I talked with my friend Grace for two hours over the weekend. Grace and I became good friends at IU and we spent almost every Friday night at her place baking brownies and homemade pizza (it’s her fault I gained 10 pounds in college). But even though we’re such good friends, our chat over the weekend was the first time we had talked in months.
Grace isn’t the first friend I’ve started the conversation with, “Wait, when was the last time we talked?” And I’m saddened and embarrassed that I’ve not taken enough time to catch up with all my long-distance friends over the past few months. But apparently, that’s a thing. It’s one of those “that’s how life just is” kind of things. Many of my friends have expressed similar feelings and have shared how rarely they actually talk with their friends who live in other states.
Quite frankly, I wish I had known before moving to the east coast that this was a thing. Not that it would have changed my mind about moving, but it would have made me more conscientious about reaching out to my friends.
I supposed it’s an age-old dilemma. You meet friends at summer camp, swear to be best friends forever, and then forget to call (though no one can really blame eight-year-olds for falling out of touch). Same goes with high school and college friends. You think you’ll be friends forever, and then you just aren’t. It sucks, there’s no good way to say it.
Through this semi-heart wrenching process, I’ve learned which friends truly value me and my friendship. They’re the friends who text me if they haven’t heard from me in a week, the friends who are equally busy but are trying to make our connection a permanent one.
Now that I’m finally settled down in New York, I’ve realized that it’s 100% on me to keep in touch with my friends and let them know how much I love and value them. While I’m definitely not perfect, I’ve been doing my best to chat with my besties semi-regularly. To make sure I’m giving my friends the TLC they deserve, I’ve started doing a few things to make sure I’m setting aside the time to focus on them.
Text Them Goodnight
This is a great way to integrate your long-distance friends into your daily life. Wishing them a simple “good night” or “good morning” lets them know you’re thinking of them and opens the door for them to call or text you. I have a few friends who will drop me a short text just asking how my day’s been, and it never fails to make me smile. Just knowing someone is thinking about you can make all the difference, so take the time to let your friends know you still love them.
Put Them in Your Phone Calendar
This sounds really strange, but setting an alarm on your phone calendar can help you keep tabs on friends. Going months without talking feels bad and you miss out on so much of their lives. Setting a weekly reminder to call or skype with someone will ensure you’re setting aside the time to prioritize your friends and give them the attention they deserve.
Comment on Their Instagram Photos
This is another super small act that can really impact someone. Instead of just liking their photo, comment on it and ask a question about their trip or the dish they ate. Dropping a short note on their photos shows that you’re actually paying attention to what they’re up to.
If you haven’t spoken to someone in months, I know how awkward it can be to reach out to talk. But I always think about it like this: have you been wishing the other person would be the first to say hi? If the answer is yes, they’ve probably been thinking the same thing. Only good things can come out of staying in touch with long-distance friends, so make sure to prioritize your friendships!
What surprised you about living on your own for the first time? If there’s anything else I should look out for, I’d love to know now!