February 23, 2018

5 Easy Tips for Maintaining Long Distance Friendships.

     Hello and happy Friday! We've made it to the end of another week... and that also means another week closer to being done with WINTER in Vermont! Now that is something to be smiling about. ­čśŐSomething that I've been reflecting about throughout this whole winter season this year is how thankful I am for my best girlfriends. I am feeling blessed to have finally met some sweet girls here in Vermont, but even more thankful for my best friends out-of-state who have continued to be an active and involved part of my life, despite the distance. 


      One thing that I was really nervous about when I moved to Vermont was losing many of my close friendships from college, broadcasting school, and bloggers in Charlotte, or having things become really different. A close friendship is similar in some ways to a romantic relationship in that distance can make an impact, and I was so nervous. After 10 months- I'm here to report that while some aspects of friendships do change with significant distance, your true friendships will be able to withstand any type of distance and evolve into something even stronger. They might be a bit different than what they used to be, but they will still be there. Those that aren't still apart of your life probably weren't right in the first place, or meant to be in your life for a long period of time.


     Anyways- I thought for today's post I'd share my five top tips for how I maintain all of my out-of-state friendships and keep them strengthened and strong despite the distance!! I'd love to know if you've used any of these tips with your BFFs:



5 Tips for Long Distance Friendships




     1. Figure out the communication style that works best for each friendship (no two are alike): Modern technology is GREAT in that it allows so many various outlets for staying in touch with people who aren't physically close-by, but it can also be a bit overwhelming given all the different options. Something that I think I've gotten well at here in Vermont is figuring out which communication style works best for each of my long-distance friends, and going forward with that. For example: with my best guy friends from broadcasting school (they're all like my "brothers" in the industry) I don't talk to them as regularly as I do my girlfriends, as I think guy friendships are different that way. When we do catch up, it's over 1-2 hour Facetime chats, and that's what works best for us! I have some close girlfriends that like me, are big texters. That's what works for us, so we text throughout the week, and a couple friends who I talk to non-stop throughout the day. I have one girlfriend from Charlotte who I keep in touch with via snail mail- it's unique and old fashioned, but I so look forward to getting her letters in the mail (and I can always text her if need be too!). Then I have other friends who I DM daily on Twitter by sending them funny memes I come across... these friends and I might not have the chance with our schedules for calls or Facetime chats often, but our DMs are a quick and simple way to let each other know we still care! (And who doesn't love getting a meme during their day?!)



     2. Remember birthdays and other important days in your friends' lives: I am a BIG birthday person. I love to celebrate birthdays with my friends in person especially! One thing that made me sad about my move was knowing it would probably be a long time again before I'd have the chance to celebrate birthdays in person with some of my favorite people. Even if you can't be there physically, don't forget about your friends on their day! Send a gift if your personal budget allows, and if it doesn't, try to at least mail a card. It's easy to find cheap cards (the dollar store has tons!), and it's more about the personal message you write in the card anyways then buying a fancy expensive card. I love to put up pictures of my besties on their birthday on my Instagram Stories and Snapchat, and I'm still big into Facebook timeline posts for birthdays too!
     Along the same lines of birthdays, if your friend has an important anniversary in their life, it will mean the world if you remember it from long distance. In October 2017, it was the one-year anniversary of the conclusion of the painful legal situation I was involved with the year before. Some of my closest friends texted me kind words as they remembered the anniversary, and that meant so much to me on a day filled with many emotions.



     3. Try not to create unrealistic expectations about future visits: THIS is something I definitely need to work on in terms of my long-distance friendships and am still figuring out. #honesty When I first moved from Charlotte and during my early months in Vermont, I promised tons of friends that as soon as time-off kicked in for my job, I'd go visit them. Literally, tons of people- in locations all over the country. While it's great that I have so many wonderful people in my life in different areas that miss me and want to have a visit, it is simply not realistic during a stage of my life when I'm starting my career and have limited PTO to make lots of promises about how I'll be using vacation days. This winter I've had to finally start telling friends that right now I have some things to figure out first and foremost in my life before I can make promises about when visits will be happening. Not being able to promise a visit doesn't mean that you don't love or care about your friends any less, it just means that you're trying to be realistic with them about your current stage of life and that's always best.
      (Of course- by all means DO GET EXCITED if you are able to plan a visit with your long distance friends!! How exciting will that be!)



