The top three phrases written in a high school year book are probably, “Never change!”, “Stay in touch!” and “Have a great summer!” You think you will see your fellow classmates fairly often but the reality is you will only stay in contact with a select few. These are the people you make a priority. The same thing goes for the rest of your life with new acquaintances that can turn into deep friendships. The older you get the busier life gets—in all the best ways. You quickly discover what friends to make time for and which ones will be a, “Never change! Keep in touch!” situation.
Over the last ten years I have moved six times including a cross-country move and an international move. I’m no expert at this but I do have experience in the long distance friendship category. It can be really tragic to have a really amazing friend and when one or both parties move away the friendship fizzles. As someone who has seen friendships fizzle and others thrive here are my basic tips for continuing to have a strong friendship despite time zones.
- Make the friendship a priority. If you are going to call, call. If you are going to text, text. Without some sort of sincere connection there is no breath to the friendship.
- Remember important dates. A true friend knows your birthday. I’m just sayin; They call/text/email/send some sort of message to show the friend they care. And no, a Facebook or Instagram comment doesn’t count.
- Show genuine interest. How is Timmy liking third grade? Did you ever finish your deck? How are your parents? Just being a good listener and question asker goes a loooong way.
- When things are tough they reach out. Last year when we moved to Amsterdam from the U.S. it took almost a month for our furniture to arrive. This meant we were in a completely bare apartment during the month of December. One of my dear friends sent us a fake two-foot Christmas tree with all the decorations. It was the one sign of Christmas in our apartment and a clear indication that we were loved and thought about despite being so far away.
- Alison of The Alison Show said, “Invest in those who invest in you.”This is pure truth. If you are giving your all and getting no reciprocation it isn’t working. Also, remember that to have a good friend you need to be a good friend. No unrealistic expectations.
Some friendships you don’t have to talk for ages and you can pick up right where you left off—it takes something special with no expectations for a friendship like that. The friendships I am currently appreciating the most, however, are the ones where we are Face-timing while doing the dishes. Reading the same books and discussing them when we both finish. When we can’t talk we text or email.
When the words, “Stay in touch!” have actual meaning and sincerity followed by action—that is a friendship worth investing in.
Other posts from our Girlfriends series: