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Dear Sofia …

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https://www.flickr.com/photos/pc-myshots-at-photography/2729871104

Dear Sofia, 

How do I maintain long-distance friendships?

Sincerely,

Homesick Friend

_________________

Dear Homesick Friend, 

It can be difficult to maintain friendships even with people nearby, so I can imagine how difficult it must be to maintain a friendship with someone you can’t always see. First, I would suggest thinking about whether or not your friendship is something you truly want to continue, as distance means that it will take a lot to keep it going. If you decide that you do, I have a few tips – and special thank you to Hannah Salim who provided some extra helpful ideas!

Don’t be afraid to be the one who reaches out first. If this is a friendship you want to keep, make that known rather than waiting for them to act first. If you’re unsure of what to say, start with a simple greeting! Ask them what’s been happening in their life or in their town – really anything that could start a conversation. What common interests do you have that you originally bonded over? You can mention those, and share anything new that you’re interested in! It’s also important that you don’t let a time difference hold you back. It’s totally fine to only respond when you can. You don’t have to stay up all night just to have a conversation, simply respond when it’s convenient for you! I’m sure your friend shares that sentiment as well. If possible, try to work out a time that is convenient for both of you to call, FaceTime, or text, but don’t stress if that isn’t a possibility. 

Next, try to find something you both can do together despite the distance. Making shared playlists, reading the same book, streaming the same show, or just having a regularly scheduled video call are all things you can do apart yet still keep your friendship strong. 

Lastly, accept that the dynamic is different. This is the hardest part, but I think it’s also the most important. Depending on the specific situation, your friend might not be a simple call away anymore. But that doesn’t mean you can’t still be there for each other. Update them about anything new that has happened in your life or new interests that you’ve found. Communication is going to be more important than ever, so prepare to be ready for lots of calls! Planning in-person meet-ups is also going to take more effort, but don’t let that discourage you from trying to work plans out! 

Best wishes, 

Sofia

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