When I first moved to Chicago, one of the most exciting things for me was the prospect of meeting new people and making new friends. It was also one of the scariest. While I was trying to establish a life for myself in a new city, I often wondered how would I also make time to maintain the relationships that I had back at home? After a lot of ups and downs – and a few tears, too – I think I’ve finally figured out how to maintain long distance friendships.
One of the most useful things I’ve learned is to discuss and manage the expectations with your friends. In my own life, one of my friends and I went through a short rough patch because we weren’t communicating properly about what the other one needed, and it led to some friction. After we discussed how we both would like to move forward and what we expect from the other person, it was a lot easier for the both of us! You should discuss things like how often you’ll visit, talk vs. text, FaceTime and so many other things that are vital to maintaining a friendship. It’s so funny, but one of my other friends and I joke that we’re basically in a relationship because it can be just as difficult keeping up with and balancing your girlfriends as it is dating a boy!
A good example of managing expectations is if you’re someone who loves to FaceTime, and your friend does not – you guys should communicate about a reasonable way to compromise so that both parties feel appreciated and content.
Find Creative Ways to Connect
Something else that’s been helpful is brainstorming creative ways for you to connect with one another. Recently my friend and I created “The Long-Distance Book Club” because we both love to read and have been wanting to be part of a book club for quite some time! Rather than joining book clubs in our respective cities, doing this together allowed us to not only partake in something we already loved, but gives us just one more thing to connect and chat about!
Look Down the Road
Whenever my friends and I have visits planned – whether it’s me visiting them or them visiting me – it becomes so fun to plan all of the things we want to do! We talk about which restaurants we’ll go to, fun events to attend and everything in between. Having set plans makes the time go by so much faster, and also helps keep the excitement and relationship alive! Even though the plans may be far ahead in the future, you can always adjust and switch up as the time gets closer, but having something to look forward to makes all the difference.
Although it may be difficult, sometimes you have to make sacrifices in order to maintain long distance friendships. Sometimes you’re tired, in a bad mood or a host of other things, but if you’re friends are trying to connect with you – it may not be a bad idea to push those things aside and make time for your friends. Even further, if you’re spending a lot of time with friends in the city you live in, maybe opt to plan a quick trip or meet your other friends somewhere in the middle. While you’ll be missing out at home, you’ll also have the opportunity to see those you haven’t hung out with in a while!
How do you maintain long distance friendships?
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