5 Ways to Maintain Your Friendship When Your Friend Moves Away

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When a close friend moves away, it can be painful. It’s not the same level of loss as, say, a divorce or a funeral, but some aspects can be more challenging because unlike those scenarios, people recognize you’re hurting and try to support you. When someone you care about moves away, though, it’s considered a natural part of life, and the rest of your world tends to move on without noticing, even if you feel like you’ve lost a piece of yourself.

It’s even worse, though, when your friend moves away and you swear up and down you’ll stay in touch…but then when life get’s busy, you forget to call, weeks become months, and suddenly you’re not “in touch” at all. Not only can this feel bad because you miss your friend—it can also feel shaming as you judge yourself for being a bad friend.

But don’t worry. Long distance friendships are a challenge for anyone, but someone moving away doesn’t necessarily mean the relationship is over. Taking a few simple steps can help your friendship evolve and find a new normal while keeping your bond going strong.

Maintaining a Long-Distance Friendship

1. Make a commitment.

Make a conscious decision to value your friendship, and to work to keep it going. This sounds simple, but just deciding to stay in touch will go a long way to, well, actually staying in touch. If your friendship is worth it, then the extra effort will be worth it.

2. Make any excuse to call your friend.

You don’t have to wait around for a major life event to get in touch with your friend. You just saw a great movie? Talked to an interesting stranger? Had an amazing cup of coffee? It’s all news—anything can be an excuse to call your friend.

3. Start a project together.

Start a blog together, even if you two are the only people who will ever read it. Start a two-person book club—pick a new book each month and set a time to call each other and talk about it. An ongoing project will not only keep you in touch, it might bring you closer than ever.

4. Send something by snail mail.

Everyone likes opening the mailbox and finding something other than bills and grocery store circulars. Write your friend a letter. Send her a care package. Send her a sentimental gift. The Post Office is a great way to break through the haze of endless Facebook likes and “great pic!” comments.

5. Keep your inside jokes running—and make new ones.

Inside jokes are the lifeblood of a great friendship. Those “you had to be there” moments that make you both laugh like crazy people are like the secret language that only you know. So don’t forget your old inside jokes, and don’t stop making new ones. Just because you’re apart doesn’t mean you can’t laugh together.

6. BONUS: Plan visits.

If your friend is close enough, try to plan a visit. Maybe there’s a city somewhere in the middle where you can hang out and see the sights. And even if you friend has moved overseas—or just too far for this tip to be practical—you still might be able to plan to, say, vacation or holiday together.

The important thing to keep in mind is that the two of you are friends for a reason. It’s the unique chemistry that you have together that really matters and that won’t go away just because of geographical space between you. So there’s no reason to feel awkward about picking up the phone, sending the first text message, or dropping something special in the mailbox. Your friend misses you too and will be glad to hear your voice.

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  1. Sara Spectacular and Short

    couldve used this article in 8th grade when my neighbor moved. i didnt stay in touch. it was harder to then. i wonder sometimes how we wouldve turned out tho. Like if we wouldve been friends still to this day. if we wouldve gone to college together and stuff like that.

  2. Jan T.

    I do think childhood moves take a lot away from kids. My daughter’s friend just moved several states away and I really do doubt our families will see each other much. Today, kids have the option to use Skype and stuff, but I would almost wonder if it’d be good to have an article about how to help kids make these kinds of transitions because I need to think through this with my daughter. (She’s in 4th grade.)

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