Everyone talks about long distance relationships, how to make them work, if they are worth it, etc. But, what about long distance friendships? What happens to those friends who know you better than you know yourself when you decide to start your digital nomad journey?
Traveling the world and living in different countries is one of the best experiences. You get to meet new cultures, make new friends, and experience new sensations. As a digital nomad, you have plenty of coworking spaces and communities to be part of. And everything will feel amazing during the first few months until you start missing your friends and the people who feel like home.
So, how to make long distance friendships work as a digital nomad? Here are the best ways to strengthen your bonds with your friends despite the distance!
Are Long Distance Friendships That Hard?
In short, yes.
I’ve been a foreigner since I can remember. I moved out of my native country – Guatemala – when I was 3, and since then, I have moved to different countries, with Argentina being my latest home.
And one of my major challenges was not adapting to a new country. It was maintaining my long distance friendships. I have friends that I haven’t seen in 10 years, and we still keep in touch, sharing our latest updates and the things that are going on in our lives. But it hasn’t been easy.
I remember one of the first struggles I experienced was the feeling of missing out. Especially with those friends that are literally family, you feel you’re missing out on many important things, events, and experiences.
Besides that, another common challenge to dealing with long distance friends is texting and overall communication. Yes, I know it sounds silly, but personally, I’m the worst texter in the world. I sometimes take weeks to answer, not because I don’t want to but because I forget. So, I learned the hard way the importance of establishing expectations with my friends in terms of communication.
The bright side of distance friends is that you’ll experience the true value of your relationships. Despite the distance, you’ll always have someone to rely on and to share your most meaningful experiences with!
7 Ways to Make Your Long Distance Friendship Stronger
1. Discover What Works for You
The key for long distance friendships to work is communication. However, this doesn’t mean talking to each other 24/7. You need to define what method works best for you.
The second time I moved to another country, I was 14 years old. We made an unbreakable rule with my best friend: We would skype every Friday, without exceptions.
In the first months, we did prioritize Fridays, but eventually, we wanted to go out and hang out with our friends. I made a new group of friends, and I remember wanting to go to the movies or eat with them but feeling guilty for missing out on my skype date.
When we talked about this with my friend, we found out we were both feeling the same way. We wanted to do different things without feeling guilty about not being there for each other.
That situation made me completely redefine what friendship meant to me. To make things work, communication is always the best way to go. Set clear expectations; if you (like me) hate texting, you can tell your bestie to call you whenever something comes up. On the other hand, if you hate video calls, let them know that as well.
There’s not just one way to catch up; there are thousands of messaging and video call apps. You just need to find out what works best for both of you.
2. Surprise Them with a Card
Keeping your long distance friendships strong is about the little things. Especially if these little things have great meaning. Like cards and letters!
On #SendACardToAFriendDay, what a better way to make your besties feel special with an unexpected card to remind them how much they mean to you.
A simple postcard with a hand-written note is something nobody expects nowadays. Since technology is in everything we do, we get used to texting and calling each other. But a card is a more unexpected way to show your friends you’re always thinking of them.
We created unique templates that you can print and write a special note on!
3. Create a Collaborative Spotify Playlist!
It’s crazy how living in different places changes your music style. You get to listen to new genres, songs, and artists that are completely different from what you’re used to. And, before you realize it, you’re jamming to your new favorite songs!
The thing about having long distance friends is that you don’t need to text or have video calls with them to be present. There are other ways, like creating a collaborative music playlist that makes you feel close.
You get to listen to your friends’ favorite songs, and they get to know your music taste. Even if you have completely different music tastes, being open to their preferences and commenting on the songs is another way to strengthen your bond.
4. Make Important Dates Especial
One of the best feelings is celebrating with our loved ones whenever we have important dates, like birthdays, job promotions, graduations, or any achievements. And when you’re a digital nomad, it’s normal to miss out on these events, but you still can find a way to be present regardless of your location.
Even if you’re working from a beach in Bali or a random coworking space anywhere in the world, you can make your friends feel special.
Besides a cute text message that shows that you remember their important event, why don’t you take things a step further and figure out something that could make them smile from ear to ear? It could be a personalized cake, a funny mug, an album with pictures, or anything that you think they will absolutely love.
Or, you can also create a virtual party to celebrate together. All you need is to make a secret group with all the guests, make sure your friend will be available during that time, and make everyone bring drinks and snacks!
Here are some unique gift ideas perfect for long distance friendships:
- Bond touch bracelets
- Long distance friendship lamps
- Cute customized mug
- Personalized necklace
- Picture frame with a quote
5. Memes are the Best Icebreakers
Everyone loves memes! They are the best way to turn a bad day into a good one or to simply make your best friend laugh.
While there are different love languages out there, like quality time or words of affirmation, memes are also a way of showing people you’re thinking about them – even if you’re thousands of miles away.
If you want some inspiration memes we can all identify with, check out our post on the best work from home memes!
6. Start a New Tradition
People change, and so do friendships. It’s part of life! And as a digital nomad, you’ll sometimes find it hard to talk with your friends because you have other things to do.
And honestly, talking always by video call gets a bit boring. That’s why instead of forcing things, you can get creative and invent new traditions.
Here are some ideas:
- Wine (or beer) nights once a month.
- Creating a book club
- Movie night on special holidays (Valentine’s Day, Friendships Day, Halloween, etc.)
- Virtual brunch!
- Follow a movie tradition like “On Wednesdays, we wear pink” from mean girls, and send each other pictures of your outfits.
In my group of high school friends, three of us live abroad, so whenever one of us has a birthday, we have Zoom parties! We toast together, sing happy birthday, and talk about what’s going on in our lives. It’s a simple tradition that makes us always feel connected.
7. Make Activities Together Even While Being Apart
While catching up is always a great idea, sometimes what makes long distance relationships fall apart is the lack of common things and experiences. Mostly, when we grow up, we discover new activities we enjoy and make new connections with other people. And this makes it harder to reconnect with long distance friends because their reality is entirely different.
As a digital nomad, sometimes you’ll life will feel like a roller coaster, moving to different places and building new relationships. You will be living a completely different reality than your friends, so a way to nurture your friendship is by continuing to do things together, even by being thousands of miles apart.
For example, if one of your new year’s resolutions is to build healthy habits, you can start a club with your friends where you support each other and talk about strategies to stay healthy.
Or, if both of you have always shared a common interest, figure out activities you can do virtually. If both of you love cooking, why not have a virtual cooking class? Or, if you want to learn a new skill for your profession, why not take a course together?
The Power of Long Distance Friendships!
Nurturing your friendship as a digital nomad is always challenging. Syncing time zones, figuring out new activities, and ways to feel closer might feel overwhelming at first. But then, you’ll realize that real long distance friendships are unbreakable. You can be on the other side of the world and still, feel your friends close.