Long distance friendships are hard. Going to an international school, we must say goodbye to lots of close friends, and sometimes it gets difficult to keep your relationships alive. For many, distance is a barrier; but with these tips, it won’t be anymore!
Tip #1: Stay in contact
According to Statistics Brain, “For long distanced friends that don’t talk for 4.5 months, there is 40% of possibility that the friendship will not last.” Obviously for your friendship to stay alive, you must stay in contact. This is probably the most important tip, because without contact it’s much harder to stay updated about each other’s lives, or find support from one another.
Tell your friends about your day, your worries, your successes, everything. But also, remember to be a good listener. Staying in contact doesn’t really mean just talking.
Thankfully, due to modern technology, we can use social networking to stay in touch with friends who are far away. According to the Pew Research Center, a majority of teenagers say that social media better connects them to their friends’ feelings and lives. The company’s studies state that “more than eight-in-ten (83%) social media-using teens say social media makes them more connected to information about what is happening in their friends’ lives and 70% say these social platforms better connect them to their friends’ feelings.”
Following your friends on Instagram, Snapchat or Facebook is a great way to see pictures of your friends who’ve moved away and feel like the friendship is still tangible. AISB student Rotem K. says that “I tag my friends daily in memes; it’s nice, the ‘Hey I was thinking about you’ moment.”
But it’s obvious that you must call your friends at some point. Calling is sentimental and it keeps you connected more than texting. There are a lot of apps that are fun to use and can help you to stay in touch, with either texting or calling (like Snapchat). “I get in touch with my friends by scheduling video calls like once a week,” says student Alexandra R. “Also, we do this at a certain time so it can fit in our daily life, training to balance school and social life at the same time.”
Although there are many less popular apps you can use, Rabbit is probably the best app to contact with your long-distance-friends.
This app is specialized in reviving those amazing moments with your friends. You can video-call your friends, but at the same time, you can play games, watch your favourite shows, and even sing karaoke together. Both callers can see the same screen, so you’ll be able to share all the features that the app offers you with your friends.
“Hop on in! Tons of rooms are showing your favorite TV shows and movies. Watch with friends, meet some new people, or invite someone special to join your private room.”
You can download this app now for free! It’s available for iPhone and Android, and you can try it out on your computer here.
Tip #2: Create a Bucket List
An incredible way to keep the friendship alive is to create a joint bucket list. If you were wondering, a bucket list is, according to the Merriam-Webster, “a list of things that one has not done before but wants to do before dying.” It may sound pretty dramatic, but this can keep you connected with your friends, and it will motivate you both to reach the goals together. Even if you’re far away from each other, you can have a bucket list for the next time you see each other again. “For me, it’s so hard to stay in contact, but when we talk, we just use Skype and we just plan trips together,” says student Maria Alejandra O.
According to Physiologist Dr. Mirgain, “Many of us have a schedule that looks very similar: work, family, eat, sleep, repeat. Keeping a bucket list helps us remember what is truly important regarding our own sense of self-fulfillment.” This is referring to all the standards that we have and how we can actually become better people when we make a bucket list. Imagine how great it would be if you do it with your friends!
Tip #3: Find Acceptance
This may be the hardest tip, but it may also be the most helpful. At some point during your crazy long-distance friendship, you may reach a point where you’re tired of everything.
You may start getting annoyed at the time difference, not being able to give your friend an actual hug or be there for them physically. School may be tough because you can’t find friends that are like the ones you had before.
Just understand that this is completely normal. We tend to fear new things, but “part of the real beauty of life is that it’s unpredictable. Nothing is permanent, everything changes,” according to tinybuddha.com.
Accepting the fact that change is constant, especially when you’re an international student, will make everything easier–not just long-distance friendships. All we can do is try our best to keep in touch and set realistic expectations for your relationship. It may never be the same, but it’s still special. And if you can survive the distance, then nothing can ever come between you.