We are beyond lucky to be living in our technologically progressive society. Today, we are able to purchase a plane ticket on a whim and go practically anywhere in the world. It was only 100 years ago that this was out of reach for most people, and we primarily reserved airplanes for military purposes. But what happens when you travel, meet someone special, and it’s time to go back home?
For students, the feeling of “losing” your friends due to distance is all too familiar. You and your best friends from childhood may attend college in other states and countries after high school. A few years later, your university friends will go and make a life for themselves upon graduating. Spring is such an exciting season, partially for this reason.
Whether it’s a friend or family member moving away, a foreign love, or meeting your bestie overseas, I am here to share how to keep the relationship strong even while living miles apart.
1. Sharp memory
Of course, you’ll want to mark birthdays on your calendar and remember to call, but the little things that remind you of them will keep the spark alive. Reminisce on some of your favorite moments from time to time.
Social media has made this incredibly easy for us. They have pre-made videos and throwback photos to send based on significant calendar days, e.g., “2 years ago, we added each other on Facebook.” If you aren’t so much into internet trends, though, your phone’s camera roll might also have an “on this day” feature, and those are full of sweet memories.
2. Making plans
No matter how far-fetched your ideas are for what you may do together in the future, making plans shows how you want to keep them around in your life. And who knows if it could actually happen! It gives you both something to look forward to and daydream about, even if just for a moment.
My roommate from my freshman year at Willamette U practically became my sister from day one. Her name is Amy, she’s from England, and we have had some wacky conversations about what our future may hold. I think our favorite plan so far is to meet up in New York City and live together. Life is so unpredictable, but keeping your friends around makes it worthwhile.
3. Life updates
With genuine intention, ask about how they are. Keep them in the loop and share about what’s going on in your life. We all want to see our favorite people thrive, and it feels good to be a part of it in some way.
A year ago today, I returned to the US from a less-than-perfect teaching fellowship in Jerusalem. I recently had a phone conversation with my best friend that I met on the trip, Ilana, about who we were a year ago and how we’ve changed since. She lives in New York, and I live in Oregon. You can usually find us sending each other funny pictures and videos, but mostly, checking up on how the other is doing. Despite being worlds apart, our friendship is still growing stronger because we aren’t fixated on who the other person was.
4. Tangible gifts
Another reason we are privileged to live in this era: mail services! So many distributors ship internationally if that’s what you need. Sending a gift across state lines or ordering something to be delivered directly to their address is easier than ever (no need for carrier pigeons).
The saying, “out of sight, out of mind,” rings true when there is no physical evidence of someone around. If one or both of you have busy schedules and can’t talk relatively often, send them a small item like a book, mug, figurine, bracelet, or t-shirt. This will allow them to think of you on their downtime if they wear it or have it on their desk, and it’s a caring gesture!
5. Quality time
Many families and friends are separated geographically and need to deal with major time differences. With that said, setting up a loose schedule of when you’re free to talk or visit may save a relationship from unraveling. If you can find any time during the month to chat one-on-one, it’s better than nothing, and it also allows room for emotional bonding and the updates I mentioned in #3.
In July 2017, I took a 10-day trip to Israel and met another one of my soul sisters, Rachael (her name is spelled the same way as my middle name, so it was basically fate). Anyway, she’s from Los Angeles; I go there to visit family once or twice a year, and she’ll be here in Portland for Passover in a couple weeks. When we get together, it’s like no time has passed, and all our jokes are still just as funny.
If you see something that reminds you of that person, send it to them or tell them about it. Some examples could be a funny moment you experienced, a video on Instagram, a product, or a memory. You can bring any of these to them at a moment’s notice. For your enjoyment and theirs, keep it fresh! If you only send them a message on their birthday, it will be just like anyone else’s birthday message. Your connection is unique and you have all the means to preserve it.
CardCraft helps you send physical, handwritten cards to whomever you like straight from your smartphone at a moment’s notice! Let us help you create special spontaneous moments of joy for your loved ones. Follow our socials for more relationship inspiration!