We all had a great time together and there was never a night that wasn’t full of laughter. But after ten years of living in the city, it was time for my family to leave and I was positive that my friendships would be what I missed the most. So you can imagine my surprise, a year later, that of all the things I miss, my friendships aren’t at the top of the list. I miss the energy, the buildings and my walks. I miss the weather and the parks. Sure, I miss seeing my friends but we’ve stayed incredibly connected and in some ways I feel closer to them now.
Here are some ways we've maintained a close bond.
1. Text it all…big or small.
There’s an unspoken rule that if something occurs in our lives worth mentioning, we write a group email or text. No need to suffer a loss alone or keep a good laugh to yourself. The texts vary in heaviness. We've shared a terrible experience at work, a bad date, an illness in the family or running into an ex. These texts, no matter how heavy at first, usually turn into a lighthearted or uplifting banter to brighten our days.
2. Phone dates. Make an actual phone call.
I try to take time about once a month to actually speak on the phone with one of my friends. As a busy mom, I rarely call people on the phone but these calls are important. More often than not, they are every other month, rather than every month but they are so worth it to actually hear someone's voice and laughter.
3. Send snail mail.
I often joke that snail mail and pretty cards are my love language. I spend more money than I would like to admit on pretty cards and stationary. It always means so much to me when someone has taken the time to write it out, put a stamp on it and take it to the post office.
4. Celebrate together.
A friend's twins turned 1. I turned 35. A friend officiated a wedding. A friend made a major career accomplishment. I was sad not to be present for these events but we found other ways to celebrate together. Sending pictures, letters, and gifts, we felt a part of these experiences.
5. Take pics and when all else fails get on a plane.
A picture is worth a thousand words. I love actually getting to see my friend's growing belly, even if she doesn't want to share it on Instagram. It makes me feel less alone to text a photo of my child's tantrum even though I wouldn't want to share the details on social media. Send pics! It's guaranteed to make you smile or laugh.
Do you remember this iPhone commercial? I cannot watch it without tearing up.
In the end, we've also found ways to see one another once or twice a year. Someone in the group is always traveling here or there for work. The timing might not be ideal and the accommodations less than luxurious and maybe sometimes it means adding an unpaid day to the trip but we've found ways to extend work vacations, sleep on friend's couches or meet somewhere in the middle, if it means one good cup of coffee. And those moments carry us to the next visit with one another.
How do you keep up with your friends? Do you still feel close to friends and family that live far away?