Maintaining a good online friendship requires effort, but there are several strategies you can use to keep your bonds strong. Here are a few ideas:
1. Make communication a priority
Making communication a priority in a long-distance friendship requires you to plan ahead and be intentional about staying in touch. It's not something that comes naturally to many people, so the only way is to first decide to do it. This is a necessary first step if you're going to make any progress in fostering a strong long-distance friendship.
Set a regular schedule: Decide when and how often you and your friend will communicate, such as weekly video calls or daily text messages. Set a time and day of the week for a Zoom video call or a FaceTime session. Although the method itself is predictable and can be construed as "boring", the results will be far from it!
Make use of technology: Use technology to your advantage by taking advantage of video calls, group chats, voice notes, and emails. Here's a great way to communicate...
Friendship Lamps - A pair of lamps that are interconnected through their respective Wi-Fi connections in two different locations; across town, in two different parts of the country, or even across borders. It works everywhere. Simply set up the two lamps in their respective locations and hook them up. You can then "communicate" by simply tapping your lamp's sensor plate, which will trigger your friend's lamp to light up in a preset color of your choosing. Your friend can tap their lamp to respond, and yours will change to the color they've chosen.
2. Share meaningful moments
Share stories, photos, and experiences with your friend to make your connection more meaningful. Platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter are great for quickly and easily sharing photos and videos with friends. If your files are too large to send via email, you can create a link to the content and send it to your friend. Services like WhatsApp, WeChat, and Line allow you to upload photos and videos directly to the app and share them with your online best bud.
3. Be supportive
Offer your friends emotional support and encouragement when they need it. A good friend is one that sticks with you through good times and bad, not just the fun times alone. Being a good long-distance best friend requires being willing to listen and being present.Here are some simple ways to do this:
- Listen: Allow your friend to express their feelings without judgment. This is probably the best way to offer your support - by simply lending an ear or offering a shoulder to cry on, virtually speaking.
- Offer advice: When appropriate, offer advice and perspective to help your friend make decisions. The keyword here is "appropriate", so know when to offer a solution versus when to simply hear them out.
- Show empathy: Put yourself in your friend's shoes to better understand what they are going through. Don't be judgmental. Put yourself in their shoes and try to understanding things from their viewpoint. The frame of reference should be theirs, not yours.
- Send encouragement: Send your friend positive messages to remind them of their worth and to encourage them to keep going. Don't just forward positive messages; take the time to write a small note of encouragement on a daily basis. Soon, they'll come to expect and anticipate your little nuggets of hope.
4. Give and receive feedback
Be open to constructive feedback from your friends and give them feedback in return. The best way to deliver feedback depends on the situation and the person you are giving feedback to. Generally, it is best to deliver feedback in a way that is constructive, respectful, and clear. The important aspects of giving feedback, especially negative or constructive feedback, is to keep it specific, timely, honest, and respectful.
In that same vein, when it's time for you to receive feedback, listen to what they're saying and try to pick up specific points. It's also a good idea to ask questions to help them clarify their position. If you need to, take notes - and let them know you're doing that because it will make them feel that their views are valid and respected. Finally, remember to stay positive throughout. It's easy to become defensive when someone criticizes you, so watch out for that.
5. Have fun together
Fun is the most exciting element of any friendship, especially a long-distance friendship. Find activities or games you can do together online to keep your relationship light and fun. What you do doesn't really matter. What counts is the quality of the time you spend together online. A simple two-player online game can provide hours of engagement and fun, especially if you've got voice chat going side by side. Some great platforms for you to check out:
2. Epic Game Store
5. Steam Chat
7. Blizzard Battle.net
In the End... or Is It Just The Beginning?
What's the purpose of doing all this? Well, it depends on what you want out of the relationship, but some of the key benefits include becoming closer over time, creating memories together, having an excuse to travel more (to meet them, perhaps?), having something to anticipate on a daily or weekly basis, giving yourself and your friend a sense of stability, and creating a bond for life.
Remember: the more effort the both of you put into these ideas and actually executing them, the more you both benefit. In the end, having strong friendships with even a few people can do so much for you:
1. Friends provide emotional support and help you cope with stress.
2. Friends help you to have a greater sense of belonging.
3. Friends provide companionship and help you to feel less lonely.
4. Friends offer encouragement and help you to reach your goals.
5. Friends help you to grow and change for the better.
6. Friends provide a listening ear and help you to process difficult situations.
7. Friends offer companionship, which is good for your mental and physical health.
Why is it Important to Maintain Long-distance Friendships?
Long-distance friendships are important because they provide emotional support, help us remember special moments in our lives, and build a strong bond that can not only last over time but also withstand the stress of physical distance.
While maintaining these friendships can be challenging, technology can be used to stay in touch, and initiating virtual activities, such as book clubs, can enhance intimacy and build closeness. Common interests can also help keep the friendship alive, but vulnerability and addressing conflicts in a non-accusatory way using "I" statements are also crucial to building a strong bond.
Overall, maintaining long-distance friendships requires effort, communication, and reciprocal commitment to the relationship. As they say, it's a two-way street.