We all know how hard long distance relationships can be. Trust me, i've been there - from late night Skype calls with 10 hours time difference, to not seeing one another for 3 months at a time, long distance is tough. But i'm not just talking about LDRs with your lover - long distance relationships with your best friends can be just as challenging.
While a LDR involves you and your significant other, LDFs involve you and multiple people. And believe me, that's a whole lot of Whatsapp/Facebook/Skype chats all at one time! I'm not saying that one is any easier than the other, because they both require work. But, like a distance relationship with your partner, I do think there are a few key principles to follow to make surviving a long distance friendship that bit easier.
For a little background, I've been long distance with my girlfriends for a total of 3 years now. They're all living in different areas of England, and i've been away since November 2014.
The first stint of our LDF was when I studied in Paris a few years ago, but the time difference/distance to England wasn't too bad and I'd see my girls every couple of months. Now i'm in Canada, we only see each other a couple of times a year, and the 8 hour time difference can sometimes mean Skype calls & chats are tricky.
Despite this, I'm just as close with my best friends as I was when we saw each other every day, and although the distance is hard, it's nothing that our friendship can't handle.
Ultimately, friendships require work, regardless of whether you live 5 miles away or 5,000. But surviving a long distance friendship is absolutely doable, as long as you're both willing to put in the effort.
Here are a few ways to make sure your friendship stays strong, despite being miles, mountains, and oceans apart.
Make time for one another
We're all busy and we all have our own lives, and making time for one another is easier said than done sometimes. But if you want your long distance friendship to work, you have to give your bestie your time. Even if all you can manage is a quick 5-minute phone call in your lunch break, that's better than nothing and every little helps in keeping your bond strong and solid. Let them know when you're thinking of them and keep each other in the loop with what's going on.
It's also important to recognize that no two friendships are the same. Just because you Skype one best friend twice a week, it doesn't mean the one you WhatsApp call once a month loves you any less, or vice versa! You've got to respect each other's schedules and find your own routine to match both of your lives. Long distance isn't easy, so you've got to make time for one another and find what works for you.
Be interested in what they're doing
I think this rule applies to all friendships, not just LD ones. A friendship has to be reciprocal for it to work, and a part of that is displaying an interest in what your bestie is doing. They might be living a completely different life to you, or perhaps they're doing the thing that you've always wanted to do. But whatever it is, if it's important to your friend, it should be important to you, regardless of whether it interests you or not. Having support from your friends is one of the loveliest feelings, so a little interest goes a long way.
Share the special moments
The sad reality is that there will be many special moments that you'll miss when you're long distance - birthdays, graduations, housewarmings, engagements, and maybe even weddings. Honestly, it sucks. So, if going back home for every celebration isn't possible (which it probably isn't, unless you've got mega $$$), then you need to just find alternative ways to be there with your friends and share their moments.
It was my best friend's graduation a few months ago so I was a little sad that I couldn't be there to celebrate with her, but one of the girls sent me Snapchat stories to keep me in the loop and part of the day. It wasn't quite the same as being there, of course, but it was so nice to feel like I was a part of it and involved with the celebrations. Long distance means you have to wing it, and even though you can't be there physically, joining in via Snapchat or Skype is better than not being present at all.
Be there for them
One of the hardest things about being far away is when your friend needs you and you can't physically be there with them. Whether it's hormonal times of the month, break ups, or something worse, it's so hard when you can't be their shoulder to cry on and give them that big, squishy hug that they need.
But, just because you can't be with them in person, that doesn't mean you can't be there for them in other ways. Skype call them, send them a bunch of flowers, send them a funny meme on Facebook to cheer them up, or simply just let them know that you're there at the end of the phone. Long distance friendships are all about compromise and doing what you can to stay close despite the distance, so even the smallest of gestures will make a difference.
Accept that sometimes, you just grow apart
This isn't a point that I want to write, but I won't pretend that all long distance friendships last the long haul. Unfortunately, you won't be able to maintain a LDF with everyone. Just like some long distance relationships don't work out, not all friendships do either. It's only natural to grow apart especially as you grow older & become more busy with your lives, and it's something that happens whether you live around the corner or on opposite sides of the world.
Your interests will change - and as will your friends' - and if growing apart has occurred mutually over time, accept that it's something that just...happens. That doesn't mean though that you can't still support each other or send kind words now and then, as even though you may have drifted apart, that doesn't mean the love isn't there.
Plan fun trips
As much as I miss my best friends, visiting one other is always SO much fun! I've had my girlfriends come and visit me in Paris & Vancouver, and even though the distance sucks sometimes, it creates new opportunities to do things together that didn't exist before. Obviously, it's difficult to get together as much as you would with a long distance partner, and you can't simply jet off and see them whenever you want, but a little adventure together is always fun. Plus, when you do finally reunite, you'll pick up right where you left off and that's the most beautiful feeling in the world.
Don't get jealous
If either you or your friend has moved away, there's a real good chance that new friends will be added to the equation. This is completely normal and you can't expect your bestie to not make new friends. A girl needs her girl time (I know I do!) so seeing your BFF grow close with other people is something you have to accept and get used to. If you find yourself getting jealous or anxious, just be honest with your friend and let her know how you're feeling. There's enough love to go around, no matter how many new friends come into the picture, and don't ever think that a new set of friends means you've been replaced or forgotten! You both need space to grow if your LDF is going to survive the long haul.
Although long distance is hard, that doesn't mean you can't have a close and long-lasting friendship for the years to come. I honestly think that distance adds another dimension to your friendship (in a good way), no matter how close or far apart you are. Being away from one another means you never take each other for granted, the reunions are always so much fun, and you realize just how much you love each other! Distance tests the strength of your relationship - and unfortunately, not all will make it - but the ones that do will be the friendships that you have for life.
I love my friends more than anything and although being apart is hard, I honestly don't know what i'd do without them. It is shitty sometimes when Skype's cutting out or all I want is a hug from my best friend, but i'd do anything for them and I know they feel the same. Plus, the fun reunions are always a bonus - don't you agree? 🙂
What are your best tips for surviving a long distance friendship? I'd love to hear about your experience with LDFs or distance relationships with your lover, so drop me a comment below & tell me what you think! xx