Whether your favorite colleague has moved out of town to start a new job or one of your lifelong buddies has met and married someone from the other side of the world, you probably have at least one or two distant friends. Maintaining a friendship across the miles requires a little work and creativity, but it is certainly an achievable goal. Keep the following helpful tips in mind.
Video chat when you can
Whether you use Skype or opt for an equivalent program, try to find a piece of software that allows you to have ‘face-to-face’ conversation with your distant friends in an affordable and effective way. This type of interaction is typically more fun and rewarding than talking on the phone, as it helps to maintain familiarity, but if video chat is not feasible than regular phone calls will certainly go some way towards helping you stay close.
Send regular emails
It doesn’t take long to type your latest news into an email and ask some pertinent questions about your friend’s life. This is the perfect way to stay in touch when you’re very busy with work or family obligations, as even a short email reminds your friend that you care and helps to make sure that you stay abreast of the latest developments. In many ways, short and regular emails are probably more nourishing for a friendship than rare, lengthy messages.
Make sure you remember important dates
Remembering birthdays and anniversaries can help to affirm that you always keep your distant friends in mind and still care a great deal. A text message, email, phone call or card saying ‘happy birthday’ or ‘congratulations’ will send a positive and affirming message.
Send something in the mail
In such an electronically oriented society, receiving letters and packages has become more exciting due to its rarity. To brighten a friend’s day and help to ensure that your bond stays strong, send a handwritten letter with your latest news, mail a postcard while on vacation, or fill a small package with a few thoughtful gifts.
Plan trips when you can
Even if you can only leave your current location for two days or a long weekend, making plans to see distant friends will help to keep you close and give you something to look forward to when you miss spending time together in person. If there is a reason why you can’t plan a trip for the foreseeable future, be honest about why and ask if there’s any chance that your friend might be able to visit you instead.
Send text messages
If you can send messages to a distant friend without each message costing a fortune, little texts can make a big difference. For example, tell a friend from college when you see something that reminds you of an old class that you attended, or randomly reminisce about a hilarious in-joke with someone who really understands your sense of humor.