The best mirror is an old friend. George Herbert
I’m on an airplane traveling home after attending the wedding of a dear high school friend. It was a gorgeous and love-filled event.
It was also a fantastic weekend celebrating and reconnecting with several former classmates.
As I mixed and mingled at the reception, I heard several times how remarkable it is that our group of friends maintains such close ties. So many people were surprised that after decades apart, we still traveled hundreds of miles to witness our friend’s marriage.
The truth is I can’t imagine not staying close with these people. They are like my siblings. We share life’s joy and we share life’s sadness.
Even though we live in different parts of the country, the closeness remains. And just like in a good marriage, maintaining that bond takes a bit of work.
How to stay best friends forever with someone who lives far away.
1. Use Technology
The world is round so that friendship may encircle it. Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
Years ago we had to rely on pricey long distance phone calls but that’s all changed. Now we keep up with each other much of the time through social media.
Facebook is an obvious one. Another favorite is Instagram. I love seeing glimpses of my friends’ current lives and what they’re up to.
Instant messaging or texting is hands down (pardon the pun) the communication tool of choice.
There are times that scream for a one-on-one phone call, but texting is a quick and easy way to find out if everything is going well. And group texts are the next best thing to actually hanging out together with far away friends. I have several texting groups of long distance loved ones that have been going on for years.
2. Vacation Together
It is one of the blessings of old friends that you can afford to be stupid with them. Ralph Waldo Emerson
I have been on countless journeys with my high school friends since we hung up our caps and gowns.
We’ve had lots of weekend girlfriend retreats. One of us will arrange for a condo rental on the beach and we will all meet up for sun, socializing or just long walks talking about life. (See My Favorite Way To Simply Enjoy Life… to learn about some of the physical and mental benefits of walking that go beyond socializing.)
We’ve had a few fun-filled reunions on cruises. Sometimes these are large class reunions or once as few as three of us sailed away for a few days together to reconnect and recharge.
Another option is to bring the children along and have a mom and kids mini-break. My kids are now life-long friends with the children of my life-long friends.
We’ve also shared vacations with our entire families. Spouses become close which even further strengthens the bond we share.
3. Grow Together
My best friend is the man who in wishing me well wishes it for my sake. Aristotle
Personal growth conferences are an excellent way to keep the ties strong and spend quality time together. Next month I’m attending Think Better Live Better with a friend. We are guaranteed to experience lots of learning and laughs.
Or plan a work conference with an old friend. It’s a great way to build new skills while maintaining your friendship.
I attended my first blogging conference last month. I had a wonderful time meeting new people but I kept thinking of friends who would find all the information I was learning to be useful too. And we would have had so much fun together. Next time I will be sure to take a friend.
4. Be There For The Bad Times Too
Walking with a friend in the dark is better than walking alone in the light. Helen Keller
In the years since high school, my tribe has celebrated plenty of happy times, but we’re also a support network for the unhappy times.
Let’s face it. Life happens… and along with it comes unexpected illness, death, divorce, betrayal and other forms of sadness and grief.
I’m grateful for the times my friends gently, and sometimes not so gently, rescued me from the brink of despair.
Even though we can’t always physically be with our loved one during trying times, a text or a phone call, or even a gift basket reminds them of our love.
Friends are among life’s greatest treasures. Keeping and nurturing those relationships is golden. We’d love to hear how you fan the flames of friendship and keep those bonds strong. Please share some ideas in the comments below.