The Student Guide To Making Long Distance Friendships Work
Moving away from home for university means experiencing new things, meeting new people, and making new friends, but that doesn’t mean you can’t make your existing friendships work.
You may not seem them as often as you’d like, speak to them as much and it may be difficult to make plans, but there are ways you can keep the bestie vibes with your friends from home.
Discover how to make long distance friendships thrive within our student guide with 8 tips to help you out!
1. Acknowledge The Dynamic Has Changed
Our first tip for making long distance friendships work whilst at university, is to acknowledge that the friendship has changed, or it will change in time.
It’s a normal part of life to drift from people as you go on your own path and go through new chapters, but that doesn’t mean you can’t remain friends.
The key is to accept that the friendship may not be the same as when you were living close to each other and seeing one another a lot more.
Although, just because you may not stay as close as you used to be and you may drift apart, that doesn’t mean the friendship won’t last.
Don’t be afraid of change, see it is as a natural thing!
2. Put Time In To Catch Up
If you want someone in your life, you need to put in the effort to keep them there.
The same goes for them, there’s nothing worse than a one-sided friendship.
There may be some friends that you’ll lose along the way as you move through adulthood, however, if each side wants to make their friendship last, it will.
Ensure that you’re putting in the effort and time to stay in touch with your friend or friends, whether it’s sending messages or making phone calls.
If you feel like you haven’t spoken to someone in a while, don’t be afraid to be the first to reach out.
They may be feeling the exact same way as you, but they don’t really know what to say or they may feel like you’re too busy to talk to them.
You may feel like some things aren’t worth telling people about, but even the small things like telling your friend you started seeing someone new, you did well on your recent assignment, or you cooked up a new recipe for dinner can spark a conversation.
Although, you shouldn’t be the only one reaching out to your friend, if it’s always you, you may want to think about whether there’s a conscious effort from their side at all.
Another great way to spark up conversations is to send someone a memory that you share, whether it’s a funny picture or a wholesome time.
Being nostalgic of the past can be a good thing, but make sure that your whole friendship doesn’t rely on conversations through snapchat memories or sending each other TikTok’s!
3. Do Things Online
Just because you’re apart from your friends doesn’t mean you can’t still do things virtually, thanks to social media and digital technology.
As you know from the pandemic, we can still have friend dates whether it’s zoom quizzes, playing online games, FaceTime catch ups or even Netflix parties if we can’t see one another.
You may be in two different places, but you can still do things together, even something simple like watching the same film or TV show and talking about what you thought of it can be a fun activity.
It’s important to remember though, that social media can be a good thing to maintain long distance friendships, but it can also be a highlight reel where people post only the good parts of their life.
So, don’t get yourself down if you see that all your friends from home are hanging out all the time or living their best life whilst you’re at uni – FOMO can be the devil!
4. Make Plans To See Each Other
Catching up online is great, but if you can, make plans to see your friends in-person.
With the Christmas Holiday coming up, if you’re heading home, why not schedule in a catch up with your friends during your time off from uni?
Whilst it’s a busy period, it’s the perfect time to see people you haven’t seen in a while.
You could even schedule in some plans for months in advance, whether it’s going to a concert together, a trip away or even a bottomless brunch, it’s something you can both look forward to!
Another fun plan you could make to see your long-distance friends is inviting them up to stay with you in your student accommodation or student house.
You can show them around your uni city or town!
Remember, everyone has their own life and other things going on, so you shouldn’t take it personal if it’s not possible for your friend to be there for a specific plan.
If you’re an international student and in another country, don’t feel like you can’t stay close with your friends even if visiting is not possible due to being thousands of miles away.
It may be hard with different time zones, but you can keep long distance friendships alive without seeing one another for long periods of time!
5. Address Any Conflict Early On
Long distance friendships can be hard, it’s something you may not have experienced until moving away for uni.
If you’ve started to have some issues with one of your friends because of how little you see each other, how you don’t speak as much anymore or how they see their new friends more than you, try to have a discussion about things early on.
Sometimes difficult conversations are necessary, and you don’t want to let arguments get swept under the rug and not really addressed properly.
Try to resolve things as soon as they happen, or within a short time frame rather than pretending that everything is fine and dandy.
Communication really is key when it comes to long distance friendships!
6. See Distance As A Good Thing
A further tip for making long distance friendships work is to see distance and space as good things.
Whilst being far away from people can put a strain on your relationship with one another as we just discussed, it can also bring positivity.
After all, how great and meaningful does it feel when you see someone you haven’t seen in a long time?
It makes things a lot more special when you do get together.
Instead of spending time driving around your hometown or shopping together every weekend, you get to spend time catching up on big things going on in your lives every few months, or however long the time frame is.
If you have a true friendship with someone, it will feel like no time has passed at all when you do see each other!
7. Don’t Compare Friendships
As you know, university is a time for making new friends, meeting tons of new people from your flatmates to your course mates to those you meet at clubs and societies, and even the people you only ever bump into on a night out.
We’d suggest not comparing any of your existing friendships with your new friendships.
You may feel like you’re closer to the people you’ve met at uni, as after all, you’re with them pretty much every day.
However, that doesn’t mean you should view your friendships with people from home any different.
It’s important to remember that your friendship with everyone will be different, there’s some you will be closer with more than others, and that’s okay.
8. Remember, It’s Natural
Finally, if you’re struggling with friendships changing as you’ve moved to uni, then understand that it’s a part of life.
You’re going to meet new people as you move through each chapter of your life, and some may stay, whilst others may not.
Friendships might be easier to maintain when you’re in the same place, but that doesn’t mean you won’t have friends that will stick with you through it all!
At the end of the day, if you put the work in to maintain a friendship, it will thrive.
Has this student guide to maintaining long distance friendships been helpful? We sure hope so!
Let us know if you have any other tips for making your long-distance friendships work @urbanstuentlife.