After college, I moved away from all my friends and pretty much fell out of touch with them immediately. Sure, I throw a few likes their way on social media or send the rare “OMG I MISS YOU! WE SOOOO NEED TO CATCH UP, GIRL!” text, but the friendships are not at the deep, share everything level they were before.
I kind of just figured this is what happens when you aren’t geographically close & both are super busy with careers, travel, and partners and/or kids.
Then I went on this self improvement retreat to Mexico run by a few other life coaches. They made you have a roommate for this trip so I tried to get a couple different friends into it so I wouldn’t have to share a room with a stranger. (#mynightmare) Well, my friends didn’t come through and I ended up with an assigned roomie.
Long story short, she’s now one of my absolute best friends, and it was one of those “friends at first sight” experiences where you know you’ve met a soul twin. I was immediately a little concerned at the thought of going back home and losing this friendship, and luckily, she was too. We’ve successfully kept this thing going for almost a year and are still going strong; in fact, we are reuniting this summer. And this is no small feat – she lives on the literal other side of the world in Australia.
Here are some of our secrets:
COMMIT- Being intentional is one of the best ways to reach any goal, and it is crucial for keeping a friendship alive, distance or not. Both people need to commit to prioritizing the friendship.
STAY IN TOUCH: Duh.. but seriously. Sometimes with our long distance buds, we only get in touch for the things like birthdays or big announcements, but the best way to feel connected is to keep your bestie in the loop on the small stuff.
TECHNOLOGY: I know we don’t have teleportation yet, but imagine the olden days where phone calls were $$$$ or letters were all you had and it would take 4-8 weeks before you heard ANYTHING from your friend. We are so lucky to be alive right now. We use a little app called Voxer where we can leave each other voice messages and text back and forth. It can also be used as a walkie-talkie so sometimes we catch each other leaving messages live which leads to extreme warm fuzzies knowing we are doing the same thing at the same time!
GRATITUDE: Two parts – regularly letting yourself totally bask in how amazing your friend is and how lucky you are to have it, and regularly telling her how amazing she is and how much you appreciate her. It does a friendship good.
VULNERABILITY: Not only is laying out your secret shame (ew, I know) in person, it is really hard to put it out there in voice or text message form and then wait for a response. As time goes by, you are thinking “OMG she is totally judging me right now and our friendship is over!!!!” but really, she’s driving, sleeping, working, running, who knows-ing right now and once she does read/listen to your message, she will respond with so much love, acceptance, and kindness that you think your heart might burst. Sharing this kind of stuff – the scariest stuff – is actually the building blocks of a great friendship, and it’s possible to do, even from 8,325 miles away.