How To Keep The Love Alive With Your Long-Distance Besties
Friendships are vital to our well-being. Here's how to make the bestie love last when you're in far-flung cities.
Largely thanks to technology, the concept of long-distance love has become significantly less daunting. Whether you’re attending schools spread far apart or chasing that dream job that takes you across the country, there are plenty of us who aren’t living side-by-side with our SOs. There are even more articles advising us all on how to survive the stretch. But what happens when it’s not a long-distance relationship you’re trying to maintain, but a friendship–or 20?
Having relocated from my hometown in Scotland to London, England, five years ago, I left behind the only friends I’d ever known in order to build my career. Now I’m preparing to move again—this time, over 5,000 miles away to Los Angeles. And I’m happy to say that those same friends are still blowing up my WhatsApp every day.
But here’s the thing: friendships are relationships that need maintenance—maybe not in all the same exact ways as a romantic relationship, but they still require commitment and love in order to make them work. So what can we do to make sure the (arguably) most meaningful and enjoyable relationships in our lives survive the distance? As a frequent mover and successful friendship-keeper, here are a few things I’ve learnt along the way:
Know your time zones
The further away you live from your circle, the trickier it can be to keep in touch, thanks to those pesky time differences. Right now, I’m close enough to be on the same schedule as my friends, but in a month I’ll be eight hours behind my besties, going to bed when they’re arriving at the office.
Add your old homeland time zone to the world clock on your phone, as well as your current location and any frequent travel spots. This will save you from having to do a lot of complicated math when you want to check in. You’ll find it especially useful around daylight savings time, which only some places participate in, because that’s just a numbers headache waiting to happen.
Sure, Facebook sends you birthday alerts, but what about your friends who don’t have their DOB on their profiles? And all the wedding anniversaries/baby birthdays/first days on the new job that social media doesn’t alert you to? There’s nothing worse than forgetting to send a close friend some good vibes, especially when you don’t get to see them all that often, so iCal or write down all the big occasions. That kind of thoughtfulness goes a long way in keeping bonds strong.
Old-school mail > email
Now, I’m not talking about using snail mail every time you want to hit up the squad, but there’s just a certain specialness in the exchange of writing and receiving physical letters. Think about it: How much do you love getting real mail when it’s anything other than bills? Invest in a cute writing set and some stamps, and don’t be lazy in using them, whether it’s a birthday or just a random Tuesday.
Meet in the middle
When you’re the one who moves away, you generally end up visiting your friends more than they visit you, because chances are you also have family or other ties in the city you left behind. In the beginning, your crew will probably visit you a decent amount until the novelty of your new home and their new crash pad wears off. But there’s a lot to be said about meeting in the middle, on turf that neither of you have explored before, and turning visits into full-blown vacations. Drop a pin on a map, Skyscanner those flights and off you go.
Don’t expect all friendships to last forever
But know that’s not necessarily a bad thing, either. When you move away, you quickly realize who’s returning the effort and who’s only in touch when you make the first move. But rather than be sad about the drifters, I personally see it as a good way to find out who your true BFFs are. And they will be the ones sending you the dumbest, funniest memes via WhatsApp on the daily, no matter how far you move.
Words: Jennifer Lynn
Photos: Daria Kobayashi Ritch