talking on the phone

Whether you write letters, plan vacations together, or talk on the phone, it’s important to find a good way to keep in touch with your long-distance friends. / Image: Anders Andermark via Flickr CC.

Most of us have a few long-distance friends that we’ve gained along the way, maybe from college, or when one of you moved to a different city for a new job. While we all have the best intensions to stay in touch, life and the craziness that goes with it can often derail those plans. Don’t just rely on texting and Facebook to maintain your connections. Instead, use the tips below to maintain a true friendship and watch your relationships bloom.

Decide before you move how you will stay in touch. Make sure you are on the same page before one of you moves away. It’s better to hammer out expectations now than to let busy schedules get in the way and make your friendship dwindle. Be as prepared as possible.

Pick up the phone. Take 20 minutes to catch up and laugh a little. Talking on the phone can do wonders for any friendship, even if it feels slightly awkward at first. Try Skype if you live in different countries, or try writing a letter. A nice letter or card can warm your heart, and it’s a great way to keep in touch and takes about the same time as your email and is more thoughtful.

Schedule some quality time to catch up rather than just saying an ambiguous “we should talk soon,” because that only goes so far. At some point you have to put the plans into motion to continue developing the friendship. Whether it’s a date to grab lunch, talk on the phone while watching your favorite shared TV show, or a weekend getaway, it gives you something to look forward to or time to bond.

Friendships are give-and-take but it doesn’t need to be “equal.” If someone recently moved away and has been slacking on calling or texting, don’t take it personally. She or he may be struggling with their new job or living in a different city and struggling to adapt to the overall newness. Unless the friendship has always been one-sided, give her the benefit of the doubt.