How do you survive when the person who knows you best lives thousands of miles away? Here are few ideas that may help ease the pain and make the distance feel a little more bearable...
1. Send random photo messages to each other on the regular.
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Put that selfie and Snapchat obsession to good use. If your phone's camera roll isn't filled with your best friend making some of the ugliest faces on the planet, then, well, the two of you aren't trying hard enough. Plus, wasn't Snapchat invented so you could make your best friend laugh from thousands of miles away and still feel like they're working in the cubicle right next to you? Maybe not, but it's better than sexting.
2. Start something personal and private that you can both share together.
Maybe you can create a Google doc that allows you to write to each other in real time. Or a blog, so you can keep up with your best friend's adventures online. Creating something together will be a great experience, and in the end you'll have something to show for it. And 10 years from now, you can look back and have an accurate account of your long-distance friendship once you're (hopefully) back in the same place and growing old together.
3. Video chat often -- even when you have no big "stories" to catch each other up on.
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I'll be honest: Sometimes the video chats between my best friend and me just turn into both of us staring at the screen, making funny faces and snapping pictures. Other times it turns into a gossip fest where we start talking about people we haven't seen or heard from in years. Set a side a big chunk of time every so often and just virtually lounge together. This is when you'll really get to talking instead of just playing catch-up.
4. In the meantime, stay connected through the little things, like watching the same movie on the same night.
Take the concept of live-tweeting and turn it into live-messaging. Here's how it works: Pick a movie, watch it at the same time and message each other your thoughts throughout the entire picture. It'll be as if your BFF is right by your side annoyingly asking you all the spoiler questions that you undoubtedly have no clue of yourself. But isn't that what you love about her?
5. When setting aside scheduled time to talk to each other, don't you dare cancel -- time differences are unforgiving.
Yes, time differences can be a b****. So when you have something scheduled with your BFF, try to make sure it happens. Obviously, there may be times when you have to back out, but don't let that turn into a never-ending game of phone tag. At some point, someone's going to have to stay in or post up at a coffee shop so you can talk to one another. Take one for the friendship team.
6. Try to keep up to date with her daily life. Yes, even the small stuff.
New job offers, new love interests -- those types of things will come up in any conversation you have with your BFF. But talk about the not so game-changing things, too, like something interesting you witnessed that day at work or how you can't seem to break free from your new ramen obsession. Knowing the more random things about one another's days will help you feel like no one (in the whole world) knows your BFF better than you do.
7. Reminisce about the good 'ol times.
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Talk about prom or how you can't believe she dated that one person back in college. Reminisce about the experiences that brought you together in the first place. If you've got old photos lying around or stuffed in a box somewhere, whip them out to send to one another -- or just post one on Instagram every #ThrowbackThursday.
8. Small talk is key. There are plenty of free messaging apps, so don't gab just once every two weeks.
Whatsapp, Viber, WeChat, Line, Kakao Talk, Kik, Tango, Nimbuzz... There really is no excuse. Also, if she works in an office, add her on Gchat so you can ping her at random times during the day -- even if it's just to share the most recent (completely random) thing you've dug up on the Internet.
9. Remember, her family is your family. If her mom and brother are in town, take them to dinner.
Photo by Peter Manidis
Anything or anyone that reminds you of your best friend is sure to put you in a good mood. Cozying up to her family and making sure to connect with them every once in a while will only solidify the obvious: YOU ARE ALL FAMILY. Note: If it reaches the point where her mom feels comfortable enough questioning your life choices just as your own mom would, you know you're at the top of the best friend-scale and you're in this relationship for the long haul.
10. Long-distance book club, anyone?
Because best friends who read together, stay together. Some of the best book suggestions have come my way from across the pond. And if you're reading the same book at the same time, there's that much more for the two of you to talk about and feel connected about. Every once in a while, throw in a story about friendships that stands the test of time and distance (see: Waiting To Exhale and Beaches). Then hop on the phone so you can chat about how "that's soooo us!"
11. Take mini trips together -- meet somewhere halfway between the both of you.
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Explore the world together. There might be times when you don't have the money or time to fly all the way to see her, but what about meeting half way? Preferably somewhere you both haven't been to, so you can turn your reunion into a mini-adventure. This will save you both time and money, and you'll still get to see each other.
12. Pick up the phone even if you can't talk to just say, "Hi! I miss you, but I can't talk now."
Sometimes text messages just don't cut it -- especially when you haven't heard her voice in so long that a five minute catch-up session on your way to work is actually a must. Even if you're busy at work, taking the time to answer a call from your BFF just to tell them you can't chat is more satisfying than ignoring the call altogether. Even on the busiest of days, everyone has three minutes to spare.
13. Write her an actual physical letter every once in a while.
Photo by Luiz Laercio
In an age when technology has basically taken over every second of every day of our lives, take the time to hand-make something for your best friend. Send her a written letter or a postcard so she can add it to her collection of BFF mementos. Plus, nothing says "I care about you" like a hand-made anything.
14. Have and keep secrets that no one else knows.
As is expected, you probably have not one, but a few solid people you can share pretty much anything with. Even so, make it a point to keep some things strictly between you and your best friend. Knowing that you trust each other enough to disclose something that no one else in the world is aware of will strengthen the bond you have with one another.
15. Send the occasional care package to brighten up her day.
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There's probably a few things from home that your best friend can't get where she lives now, or vice versa. Every now and then, surprise her with a care package that contains all of her favorite goodies. Or just wait until the end of the year and wrap her birthday, Christmas and grad-school graduation gift into one. She'll feel like she won the lottery.
16. Make future plans to "one day" live in the same city and romanticize about how amazing that would be.
"One day" you'll live in the same city. "One day" you'll be at each other's beck and call. "One day" you'll have babies at the same time (you know, if you want kids) and watch them grow old together. They will, of course, be best friends, and if things go really well, two of them will fall in love so you can all be "officially" family. Long-distance best-friendships are all about the "one-days."
17. On that note, start dreaming about the big future events that will bring you closer together.
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Start talking about ambitions and career goals. Start thinking about all the good things you both want to achieve and can't wait to share with one another. Start outlining weddings, family Christmases and vacations to the beach. Dare to dream a little bit and then make sure to stay friends long enough to watch all of those dreams come true.
18. Always have the next time you're going to see each other in the works, so that you'll have something to look forward to.
Talk about when you could possibly meet up again in the near future. This will help ease the pain and make "goodbye" feel a little less like, "I don't know when I'm going to see you ever again." At least with a timeline tentatively in the works, you'll have something to bug each other about and hopefully count down to. Nothing passes the time faster than a countdown clock on your desktop -- trust me.
19. And obviously, visit when you can. Easier said than done, but when possible, it'll feel good to get some one-on-one face time.
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May I suggest investing in a mileage program -- or several? Flying across the country or world isn't nearly as advanced as it should be by now. So save up and when you need to escape, fly to see her. Also, if you're really close, you might consider using each other's mileage to fly the other out every once in a while. You'll be amazed at what can be achieved when mileage programs join forces.
And remind her every time before you go, that although she's far away, she will always be your number one.