Long-distance friendship is the new long-distance romance.
Life has a tendency to throw a lot of curve balls our way.
A new job, a new relationship, or simply a desire to see more of the world often forces us to make the toughest decisions, like moving away from the places we grew up (and those we grew up with).
And while you can pick up any magazine or scan through countless blog posts for tips on how to maintain a long-distance romantic relationship, there is significantly less information available about how to do the same with long-distance friendships.
The good news is, the digital age is making it easier than ever to keep in touch with those we love, platonically or otherwise, and social media has made it almost impossible to fall out of touch with friends regardless of area code or time zone. If you’re about to be away from your closest friends for a long time, don’t fret.
Take Toronto-born illustrator Hatecopy and Indian artist Babbu the Painter, who have been best friends since 2015. When Babbu embarked on a six-month trip to India at the beginning of this year, their friendship was put to the test — a test they passed with flying colors thanks to daily interactions on various forms of social media. They’re just one example of friends who have stayed close through the power of social media.
It might not be easy, but the truth is that the digital age has made it easier than ever before to follow Hatecopy and Babbu’s example and stay connected no matter how much distance lies between you and your bestie.
Here are nine ways friends keep that long distance friendship alive:
1. Make a plan.
Living multiple time zones apart can present a real challenge in terms of communication. But simply mapping out the day and finding the peak hours (or even minutes) to chat with your BFF can make all the difference and give you both something to look forward to.
2. Stay committed.
Long-distance friendships require a lot of effort from both parties involved if they are to work. This means occasionally putting in some late-night hours and making a real effort to chat even if you might be a little too worn out from the day to do so.
3. Don’t be afraid to harness the power of social media to stay in touch.
4. Remember that you can never share too many silly animal photos to lift each other’s spirits.
For example, here’s Babbu using the power of animal photos to put her BFF in a good “mooed,” if you will.
5. Use social media as a wellspring of memories and jokes to build off of or look back on.
6. Make the goal of each interaction you have online to make each other laugh.
There’s nothing like a good goofball stand-off to get the endorphins pumping no matter where you are in the world. And hey, if you don’t have much time together, you’ll want to keep every second as enjoyable as possible.
7. Make the person you’re taking to feel like the only person in the world at that moment.
Make each minute count, shut out other distractions, and make it all about you guys.
8. See it as an opportunity to get a glimpse into a different world.
Hatecopy and Babbu, for example, used the near 10-hour time difference between them to compare (or lament) the vastly different choices in Indian and Canadian cuisine.
9. Try to embrace the perks of a long-distance relationship.
They give you reasons to travel, they inspire more active communication, and for likeminded professionals like Hatecopy and Babbu, they allow you to receive an outside, unbiased opinion on your work that a friend may not be willing to give in person.
“We’ve faced obstacles and challenges together that made us almost inseparable,” Hatecopy told The Fader. “Our friendship allows both of us to express our creativity without judgement, and give each other a second pair of eyes to proof and improve on our work.”