Hello! Welcome Back! I hope this week is treating you well. We are getting closer to Christmas and I’m starting to realize just how much I still have left to do. Biggest thing being that I need to buy a gift for my best friend and niece who live across the country. This might not seem like a problem but, it’s all about buying it at the right time so that they don’t get them too late or too early. I’ve been trying to think of the perfect gift for her because, this past year of our friendship we’ve really built a bond that is irreplaceable and I want her to know that. While thinking of the perfect gift I got the idea to share with you mine & my best friends top 3 tips on how to make a long distance friendship work. As we grow older more and more of our friendships come with distance attached and while no friendship should be so much work that it feels like a chore, it’s still no easy task to make a long distance friendship last.
To me this is the most important thing about being in a long distance friendship. You need to put in the effort to make it work. You can’t expect the friendship to last if you are never putting in your time and energy to make it work. If only one person is putting in the effort they are going to feel under appreciated (as they should) and they are going to stop trying. I’ve had it happen in other friendships, I’ve tried and tried but nothing seemed good enough so I stopped trying. You have to but in the effort to make the friendship work around both of your schedules. Talk to one another and plan out when you can set aside time to catch up. If you have to travel to one another, put in equal effort to see each other. For my long distance friendship, we have to fly to see one another. She’s flown to me, I’m flying to her for her wedding this summer and as we grow older and more financially stable we will go back and forth on who goes where. If you are unable to afford traveling to your friend, when they travel to you make the cost less for them. Allow them to stay at your home, treat them to meals etc. Making it so they don’t have to put out extra money for a place to stay and food is a really good way of meeting them in the middle.
To go off my previous tip, you have to be understanding when it comes to long distance friendships. This was the downfall of my toxic friendship, I wasn’t understand that her world didn’t revolve around me. Obviously other factors went into why I had a hard time being understanding that’s why it was toxic but with growth and a sense of security in a friendship that issue isn’t present in any of my friendships now. It’s so important to know that, while you are a big part of each other’s lives you aren’t each others whole life and you still have your own life to live. Things come up, time zones interfere, finances get in the way of seeing one another and that’s okay. I can’t tell you the amount of times I have fallen asleep texting my best friend, honestly it happened just last night and every time I apologize for it she doesn’t get mad. She simply understands that we are in different time zones, and that when we’re talking it’s always later in the day for me than it is for her. It goes the same way for me, there will be times when she doesn’t answer me and she will apologize because she’s getting her daughter ready for bed or spending time with her significant other who she rarely gets to see. In those instances I remind her that it’s okay and to take care of what she needs to, I’ll be here when she is finished.
I can’t express how important it is to be open with one another in a long distance friendship. Depending on what kind of distance your friendship holds, it’s possible that the only way the other person is able to be present is by you being open with them. For my best friend and I, 80% of our friendship happens through us texting one another meaning we have full control over what we tell each other and what we don’t. If we wanted to we could keep the not so pretty parts of our lives to ourselves. However that doesn’t make for conversations with substance nor does it leave either one with the desire to keep up the friendship going. No one is going to want to talk to someone who they feel like they have to pull information out of. We all have busy lives, your time and your energy isn’t a free for all, it needs to be earned by people show they appreciate it. Honestly, not being open with one another is just a waste of everyone’s time. The whole point of friendship is to have someone there for you when you are going through something, difficult or not. People can’t be there for you or celebrate with you if you don’t tell them things.
When I was planning out this post, I thought it would be cool to have both perspectives of what makes a long distance friendship work, because like I mentioned friendship isn’t meant to be one sided. Her feelings on what makes friendships work are just as important as mine. So I texted my best friend, Keira and asked her what her top 3 times to making a long distance friendship work, these were her answer
1. Effort – making sure to be involved in each others lives. Both sides putting in effort to talk and keep each other as active parts of our lives. Not as if it’s a chore- every friendship takes effort, I mean more of making sure there is time in a busy world effort! And actively seeing how things are going in the areas of our lives we are most passionate about or struggling with.
2. Hearing and encouraging… there’s a big difference between listening and hearing. When we actually hear what the other is saying it makes them feel understood and can even offer relief, even if its just venting! And when we hear each other it allows us to respond in the way needed, encouragement, love, Bible verses, etc.
3. Remembering how much of a blessing the friendship is. I often think of how blessed we are to have such a strong bond while were across the country. It makes me feel so much comfort and less alone in this world that forces us to feel that way too often. Our friendship is such a huge piece of my life and we are very good at remembering that and expressing our mushies. And if there is nothing that seems it can comfort me.. you always can! Its times of just sitting in bed and smiling or even tears coming to the eyes of remembering how blessed we truly are.
Okay so first off, the last one did actually make me tear up. We’re good at making each other cry happy tears. Clearly, we agree on the first tip, which is why I stated that it was the most important. As for her other two tips, I absolutely love them. I think it’s so important to remind each other how important you are to one another. We hear a lot about love languages, and most of the time people just associate them with romantic relationships but they are just as important in friendships. Luckly for us, our love languages are the same. We both express love through words and gifts. Just the other week I sent her a gift just as a thank you for being my friend type of thing and I have a gift on the way from her as we speak. What she said about there being a difference between listening and hearing really stuck with me. Of course there comes a level of knowing someone to be able to really hear what they are truly saying but you also have to be open to hearing it. With things like mental illness, physical illness, suicidal thoughts and other struggles we may go through it’s important to not just listen to what your friends are saying but to actually HEAR what they are saying. Analysis their tone, their temperament and use that knowledge to assist them the best you can, regardless of the physical distance between you. Yes it’s going to be painful and hurtful to know they are going through something difficult, but offering them a judgement freezone in a world full of judgement could save them.
Friendships aren’t always rainbows and sunshine, my best friend and I have had our ups and down. We’ve known each other since we were 4 years old, we were neighbors growing up with one another. Of course our friendship wasn’t going to be perfect there were times when we’ve been super present and times when we haven’t. That’s okay it’s natural, but it’s about making the conscious decision to be present in each other’s lives and not holding grudges on what happened in the past. For us, being in each other’s lives is more important than the distance or the silly drama that happened when we were 15. We know that our personailities work with one another, and that our bond is strong enough to have withstood the growing pains and distance. If you find someone who makes you feel like they are right there with you while they are thousands of miles away, hold onto them forever.
Have you ever been in a long distance friendship? What are your biggest tips to make it work? Let me know in the comments! Thanks for stopping by, until next time…
Be Nice. Be Good.