How to Maintain Long Distance Friendships

Whether it's COVID-19 restrictions or a country keeping you apart from your friends, here is some advice for staying in touch.


Image for Post

Big life changes often include moving away. Maybe it is going to another country for university, or moving after graduation. Knowing how to keep in touch and stay close with people in your life can be very stressful when you haven’t done it before. Not being able to hang out with your friends as often as you used to doesn’t mean that you are meant to grow apart!

I have always been a very social person, and I place a lot of value in my friendships. I have moved a couple of times (from Venezuela to Costa Rica to Edmonton) and I have maintained really close friendships with people I haven’t seen in years. I go to school in Edmonton and only get to see my high school friends from Costa Rica about once every year has made me a pretty good long distance friendship keeper, and I am glad I have been able to stay close with people that mean so much to me. Not long ago, I got to see two of my best friends after not seeing them for six years and it was so much fun.

I think the whole pandemic has taught us that we can be there for each other without being physically there. With restrictions surrounding social gatherings and travel, I think it is good to learn how to navigate long distance friendships without feeling overwhelmed!

Adjust your expectations

If you or a friend are moving to a new city or starting another big life change, you might not be able to talk as much and as frequently as you used to and that’s ok! It doesn’t mean you are not close anymore. I know this might not feel that way, especially when you are going from seeing a friend every day at school or at work to not knowing when you are going to be able to see them next. The situation is different so you just have to adapt to a new dynamic.

Quality over quantity

Try not to focus on how often you text or you get to see your friends. There are days when there is really not that much time to talk, or not enough things happening that are interesting enough to talk about. I find that the moments where I value my long-distance friendships the most is when I am going through something and I know I can call them and they’ll be there for me, even if we haven’t talked in months.

Reach out and schedule calls

There is nothing wrong with letting your friends know that you miss them and that you want to catch up with them — you won’t sound clingy, I promise. I have friends that are in different time zones and with busy uni and work schedules, sometimes it feels like it is impossible to catch them at a good time to talk. Scheduling calls has always worked for me, sometimes we just briefly text that we need to catch up and set a date for our call and that’s it!

Use social media to your advantage

I am a big social media user. It has helped me stay in touch with so many people and reconnect with others. Instagram features like having a “close friends” list or a separate, more private instagram account are the things that have helped me feel more connected to others. I feel like we know what is going on on each other’s lives. Let’s not forget sending each other memes or TikToks are acrucial part of how we socialize today and a very non-time consuming way to let them know you are thinking about them.

Be creative

Think of ways to stay in touch besides texting and phone or video calls. I always find it fun to read the same books at the same time as my friends and have a little book club, or watch the same Netflix series and share thoughts on it. Calling each other while going on a walk is a good way to feel like you are going on a walk together. Having an arts and crafts night over FaceTime is another great option.

Image for Post

I feel like sometimes we forget that long-distance friendships are as meaningful as long-distance romantic relationships and we tend not to put that much focus on them but we should! There is no reason why moving away should mean growing apart.