Managing Long Distance Friendships
College brings about a strange time of friendships that operate in full force during the year but may falter over breaks, summer vacation, and especially post-graduation. High school friendships also change after going to college. In every time of transition, it’s challenging to maintain friendships.
What are some ways to stay close from far away?
I decided to ask some experts on this topic – my friends. Here’s what has been most helpful for them:
“Trying to call people every once in a while. Texting is great, but you really get the most information from a call or FaceTime.”
“Communication is key – especially phone call communication. As much as I hate talking on the phone, I always feel better and closer after talking rather than just texting.”
I love talking on the phone. I’m a big storyteller, and I never feel like I can truly convey what I want to through text. Calls allow for a much deeper exploration into what’s going on in your own life and in your friend’s life. I’ve found texting is 100 times easier but calling is 100 times more rewarding. Phone conversations feel like a giant hug from my best friends. Hearing the voice of someone you care about can trigger so many feelings of comfort and love, and these conversations have strengthened my relationships more than anything.
“My friends make the effort to have some form of communication every day so we’re up to date on each other’s lives, even if it’s just a Snapchat or Instagram comment.”
“Whenever you’re thinking about someone, reach out. If you see a social media post or a picture, say hey and connect when you can.”
I love this advice. As soon as someone comes up on your feed and crosses your mind, take a second and let them know you’re thinking of them. Social media is a great way for us to keep up with friends and see what’s going on, and it’s a great way to remind us to reach out. You can also use social media as a starting point for conversation if it feels like a relationship has hit a wall. If a friend posts about having a fun weekend in Nashville, text them and ask for details!
“GroupMe and Snapchat groups are an easy way to keep people involved in your life. Rather than having people reach out to you and ask what’s going on, you can send one snap or message to your whole group and it’s almost as if we’re all sitting at lunch together.”
My group of friends has a group text message, Snapchat group, and a monthly group video chat. Groups are the perfect way to update your friends all at once! Also, groups help strengthen my individual relationships too. If someone posts in a group about a big test or work dilemma or anything in their life that I want to know more about, I always take time to reach out individually and follow up.
“My friend and I haven’t seen each other in over two years, but we talk almost every day, even if it’s ‘I got this new moisturizer you have to try’ or a funny meme.”
“Frequent casual check-ins via text or social media are the best. Sometimes a response isn’t even needed, but it just feels good to receive something during the day that lets you know they are thinking of you.”
It can be intimidating to initiate conversation with a friend you haven’t seen in a while, but letting that uncertainty continue to win is going to cause the relationship to deteriorate. Keep communication going, and your relationship will benefit. Reinstating the normalcy of talking every day is a great way to make the distance seem smaller.
Shut off the long-distance anxiety.
“It helps not taking space between conversations personally, because everyone gets busy and wrapped up in their current environment.”
Friendships changing doesn’t mean they’re deteriorating. Be kind to yourself and your friends as you figure out how the season of separation will look. Be mindful of what works and what doesn’t, and don’t waste time worrying about the change. Embrace it! Sometimes change and distance can bring great growth in relationships. Distance makes the heart grow fonder, right?
“Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, and endures all things.” 1 Corinthians 13:7
“For though I am far away from you, my heart is with you. And I rejoice that you are living as you should and that your faith in Christ is strong.” Colossians 2:5
“The Lord watch between you and me, when we are out of one another’s sight.” Genesis 31:49
“I thank my God in all my remembrance of you.” Philippians 1:3
These are my favorite verses I’ve come across to pray when I’m missing my friends. Believing for joy in my relationships and thanking God for the ability to miss people so fiercely has been healing for me. It can be easy to wallow in the sadness of being lonely and separated from the people you love. Pray these verses and ask God to fill that loneliness and protect your friendships.
Phone calls, social media, group chats, frequent communication, shutting off the long-distance anxiety, and prayer have been so helpful in keeping my long-distance friendships. Do you have any tips or tricks for staying in touch?
Christina Graffagna // @cgraffagna
Hi! I’m Christina, and I’m currently 22 years old living in Chicago. I grew up right outside of Chicago, but recently graduated from the University of Alabama (Roll Tide), where I’ve been for the past four years. I am undeniably ill-equipped to be back in the snow after experiencing southern winters! While attempting not to turn into a popsicle, I’ll be working on my master’s degree in community counseling at Loyola University. My current plan is to become a Licensed Professional Counselor and work with adolescents in private therapy. I love connecting with people, learning their stories, and using the knowledge I have about human behavior coupled with the knowledge I have of Scripture to advise others and love them well.