Alissa smiling with a friend.

The Advantages of Long Distance Besties & How to Keep the Friendship Thriving

relationships Mar 04, 2019

So, story of my life. Many of my best friends don’t live close to me. That seems to be the reality of getting older. Life happens, people move. Suddenly your best friend isn’t a bike ride away, the next dorm room over, or sitting in the desk next to you at work. How do you stay friends, though? How do you keep that connection going? It all comes down to one thing. EFFORT.

In moving away from home, I was able to quickly see which friendships were going to work and which weren’t. Some of them faded quickly. That’s okay! If you find yourself always texting first, feeling like you have nothing in common, yet still holding onto a friendship for dear life “because you’ve been friends since you were 12 so you might as well keep being friends.” That’s not a good enough reason. Let it go. A long distance friendship takes work, but it goes both ways.

I cherish my long distance friendships so, so much. My best friend, Jenna, came out to visit the other weekend. We realized we’ve been friends for 13 YEARS! Since age 14, we’ve been tight. When I knew she was on the plane to California, I felt super emotional. It was such a cool feeling to think wow, here’s this person I’ve known for so many years of my life, we’ve seen each other through it all and are still making the effort to be in each other’s lives. Like, it really hit me that she cared about me enough to hop on a plane for a visit. And it’s a humbling feeling to be able to share your adult life with a friend you’ve had since you were crazy teenagers. She’s married to her high school sweetheart now and has a 7-month-old son. I have a whole new life in California and am in the process of buying a home with my boyfriend. It’s cool to share our different lives and reflect on how far we’ve come.

Meghan and I in Portland

Another wonderful part of long distance friendships? You really cherish the time you have together. You’re fully in the moment together because you know it won’t last forever and you want to soak up every minute. You don’t waste too much time on small talk. You enjoy the deep conversations. You don’t hold back on telling your friend how amazing they are because you don’t know when you’ll see them next! My best friend, Meghan, moved up to Portland about six months ago. I’m thankful that Portland is only a short plane ride away, but I miss being able to meet her for yoga on Saturdays or at Seabirds Kitchen for a bibimbap bowl. However, in the six months since she’s moved, I’ve already gotten to see her twice! And you better believe we packed in every bit of fun that we could in our time together. That’s the beauty of getting to see a friend you don’t see too often – you pick the highlight reel and do all of your favorite things together. Best restaurants, favorite activities, and of course some good ol’ fashioned quality time, drinking wine and chatting on the couch. We made the most of our time together knowing it was only a short while before we had to say goodbye again.

I actually think it’s lucky to have friends who are far away because you appreciate each other so much. You’re reminded of what they bring into your life because it’s not what you’re surrounded with every day. So when you do get to see them, you’re enveloped in the essence of them. It brings out another side of you, the person you are when you’re with them. It reminds you why you’re such good friends.

Lauren and I in Minneapolis

When I get to see my girl Lauren, I’m always laughing until my stomach hurts. We became super close in college, so any time I’m with her I’m brought back to the girl I was in those days. Which, back then, Lauren and I were running around our college campus ding dong ditching houses like 12-year-olds. She brings out the goofiest side of me and any time I’m with her, I forget anything I’m worried about because we just live in the moment.

My lovely friend Meg was one of my first friends when I came to California. She, my friend Jess, and I were a trio. The three musketeers. We were transplants in California together and we spent nearly every weekend together exploring our new home. Meg moved up to San Francisco a few years ago which was hard for Jess and I! But it’s turned out to be amazing to have a friend living in a different part of California. We now have a standing trip up to the Bay every year to visit Meg and it’s our chance for a full weekend of girl time. It feels like a homecoming having the three of us together. We are brought back to being the giggly girls we were when we first came to Cali.

Meg, Jess, and I in Berkley

Like I said at the beginning of the post, making sure these friendships thrive takes effort. It’s about booking the flights, sending the texts, making the phone calls. What that looks like for each individual friendship is different, but with the right friends, this isn’t a chore. It’s something you naturally want to do to keep in touch with this special person in your life.

Having friends in places all over the country is an amazing gift. Sure, there are many times I wish I could just meet up with them for dinner or have a wine and Netflix night. I miss them! But, if I want to travel to Minnesota or Portland or the Bay, I have a place to stay! It’s another reason to take a vacation. The best part, though, is the beautiful different perspectives they bring into my life. It’s special to have friends who are down the street and have a similar life to you, but it’s also so refreshing to have a friend whose life is totally different than yours. You can breathe new perspective into the others’ life while still bringing out your true self. Long distance friendships may take a little more work, but they make life a lot sweeter.

With love,