It happens to all of us, either we move away, or our best friend moves far enough away that visits have to be planned in advance. Building that bond over the years was a priority for both of you, and you don’t want to lose any of the “friend magic” that you’ve created. But now, there are no more spontaneous lunches, no matinee movies together or happy hour pints of ale at the pub. What are best friends to do when distance tests the fortitude of their connection?
- Accept the situation and make the best of it – At first, when the separation is still fresh and new, it might be difficult to feel at ease with your friend being so far away. This is a great opportunity to practice a bit of mindfulness and learn to accept the situation for what it is. Having a friend in a distant location can help you feel inter- connected with the world.
- Find new and inventive ways to stay in contact with one another – Each of us is tethered digitally to each other. Through our cell phones, computers and tablets, there’s no real escaping the outside world unless you take it upon yourself to do so. Take advantage of this by creating a WhatsApp or FB messenger group together, to share memories, current pictures, and of course, laughs.
- Exchange meaningful gifts – Who doesn’t love receiving a gift from a loved one or special friend? Especially if there is no specific reason other than, “I’m thinking about you!” Consider some of the many gifts to either create or send to your BFF:
- Photo collage for the wall – Use all your best (or worst) pictures for a hilarious pictorial of your times together
- Friendship bracelets – When you both wear them, you’re connected. You can look down, touch the bracelet, and think of them.
- eGift cards – You know your best friend oversleeps and needs a caffeine rush on the daily, or maybe they are pressed for time at the end of their day and need to score some fast food. The beauty of eGift cards is that there are countless merchants to choose from, and you can instantaneously send the card to your friend’s text or email. It is as easy as a snap of your fingers!
- Get both of you a wine subscription – Have a regularly scheduled wine dates to sample the same wines together over video chat!
- Share the virtual popcorn and watch a movie or documentary together – Whether it’s an oldie but goodie that the two of you have already seen or something brand new to you, use those unlimited cellphone minutes to laugh, cry, and bond over a rom com, thriller or drama like the old days.
- Pencil in visits on your calendar – If your BFF lives halfway around the world, then seeing them more than once a year might be out of the question. If they live the next state over, you’re likely able to put in more time with them. Whatever is reasonable for both of you, drag out the calendar and plot some visits for the future. It will give you both something to look forward to, something to plan for and contemplate with anticipation!
- Give each other the space you need – Much like romantic relationships, friendships require a bit of space, think mental and emotional, not just physical, to grow the bond. Seedlings don’t just require sun and rain; they also require the passage of time to grow in strength and resilience. Do your best to lower your stringent expectations of one another. While it might be fun to have a virtual “date” night every Friday, ultimately it will have to give way to other life priorities now and again.
- Keep the balance in place – If your friend is reaching out to you every morning with a Good Morning! text, then certainly find the ten seconds it takes to return the favor. Even if you don’t share anything else throughout the day, that one text has rooted the two of you in your friendship bond.
- Keep the jealousy in check! – Both of you are bound to make new friends, even if you lived right next door to each other. This is natural and healthy. When your BFF talks about the new friends they’ve made and had fun with, don’t sulk in jealousy. Share in their positive feelings and let them know that you absolutely encourage and support their happiness.
Life is always changing, and when friends move far away it can feel lonely and difficult. Luckily, through technology and a bit of mindfulness, you can make your friendship bond stronger than ever before, and everlasting.