8 Tips for Long Distance Friendships

Today (September 9th) marks the first day of school for New York City primary school students. While many students will be excited to return to school to hang out with their friends on a more regular basis, many other students won’t get to see some of their old friends, because they or their friends have moved. Families usually move in the summers to prevent an interruption in their child’s education. What can kids do to keep in touch with their old friends that are too far away to hang out with them? Take it from us; we’ve moved so many people over the years that have taught us a thing or two about keeping in touch with friends that live far away. Here’s some of the best advice we have for kids just started school hundreds of miles away from their best friends, and maybe some points that their parents and anyone in between can take!

 Long distance friendships



1. Communicate “Face to Face”.

This one is easy. You gotta stay in touch with your old friends! Skype and Facetime have made it easier than ever to communicate with friends “face-to-face”. FaceTime makes it easier to chat with your friends on mobile devices and computers. Both have their own features, but the point is that seeing an old friend is now a possibility.


2. Call if you can’t videochat.

If you or your friend have a slow internet connection, or is on the go, a simple phone call is a great way to stay connected that might be more practical than a videochat. A vocal conversation is much more personal than a series of text messages or instant messages on social media. Your friends will appreciate getting to hear your voice, and you’ll appreciate hearing theirs. Plus, who knows what you’ll get to talking about?


3. Write to them.

Send your friends postcards to let them know that you're thinking of them. It's more personal than an email, and your friends will really appreciate the sentiment. Know the feeling you get when you get a piece of physical mail? Imagine the feeling your friend will get when they get a letter from one of their closest friends? Try sending a localized postcard to open up your friend to their old (or your new) city.


4. Meet their new friends.

In the age of social networks, it’s easier than ever to get to know someone without ever meeting them. When kids move, they naturally make new friends. Why not connect with these new friends? You probably have something in common, given the mutual friendship involved. Keeping in touch with the other friends your far-away friend has is a good way to keep pace with their life and what’s going on over there. (This all still applies if you’re the one that’s moving - introduce your new friends to your old friends, and let the internet take it from there!)


5. Play Online Games With Friends

Playing games online with your long distance friends can be a great way to spend time together. You can play certain mobile & PC video games together or sign up for XBOX Live or PSN+ to play games together. Interactive online gaming feels pretty much like you’re in the room with your gaming compatriots, staring at the same TV as them!  For a lower cost option, free fantasy sports league or an Oscars (or other award show) pool can be a fun activity for your friend group all across the country (or the world!). Alternatively, you can watch live sporting events and TV shows together and discuss them with your friends to connect in real time.  


6. Make Time to Visit

Interpersonal interactions are key to any friendship. There’s a lot you can do to try and mend losing the in-person aspect of hanging out with your friend, but nothing can fully replace it. If your friends want to visit, let them know your couch (or guest room, or whatever you have) is open!  For friends that haven’t moved very far away, bus and train trips can be very affordable. If a bigger group wants to come by and the couch isn’t enough, try renting a room on AirBnB.



For a friend too far-away to visit by bus or train, there is a science to buying plane tickets. Travel aggregators like Expedia, Orbitz and Kayak can help you find the most affordable fare for your trip. Airline fares are usually cheapest 6-7 weeks before the date of the flight; the cheapest days to fly are Tuesday and Wednesday. Rules, regulation, and frankly logic, go out the window during holiday travel windows, however. Try to avoid flying during these windows if you can. If you have to, it usually pays off to book a holiday flight well in advance.


7. Remember the good times.

All friends have great inside jokes they couldn’t possibly explain to a stranger. You had to be there! Reminiscing every once in awhile is a good way to remind yourself and your far-away friend why you became so close in the first place. Facebook and TimeHop commemorate the yearly anniversary of social media posts - some of your best memories that have been collected and commemorated in some form. Each one of these arbitrary anniversaries can be a great excuse to look back at all your good memories.


8. Move On.

Unfortunately, people do have to adapt to their new surroundings when they move, whether they like it or not. When you move, your friends will move on to an extent, and so should you. Don’t use a group of friends in your old hometown as an excuse to act reclusive in your new surroundings. Make new friends. Things will change, it’s inevitable; it helps to be ready for that change. That doesn’t mean your old friends shouldn’t be a part of your life. Their role in your life just has to adjust. The adjustment will get easier, and make those moments you can spend together that much better.



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