Monday, July 26, 2010

The Art of Long-Distance Friendships

In this day and age, the reality is that many of us will move.  We may move from city to city, across states, across the country, or (in my case) across the world.  And it is often difficult to maintain the relationships from such a long distance, however far away that might be.

I am not sure why some of my friendships have withstood the test of time and distance while others have slowly faded and still others stopped the moment I moved away.  But after a bit of reflection, I think I can string together a few ideas that might help you maintain your long-distance friendships.  My friends can attest that I am NOT perfect and I really could do better, so please take each of these with a grain of salt.

BE SINCERE.  People know when you really mean it and when you don't.  In my opinion, sincerity in a faraway friend is stemmed from a genuine interest in you and your news.  We all know people who say nice things when you see them and then drop off the face of the earth as soon as you're gone.  So let your friend know that they still matter, even though they are farther away that you would like them to be.

MAKE THE EFFORT.  It takes a lot of effort to maintain long-distance relationships - let's just acknowledge that fact right here and now.  However, it can be more difficult and discouraging when you feel like keeping in touch with your friend is a one-sided effort.  You send out an email only to wait weeks or maybe never for a response.  The friendship is still there but it feels like you are dragging it along.  But keep in mind that everyone has circumstances that keep them from answering you in a timely fashion so be reasonable.  Although if you are the guilty party who never replies when others try to reach out to you, maybe it's time to make a little effort from your end.

BE AWARE.  The hardest thing in long-distance friendships is keeping up on everyone's news.  People have babies, lose loved ones, change jobs, get married, move, etc. and if you aren't aware of these changes in your friends' lives you may miss out on a chance to let them know that you care.  I think the friends that I have had the most trouble keeping in touch with have been the ones that I have missed out on several important events in their lives.  And that breaks your connection with them.

BE PATIENT.  Wait for them to answer you.  Like I mentioned before, be reasonable and give people their space.  We all get busy so give them a break!

MIX IT UP.  A little variety will go a long way.  I am constantly amazed at how far technology has come in providing ways to keep in touch.  There are various social networking options (i.e. Facebook, Twitter, etc.), emails, internet phone calls, blogs, you name it.  I fell almost guilty now if I can't keep in touch with someone because really even across continents with all this technology at my fingertips there is no excuse!

ENJOY THE MOMENTS.  I can't tell you how great it feels to have lunch with a friend I haven't seen in months or years and to talk to them like not a day has gone by!  And I am always thankful for these moments because there is no substitute for some face-time with one of your favorite people.  So when you DO see your friends, I say enjoy those moments as much as you can.  They may come few and far between!

LET THEM GO.  For all your good intentions, there are still some people who move away and move on.  They have no interest in keeping in touch with you or are too busy with their new lives to make any effort to keep in touch with people they knew before.  When this happens, try not to get discouraged.  I believe the only thing you can do is to put the feelers out from your side (send them a heartfelt email, etc.) and maybe one day they will respond.  You may be surprised to get a response one day...and maybe not.  Some friendships come into our lives for a season, and the best thing you can do is remember the good times and move on yourself.


  1. I love you Eranie and treasure our sweet friendship! Proud to call you my friend:)

  2. I enjoyed this. You definitely spoke truth.

  3. Very powerful post.
    Thanks for sharing these ideas :)


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