Long-Distance Friendships: 5 Rules to Stay In Touch

I moved to Florida around ten months ago. I left most of my friends in Ohio. My best friend had moved to Colorado around the same time I moved. I am still close with most of these friends because I followed a few rules.

In today’s digital age of the Internet, instant messages from Facebook, Twitter, and other social media sites, to the old school emails and phone calls, there are more ways than ever to keep in touch with long-distance friends. I have created a list of rules to follow if you want to keep in touch with friends no matter the distance between you.

Here are five rules to stay in touch with your long-distance friends:

1. Say “Hi” Often

Even if you have nothing else to say, saying something like “Hi! I was just thinking of you. How are things?” can start a conversation. Reach out like this on a regular basis. I do it every day with some friends and weekly with others. Sometimes things fluctuate between daily and weekly and somewhere in between. Go with the flow.

2. Don’t Expect a Response Right Away

You both have lives. You’re both busy. Give them time to respond. Figure out what a normal response time is between you and your friend and follow up as needed to initial messages.

3. Initiate!

This rule is simple. If you don’t message them first, chances are they won’t message you. I am the initiator of most of the conversations I have with my friends. If I see the little green dot by their name on Facebook, you can bet I’m going to say “hi.” Even if there isn’t a green dot I will send them funny memes that remind me of them.  You get what you give.

4. Respond Often

If you never respond to friends, they’ll never respond to you. You get what you give.

5. Listen

This one is simple. Ask how you’re friend’s job is going. Listen to their answers. Make sure they have just as much screen time as you. Ask them about topics they want to talk about. Don’t turn everything around to your life. Ask questions about what is happening in their life. If they give short responses ask something like “Do you want to tell me more?” or “Are you busy? Do you want to tell me the details later when you have some free time?” If you are genuinely interested in their lives and want to know details, you will continue to be close to them no matter how much distance you have between you.

By following these rules you can keep a close friendship with any of your friends. These rules are rules I follow to stay close to the important people in my life despite the distance between us.

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