It's not just long distance relationships that are difficult; managing to maintain a long distance friendship can be equally problematical. Life often takes us in different directions from our closest friends, which often results in us living a long way apart. But there are lots of ways to keep the friendship flourishing. Here are some great ways to maintain a long distance friendship.
1. Private Contact
An important factor if you want to maintain a long distance friendship is that you must make private, individual contact with your friend. Facebook has its uses, but if it's your main way of keeping in touch with a good friend, that doesn't say much for how highly you value them. Send them mails that are for their eyes only, not messages for all your contacts to see.
2. Don't Wait Too Long
Some friendships can happily go months without contact, and then you pick up exactly where you left off. Most don't work this way. Leave it too long to get in touch, and your friend will feel neglected. There's also a risk that the longer you wait, the more awkward it feels. You may feel guilty and that puts you off making contact.
Try to take a trip to see your friend, or invite them to visit you. Having a visit from a good friend is an amazing experience. You'll have so much fun! It'll remind you just how important you are to each other. Obviously it's harder to meet up if the distance involves thousands of miles and several countries, but plan meetings as often as you can.
It's easy to keep in phone contact these days, with many companies offering cheap overseas calls. There really is no excuse for not calling your friend! An unexpected call will really cheer them up - and don't forget to call them on their birthday. It will show them how much they matter to you.
5. Video Chats
Video chats are a wonderful way for keeping in touch with long-distance friends. It's not quite the same as chatting to them face to face, but seeing them on screen is the next best thing to meeting up in person. So get yourself a webcam, sign up to Skype, and before you know it hours will have gone by!
This is where social media like Facebook really comes in handy. Sharing photos with your friend can help them feel that you are still part of each other's daily life, especially if it is a picture that you took especially for them. Send them photos of your house, your family and your pets, and even if they've never seen them in person, it will feel more real for them.
7. Make Them Feel Important
If you're going to bother to maintain a long-distance friendship, then it must be something that really matters to you. So show your friend that they mean a lot to you. Make them feel important by remembering significant dates, taking an interest in their life, and doing more than just making minimal contact.
As with your partner, a friendship needs to be kept fresh and worked on. So surprising your friend can really help when you don't see them very often. That doesn't necessarily mean turning up unannounced (unless they would love a surprise visit!). A simple phone call, or an unexpected gift, something small and fun, will cheer your friend up and let them know you are thinking of them.
When talking about long-distance friendships, I've been referring to close friends. These days, you can be "friends" with hundreds of people all over the world. This doesn't take much effort to maintain, whereas a genuine friendship can be tested by distance. So if you want to keep it going, you'll need to put in the effort. Have you ever lost a dear friend through distance?