Moving far from home can be just as exciting as it is terrifying. On the one hand, you have endless opportunities waiting at your doorstep, but, on the other hand, you must leave behind familiar comforts. One of the most difficult things to be removed from, in my opinion, are established friendships. It’s easy to become so comfortable in your routine that you never give a second thought to what life would be like without your friends close by. Distance can bring that reality check on really fast. As depressing as that might be, not all is lost. You can still maintain your friendships from afar and we’re here to give you some ideas on how to do it.
1) Utilize Technology
In an age where you can reach anyone with the touch of a button, you’d be doing yourself a disservice if you weren’t making the most of it. Phone calls and text messages are a no-brainer, but there are more personal ways to keep in touch. Send your friends quick video messages and photos with SnapChat or schedule some time out of your busy schedules for a Skype or FaceTime call. Even though you’re not with each other in person, you can still have those coffee dates face-to-face. Plus, there’s just something comforting about hearing the voice of someone you care for.
2) Start a Collaborative TBR Pile
Using either Goodreads or a simple shared Google doc, make a list of books to read throughout the month or year. Start the books together and discuss them once you’ve finished. It will be like having your own mini book club.
3) Watch a Movie or TV Show Together
Streaming comes in handy for this one. Fire up Netflix and get each other on your Skype or FaceTime screens. Even though it’s not the same as going to the movies, it saves you both some cash. Plus, you can react to movies or a TV series any way you want without judgment (except maybe from your friend).
4) Send Cards or Letters
Even though writing someone a letter or sending them a card isn’t as popular as it once was, they’re still a nice sentiment. Getting mail is also so much more exciting when it’s not a bill, advertisement, or credit card spam. Whether it’s a birthday card or a brief note relating your adventures in a new city, you can’t go wrong with either.
5) Give Personalized Gifts
Everyone loves getting a gift, especially when it’s unique. Services like Greetabl allow you to build expertly illustrated boxes you can personalize and fill with small treats like confetti or cool socks. Another option is BOXFOX, an online service that allows you to build a box full of gifts, both big and small, that your friends are sure to love. If those don’t fit your fancy, there’s always long-distance mugs, friendship lamps, or even something simple you find around your new city that can be mailed (UPS, anyone?).
6) Make an Effort
Whether you’re near or far, maintaining any relationship requires a good amount of effort. Even if your schedule is busy or hectic, don’t miss out on those scheduled calls with your friends (unless it’s an emergency, obviously). Even a fifteen-minute call can mean so much when you’re away.