After spending years in college bonding with people who you can sincerely call your best friends, you might start finding it difficult to keep in touch with them after the diplomas have been signed and sealed.
Once you stop sharing a common bond with someone, it can be extremely difficult (and sometimes taxing) to maintain your friendship. For some, it might have been school that kept you together: living in the same residence, sharing classes, library dates, etc. For others, it was a job or a club that had you spending your precious weekend hours together.
So what happens when you’ve moved to a new city for work and your friends are no longer close by? Sure, you are going to make new friends as time goes on, but it is important to continue to work on your old friendships. General social networking websites (think Facebook and Twitter) aren’t intimate enough for relationships you really want to keep. Solid friendships are a balance of common interests, lighthearted banter and deep, thought-provoking conversations. Not to mention things you don’t want the world to know about and need a trusted friend for.
No matter how many miles separate you, consider some of these ideas to keep in touch and maintain a long-distance friendship:
1. Utilize video chatting.
Set a Skype-date once a month where you and your pal can chat for an uninterrupted hour or two to catch up. You might not be sharing your day-to-day life anymore, but you can still keep each other updated on the big things and share some laughs about your old adventures.
2. Have virtual shopping dates.
Along the same lines, you can video chat while you browse online shopping websites and share links with each other just like you would items in a store. Need to try before you buy? Have “in-store” dates where you each go shopping on your own and then send pictures via text of your outfit to get your shopping buddy’s opinion before you splurge on the $200 dollar dress
3. Mail greeting cards.
Snail mail is not outdated! Cards are a fabulous way to let your friends know you’re thinking about them on holidays or “just because.” If your friend snags that promotion they’ve been after, send them a congratulations card. They won’t forget it and will feel appreciated. However, don’t feel obligated to go into debt over cards and postage; e-cards are also a great option.
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4. Keep common ground.
If the two of you always bonded over a TV show, keep each other up-to-date! Make time to have a chat on the phone after each episode airs to share your thoughts and feelings. E-mailing or texting are too slow of a means to have a conversation about your common ground. Sharing something you both love will ensure that you always have something to talk about.
5. Start an e-mail chain.
If you’re used to hanging out as a group of friends, send group e-mails. Every other week is a good pace to exchange e-mails to catch up, support each other’s endeavors, network and share fun stuff (a.k.a.: “Should I buy these heels?”). It’s also a bit of a timesaver if you have a larger social circle.
6. Don’t forget the little things.
A fun way to let others know you remember what they like is to send things their way. Try sending each other links of things you find that remind you of each other. For instance, the next time you see some knitting patterns, e-mail the website to your crafty friend. Found an amazing recipe? Send it to the pal who should have gone to culinary school.
7. Plan to see each other in person.
While it’s not always economically possible to travel, at least make an effort. You might not be able to fly across the country to spend a week visiting, but maybe you can meet halfway. Consider planning a trip together. Did you ever take day trips to the slopes back in the day? Plan a weekend retreat to a mountain resort. Not only will planning the trip give you something to talk about and look forward to but you also get to do something you love with someone you miss. Talk about a win-win.
Over time, you’re going to find that some friendships are easier to maintain than others. Some friendships will also require more work to keep up while others will feel almost effortless. Don’t be discouraged! It’s never too late to rekindle an old friendship or implement new methods to sustain a current one.