There is nothing better than a friend who gets you and accepts you just as you are but never lets you stay that way for long. It’s something we all yearn for: being seen, loved, and encouraged. And yet, finding, making and maintaining great friendships as an adult is hard.
So it’s pretty sucky when life separates us from our closest friends. But you don’t have to lose that blessed connection forever. My best friend and I are living proof.
Of the seven years we have been friends, we have only lived in the same county for 3 of them.
And this is how we make it work (and you can, too!):
4 Ways to Nurture Long-Distance Friendships
1) Be Willing to Be Flexible (and give lots of grace)
It is a tad bit ironic that I’m writing this post on the day after I had to cancel zoo plans with Becca and her littles. But after a busy weekend visiting my parent’s for my brother’s graduation, my littles had no business being at a zoo.
We regrettably canceled and drove the 3 hours back home.
This isn’t the first time one of us has canceled a much-anticipated get-together.
Our littles (and life in general) require us to be flexible and gracious.
It is what it is. She loves me no less because of it, and I feel the same about her.
Make an effort to create time to spend together when you can and extend grace if it doesn’t work out.
2) Use Your Resources
If I was writing this post 20 years ago, my suggestions would be drastically different. However, we are blessed with cell phones and computers and the fabulous internet.
We don’t have to rely on snail mail to keep in contact with our long-distance friends.
I needed prayer today, so I sent Becca a private message on Facebook and almost instantly she sees it and writes back to me.
The ability to have live chats with your friends can make it feel like you never left.
Some of my closest friends I have never met in person, but social media, video chat services (Skype, Google Hangouts, etc..), text messages, e-mails, and the lot give us the opportunity to invest in friends across the world.
3) Get Creative
Creativity is especially important if you are of the gift-giving sort, like me.
You most likely aren’t going to be able to hand deliver birthday and Christmas gifts, so do something fun and put together a gift box to mail.
Fill it with all the things you know she loves or surprise her with tickets to an event you will get to go with her.
OR if you are less fuss, like Becca and I, use Amazon Prime’s free shipping to mail it to her. Choose your gifts on Amazon, pick whether or not you want them to wrap it and hit send.
4) Just do it – it’s worth it!
You will reap what you put into it. I know from experience that if a friend is worth it, you will do what it takes to make sure you don’t lose that connection.
I remember being completely humbled when Becca drove 3 hours with her 7-month-old and 3-year-old to meet my newborn in the middle of winter. She made a 6-hour round trip for a 2-hour playdate. I will never forget that.
Some friends are only close for a season, but there are friends that are here for a lifetime, even if they aren’t physically here.
Last month, a dear friend of mine died in a car accident. I hadn’t seen her since my wedding, but I had just talked to her on Facebook messenger the week before.
Although I wish she was still here, I have no regrets about our friendship. I know if I wouldn’t have chosen to put the work into keeping in touch with her, her death would have hit me a lot harder.
I know you’re tired, busy, overwhelmed with life the way it is, but friends help carry the burden not add to it, at least healthy friendships do.
If you get anything out of this, I hope it’s that your friends don’t have to be next door for them to be awesome. All is not lost if your closest pals move away!
What are some of your favorite ways to stay connected with your friends?
PS I would love to connect with you on Facebook! We can be friends, too!
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