Nothing lasts forever, but that doesn’t mean it can’t get better! Even when your best friend moves away there are strategies to keep the friend flame alive. While you won’t be doing the same things you used to, sometimes forming new habits builds that bond better than ever before. The key is to be consistent with your efforts, and you’ll see that your friends can still grow under the stress of long distances.
Talk about your intentions
While it might seem obvious that the two of you are going to keep in touch, there is always a little bit of doubt that goes left unsaid. Before the big moving day, meet for a coffee and discuss what the two of you anticipate and expect from your relationship once the distance is too great to get together regularly. Being explicit about your intentions regardless of whether the friendship is working well or not, will help quell the anxiety of losing your best friend.
Never hesitate to reach out
Rejection is one of the most difficult emotions humans can face, and there’s always a part of us that wonders if we will be rejected when we reach out to a friend. Will they reply back? Am I bothering them right now? But the truth is, if you’re feeling the need to reach out they probably feel it too, but aren’t as brave or maybe are just busy. So don’t hesitate to reach out with a text or phone call, you’ll both be glad you did.
Send gifts occasionally
Everyone loves to receive things! And when it comes from their best friend it means that much more. There are a number of items you can send that are sure to brighten their day and their heart including:
- Freshly baked batch of cookies or brownies
- Visa Gift Card – you can personalize it with a picture of the two of you and a sweet text sentiment such as “Miss you Bestie!”
- Pages from your continuous scrapbook – take turns back and forth filling it up, and then when you meet in person compile the pages and delight in the completed book.
Create an anchor for your friendship
Think about when the two of you became friends, what was the context? Did you meet each other at a cooking class or were you out walking your dogs? Consider the pieces of your lives that hold you together, effectively creating an anchor for the both of you to build off of. Send pictures back and forth of your favorite meals, dog memes, whatever builds on that connection.
Address conflicts in a healthy way
Sure, when you live close to your best friend and see them regularly, there is bound to be more conflict. When you move away from each other, the usual conflict is that there is simply no conflict, that there is no time given to one another and each feels the other doesn’t care. Make sure that doesn’t happen by reaching out. Miscommunications do happen, especially when your usual mode of connection is over text. Reach out, express your thoughts without being accusatory, and don’t be afraid to be vulnerable. If the friendship is going to end anyway, what do you have to lose?
Schedule time to catch up with each other
One way to get around playing tag with each other and feeling rejected because your friend hasn’t reached out is to schedule specific catch-up dates with each other. There are many calendars online (like Google calendars) that are free. Share one with your friend and put dates on the calendar for phone calls, watching movies together, eating dinner together over Zoom, etc. While this might not be feasible every week, shoot for once or twice a month.
Don’t rely on social media completely
It’s easy to scroll through social media and feel like you’ve caught up on all of your friends’ lives. That’s just not the case. 98% of the time, social media is its own filter, what you see is the life of your friends at its best, trips, smiles, sunshine – people love to use social media to make them look better and feel better about themselves. Don’t rely on social media completely because as their true friend, you can bet there is more going on in their lives besides their social media posts.
It can be a scary time when your best friend moves away, but remember that everything changes and it gives you the opportunity to improve on the connection you already had with each other. Make a commitment to the friendship, even during times when you’re feeling lazy, and watch the relationship blossom like never before!