14 Ways To Maintain Long-Distance Friendships

Photographed by Rockie Nolan.
For all the talk about how to keep the flames burning during long-distance relationships, there's not nearly as much out there on how to maintain long-distance friendships.

But just because the romantic stakes aren't there in a friendship doesn't mean that these relationships don't also require work. After all, they're just as — if not even more — important. Where would you be without your squad?

Thankfully, due to modern technology (hello, Snapchat), staying in touch with friends in faraway places is becoming easier and easier. Despite what people might say about social media turning us all into zombies who ignore each other in favor of Instagram, it's undeniable that social networking has made it easier to keep up with people when you can't physically be near each other.

These days, friendship doesn't have to be defined by how often you get to see one another in person. Being far away from each other doesn't mean you can't stay close; it just means you might have to put some effort into making sure you catch up.

Ahead, we talked to 14 people about all the fun, creative ways they've kept in touch with their long-distance pals.
Advertisement
1 of 14
Illustrated by: Natalia Spotts.
"My best friend lives in Dominican Republic, and we don't really talk every day, but we do text every two to three days, and one of those days we chat nonstop. If something significant happens in one of our lives, we always tell one another first. We also see each other multiple times a year, which makes things much easier." — Hildiana
2 of 14
Illustrated by: Natalia Spotts.
"It sounds weird, but daily tagging each other in stupid memes/funny pictures on Instagram. It's a nice 'Hey, I'm thinking about you' moment." — Asya
Advertisement
3 of 14
Illustrated by: Natalia Spotts.
"Send them links to things that remind you of them, badger them to come visit you (repeatedly), and tell them you miss them." — Finola
4 of 14
Illustrated by: Natalia Spotts.
"Group chat is the best/worst thing to ever happen. It's awful because your phone blows up all day and you come back from meetings with 50+ texts, but it forces you to talk about the mundane things people ignore when only catching up every couple weeks/months of not talking." — Samantha
5 of 14
Illustrated by: Natalia Spotts.
"I have best friends in Los Angeles, Denver, and Atlanta, and we have huge group texts, FaceTime, and do snail mail. But we also Venmo each other small amounts of money to have a drink or coffee on each other and pretend we're all going out together. We also try to three-way phone call and are patiently waiting for a FaceTime three-way to be invented." — Morgan
6 of 14
Illustrated by: Natalia Spotts.
"I used to live in London and have a huge base of friends in London and Sydney. We WhatsApp daily — literally — from celeb gossip to sharing pics of what shoes we just bought. We FaceTime about once a month, and we try to see each other in person twice a year. Sometimes that means meeting each other in our hometowns, other times it means going on vacation together. These relationships are so important to me, so maintaining and nurturing these friendships is crucial." — Hallie
7 of 14
Illustrated by: Natalia Spotts.
"I have four old friends — one from elementary school, one from high school, two from college — with whom I am actual snail-mail pen pals, and it's the best. We send letters and postcards from our travels or from art exhibits we've recently seen, and I'm pretty sure at least a couple missives have been written on bar napkins. One lives in London and seems to always write during teatime; another lives in Paris and most of her cartes postales begin with 'I'm sitting at a brasserie with my café crème...' and it all makes me incredibly jealous but also feels like I'm there with her, which is lovely." — Amelia
Advertisement
8 of 14
Illustrated by: Natalia Spotts.
"I currently live in New York, and my best friend is in Philly, which is pretty difficult for us, seeing as how we spent almost every day together from seventh grade through college.

"Snapchat has surprisingly become very helpful in us keeping an almost-constant flow of communication — it's actually a nice way for us to get snippets of each other's daily routines and the stupid stuff that happens during the day that we'd want the other person to know.

"Every once in a while, we'll send each other some snail mail or care packages — these are always really nice to get, since you know the other person put time and effort into sending it (and they always seem to come when I'm missing her the most).

"We text each other almost constantly, and do at least weekly phone calls. The best part of our friendship, though, is that regardless of how long it's been since we've physically been in the same place, when we do see each other, it's like nothing has changed at all." — Patricia
9 of 14
Illustrated by: Natalia Spotts.
"Super amazing, all-out care packages a few times a year! My best friend lives in London, so she'll send me London treats and I'll send her things unique to NYC.

"Also, actually sticking to the time you agree to FaceTime/Skype your BFF! Treating it like a real, concrete date or actually penciling it in helps so you don't make dinner plans over your chat time." — Natalia
10 of 14
Illustrated by: Natalia Spotts.
"One of my best friends lives in LA. I try to call her at least once a week while I'm on my way to work. With the time difference, I not only help her get up and out of bed, but we're able to catch up without me falling asleep on her (which happens when she calls at the end of her long day).

"I also try and send her snail mail! Recently, I discovered a bunch of old pins I had hoarded in high school. One said 'BFF,' so I found a cute card and included it in the envelope for her." — Samantha
11 of 14
Illustrated by: Natalia Spotts.
"I actually just spoke about this with one of my long-distance friends, and we decided that we would put each other in our 'contact favorites.' This way, whenever we are walking home or looking to kill time, we see each other on there and call / text with updates. It's been working great so far!" — Amber
12 of 14
Illustrated by: Natalia Spotts.
"I am still very close to all my high school friends (a group of 10). I'm originally from Florida, so some live back home. A few of my friends live in Denver. One of my friends just got a job at a lab in Switzerland, and another has been in the peace corps in Madagascar for the past few years.

"Despite our distance, we've stayed close via a secret Facebook group. We use it to plan reunion trips and just share what's REALLY going on in our lives, things you wouldn't share with every one of your Facebook friends, like the details of a breakup or problems at work. It's great because I don't have to have 10 phone calls with each of them separately — I can just post an update or a funny article and we can all laugh or cry together like we would at an in-person meet-up."
— Amelia
13 of 14
Illustrated by: Natalia Spotts.
"Realize you might have to go the extra mile, always. Some people are good at the phone, or remembering birthdays, or scheduling trips. Some people just aren't. There are several relationships from high school that I maintain by being the person who always calls to say hi. I could get bitter and resentful about it, but I recognize that they're not people who finish up at work and want to call friends and loved ones. For me, that's a very natural thing to do.

"I don't call them every month, or even every other month, necessarily, but if I'm cleaning my apartment, or taking a walk, I might pick up the phone and call my friends to see how they're doing. We might not be abreast of each other's day-to-day lives, but it does a lot to feel connected to them. I could feel obsessed about the quid pro quo of it all, but really, it's a very small step to take to keep the connection alive. Of course, if you call the person and all they do is talk about themselves, it might be time to reconsider the friendship.

"Also, I try to tailor my methods of reaching out to each person. One of my friends is a religious user of Gchat, so we stay in pretty constant contact that way. Another friend likes Facebook messenger. Another friend, the phone. Since Gchat is a lot more low-touch than the phone, we 're in touch more, but I have more substantial, less frequent phone calls with the friend whom I always call to say hey to. It's all about balance!" — Marshall
14 of 14
Illustrated by: Natalia Spotts.
"My best friend lives in London, and for the past 16 years, since I was nine, we've been sending each other unreasonably long emails every few weeks or months. Even after the rise of What's App, which adds a welcome immediacy to our communication, we still sit down and spill our guts into thousands of words at a time that, strung together, would tell the stories of our lives since we met: school terms survived, joy and loneliness felt, work adored and despised, love found and lost. She's now an editor and I'm a writer, and we say only half-jokingly that it was writing those emails that got us here. I hope that one day we'll live closer to each other, but I also hope we never stop writing the emails." — Hayley
Advertisement