friends, and I love these events so much for this reason! And sometimes you have to set aside a weekend or week-long reunion time with your best friends where you can just be – where you can see each other in person and talk nonstop for hours/days. Reuniting with my best friends is one of the deepest joys in my life, and there’s not much quite like it.