A guide to maintaining your long distance bestie

Miss you hun

You meet, you hit it off. The in-jokes begin and sooner or later you get to a point where you’re almost inseparable, reading each others glances and facial expressions so well they could have been scrawled in all caps in a whatsapp message. In an article by Psychology Today, research highlights how much more emotionally invested women are in their friendships, with a supportive element that many male friendships lack. However they’re also much more fragile and require a lot of up-keep, sometimes taking on the intensity of a romantic relationship, just without the added complication of physical intimacy.

For some, university and college are often the first times that people are faced with the prospect of their closest friendships going long-distance. While it’s certainly not the end of the world, as with anything, if you want it to work out you have to put the effort in. You want to make your friend feel good, like you do anyway, but you also want them to remember you. It doesn’t have to be a case of ‘out of sight, out of mind’ if you make sure to prioritise them – send them that silly meme that reminded you of them, mail them cute care packages, organise yourselves so you can Skype or call each other when you need to, or even write them a letter. Letters are such an underrated way of staying in touch, and they’re so much more personal. Everyone loves getting mail that isn’t bills, takeaway menus or DFS sale spam, and it’s much less likely to get lost of forgotten under a plethora of other private messages and emails in someone’s online inbox.

Also, you need to be wary of not getting jealous of your bestie’s inevitable new friendships. Concede that you want them to be happy, and that you want them to have a solid support network in real life as well as through your various correspondences. No one will replace you, you are irreplaceable, and just as valuable to them.

After reflecting upon my own experiences, I decided to reach out to other long distance besties to learn the secret of their longevity.

McKayla, Tallahassee, FL

Two of my best friends are friends I made online. I’ve only met one of them in person. I think it’s been easier for us to keep close because our friendship was long-distance from the start. I keep up with them the same way I keep up with the friends in my town: whenever I see something that reminds me of them, I show them right away. We share tidbits about what’s going on in our lives in messenger apps, maybe not every single day, but enough to keep the lines of communication open.

One of my LDFs and I used to Skype almost every single day, but it’s harder now with the way our lives are structured. Sometimes we even Skype with the sound on mute, each of us just chilling and doing our own thing, but with the other there. My number one tip would be not to taken your LDF for granted. Yes, you guys love each other and yes, social media and the internet make it super easy to keep in touch with people all over the world, but you have to put in the work to keep up the relationship. Just like you have to go visit a friend to maintain that bond, you have to be in your LDF’s inbox or Snapchat story or Skype window for them to be able to talk to you. Communication is key, just as with any relationship. LD relationships just require a little more.’

McKayla and her bestie, Alison, who’s from Philadelphia

Jessica, Old Tappan, NJ

My best friend Grace and I met on the first day of highschool, she sat next to me in bio class and that was that. Fast forward five years later, freshman year of college. She goes to school in Bloomsburg, PA, and I go to Rutgers, which is an hour from where we both live in North Jersey. Neither of us had our cars at the time, so we were essentially trapped at our respective colleges. One weekend in November, I had the opportunity to get her- I was playing in two concerts (I was a bassoonist) in Jersey City and Englewood, so I convinced my parents to let me have the car for a weekend.’

When Jessica picked Grace up after her three hour drive

On Friday morning, I skipped class and drove three hours to Bloomsburg to get her, and three hours back. I had rehearsal for one of the concerts, so we drove there- another hour. After rehearsal, another hour back to Rutgers, where we both just chilled since we were exhausted. Saturday, she accompanied me to my two concerts, another two hours of driving around, and Saturday night we got our partay on. Sunday, we went for breakfast at the diner we now always go to when she visits, and I drove her back to school. I added over 1000 miles to my odometer that weekend. Looking back, it was really stupid, but we were just so happy to be together, even though we were driving most of the time.

Louise, Barnet, North London

I met Eliza in sixth form. We bonded over philosophical banter. Really don’t know how it happened. We just made each other laugh. What was key in staying together was keeping that banter. We sometimes sent each other joke presents and we always made sure to ring each other usually once a week. Definitely make time for them. And don’t just text. Always give them a call as well. Even just ring them to tell them you are tired. It’s still something. I think phone calls are the best way to keep a friendship going.

Lizzy, Middletown, NJ

My group of best friends and I always keep our group chat going at least once a day. It helps make it seem like we’re back home again. We also have a huge group chat with all of our friends it’s almost 30 people haha. We use that every once and a while. But it’s really nice to FaceTime and call instead of just texting. My best friend visited me on my birthday freshman year and she drove about seven hours I think to see me so that was great.

Abi, Oxford, UK

As with maintaining any relationship – the answer is communication. My best friend’s currently studying abroad in Tasmania, so there’s a nine hour time difference, which can make communicating even harder, but we manage okay.’

There’s a lot of Facebook messenger involved where we just send each other Youtube videos, or facts about koalas, as well as general chit chat. Then we try to arrange a time once a month to actually Facetime and physically speak to each other so we get a proper catch up, which is always fun. I’m also an insomniac, so I’ve been known to send her messages at 2am GMT as she’s getting up, or even waking her up several hours early because I’m excited about something and she’s forgotten to put her phone on silent.

I’d like to think it hasn’t changed our friendship too much though – it’s changing because we’re both changing, as any long term friendship does. I think it works as well as it does at the moment partly because we’ve never been to school together or whatever, so we’re used to not seeing each other every day and still maintaining a close friendship. She’s just a little bit further away than usual.