     4. Fill them in about all the details about your current life: During the times when you do get to catch up in greater detail with long distance friends, whether over a long text conversation, phone call, or Facetime, use those opportunities to really get caught up with each others life. If this person is a close friend, you need to keep the emotional intimacy there even if they aren't physically nearby anymore. I've been very honest with my long distance friends when we do catch up about all aspects of my new life in Vermont: the highs and the lows. I've shared with them about exciting moments on my radio show and new experiences I've had at work, and kept them updated about my personal life here as well (like the church I'm going to and friends I'm making here). I also get honest with my friends and share with them about the struggles I've had since the move, like my homesickness, and other things. My friends do the same with me and keep me updated about their highs and lows. Catching up about serious issues and not just superficial topics really helps to still feel like you're an active part of this person's life!



     5. Never underestimate the power of a SURPRISE: I am a big advocate of surprises. Especially surprise parties... but surprises can come in all shapes and sizes! If you can find ways to occasionally surprise your long distance friends, I promise it'll mean so much to them. Whether it's a surprise care package in the mail, or actually showing up and surprising them in person! One of my favorite friendship memories ever is when I surprised one of my childhood best friends from Maine, Katie, by coming home for an Easter break long weekend one year when I was in college. She had no idea I was coming home, and our other friend Jules and I tricked Katie into picking me up from the bus station after my plane arrived!! (Read about that in this blog post!)



    These are the things that I've found work the best for me here in Vermont to keep in touch with my friends out-of-state! As an absolute a bottom line, I try and Facetime at minimum once every two months with everyone, and more frequently with my closest friends. That has definitely helped me to feel at least somewhat connected and updated with those dear to me.



     I'd love to hear your best long distance friendship tips below in the comments!!




     God Bless,



     xoxo Annaliese












   

16 comments:

  1. I couldn't agree with all of these more! Almost all of my friends are out of state and keeping in touch has kept me sane! Great post!

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  2. Such great tips! One of my best friends and I already live a few hours away and she will soon be moving out of state, which is making me so nervous! I'll have to keep these tips in mind.

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  3. yes yes yes! most of my friendships are long distance! and definitely just try to follow my intuition with checking in and lots of surprises!

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  4. These are all amazing tips! Since graduating, I always try to stay caught up and involved in my college friends' lives since I'm not there anymore!

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  5. "Those that aren't still apart of your life probably weren't right in the first place, or meant to be in your life for a long period of time." I so needed to hear that today. Thank you!

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  6. These are such great tips, Annaliese! Some of my closest friends are long distance friendships and I LOVE the surprise package idea!

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  7. it's so difficult maintaining friendships over the years, esp when we start to move away. these are excellent!

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  8. I love this post! It can be a challenge to maintain long distance friendships but I find these are several of the things I do to maintain friendships with my friends who live far away!

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  9. i love this! and i totally agree <3 long distance anything is always hard, but friendships in particular sometimes, especially when you are moving to a city where you know no one :)

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  10. Hahaha ahh I love all of your tips!! And I'm glad I caught your post since you mentioned it on mine last week! I love your tip about being realistic about seeing each other in person. I'm having the hardest time right now because my friends are so spread out and I just can't afford to travel right now to see them, and it stinks!

    Logan | signedlogan.com

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  11. Aww, my best friend and I are long distance too - she lives in Oregon and I live in Washington, DC and we've managed to stay friends for the past 5 years since she moved! These are all great tips - especially about keeping them informed regularly!

    xo Deborah
    Coffee, Prose, and Pretty Clothes

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  12. I have a lot of long-distance friendships and I maintain them in different ways. One of my friends loves getting video snaps of me talking and updating me on life. Another one loves being tagged in pics on instagram!

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  13. I absolutely love that you have a friend you keep in touch with via snail mail. Keeping long distance friendships definitely is hard and I'm so glad you have such great friends that you can keep in touch with on a daily basis!

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  14. These are such great tips! I have a few friends from grad school and one from childhood that are all long-distance, and all of these are key to keep them going!

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  15. I'm a big advocate of surprises too! I keep an ever-growing list of my friends' addresses so I can randomly send them cards and love in the mail whenever I get a chance. I love these tips so much. As a military brat, keeping up with long-distance friendships was always tough growing up.

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