I am in a very healthy and committed 12-year, long-distance friendship with Jen and loving it!
I never realized how lucky I was to have such a great friend in my life for so long until recently while speaking to a few co-workers. Many of them had moved far from their hometowns and lost touch with their childhood friends and it made me want to treasure the friendship I've cultured with my bestie!
Jen currently lives on the West coast and I live on the East coast (we literally live on opposite ends of the country!) and that makes it difficult to see each other. Luckily we are pretty experienced LDF-ers (that's long-distance-friendship) so we've done okay so far. I will say, it's not always easy. Sometimes, I wish I could just hang out with her at a bar after a long day at work but we can't do that. But through mutual understanding and patience, we've been able to keep up a very awesome friendship - we're trying to give Tina Fey and Amy Poehler a run for their money!
Here are some tips for those who are currently or about to have an LDF yourselves:
- Technology is your friend too: This one is kind of obvious but we really would not have made it if it weren't for technology. I'm talking Skype conversations, text messages, email, Facebook, Twitter, etc. We've even used something called Rabb.it to watch Netflix together! We have regularly scheduled Skype happy hours as well! We try to be good about having a schedule with this because...
- Checking in is important: Even though I don't live anywhere close to Jen anymore, I still know (by name) her co-workers, her new friends, the people she meets, etc. I check in on her and she let's me get involved in her life. Jen also goes out of her way to get to know the people in my life and check in on how I'm doing. She even tells her new friends about me and my work! I think this has really made our friendship stronger.
- Be flexible: Sometimes your friend will be busy when you aren't and vice versa. This happens - it's life! Just because your friend doesn't text you back right away doesn't mean they've stopped liking you or is not thinking of you. I know I am notorious for not returning texts, especially if I can tell someone's only texting me because they're bored. I get busy and Jen is busy! As long as you both understand that it's okay to miss each other, it will be fine.
- Don't wait too long: It's important to be flexible but it's also important not to have too big a gap between contact. If you've gone for months without a phone call, pick up your phone! There's always the risk that the longer you wait, the more awkward it'll get to actually contact them.
- Visit them: Jen just visited DC during the Holidays and I'm making arrangements to visit her in August! If you can schedule a physical visit, do it! Travel is good for you after all and seeing your best friend will be just that awesome!
Any of you guys out there also in an LDF? Share some of your tips!