How to Survive Long-Distance Friendships

originally written for another publication

A few years ago I became really close with one of my current best friends. We spent a lot of time together: lazy hours at her flat, spontaneous nights out, texting so frequently that it genuinely felt weird if we went more than twelve hours without talking to each other. And then she moved away.

Long-distance friendships are hard: one week you’re best-friends-forever and the next you’re barely talking. With a long-distance friendship it’s so easy to drift apart: the days in between your increasingly distant messages have a scary habit of growing longer, and the things that brought you together can suddenly seem irrelevant when separated by vast distances.

Thanks, pal.

Before you realise, it’s been two months since you last talked and – oh shit – you can’t even remember the name of their latest boyfriend, let alone where they work now. This is especially difficult when one of you moves to a new place, when it’s simple to get swept up in the excitement of a different city or university.

But if this is happening to you, don’t despair yet. The friends that matter will always be worth having, even if they’re miles away and you maybe don’t speak as much as you used to. When I asked my friend about this, she said her advice was ‘just to be super needy’: which, apart from being a scarily accurate summary of our friendship, is probably the most important thing in maintaining a friendship over a distance.

Just like with close friends in Glasgow, it’s necessary to make faraway friends a priority: instead of a coffee date, schedule a Skype or Facetime marathon (bonus: ugly screenshots for future blackmail). Tell them about all the boring and annoying things that are happening in your life – reserving a long-distance friendship for ‘big news’ is such an easy way to let it slip into unimportance. Try and organise meet-ups, especially if you’ve got a city in common, because not only it is an excellent way to reminisce, but it means you have more photos for that all-important birthday collage. And don’t forget that most long-distance friendships go through periods of radio silence: but whether you’re on a year abroad or your friend has moved away for good, real friendships can always be re-established with a truly horrific hungover selfie.


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