How to start a conversation with a long distance friend

Download Article Co-authored by Rebecca Tenzer, MAT, MA, LCSW, CCTP, CGCS, CCATP, CCFP Last Updated: December 1, 2021 References

How to start a conversation with a long distance friend

Download Article   Co-authored by Rebecca Tenzer, MAT, MA, LCSW, CCTP, CGCS, CCATP, CCFP

Last Updated: December 1, 2021 References

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This article was co-authored by Rebecca Tenzer, MAT, MA, LCSW, CCTP, CGCS, CCATP, CCFP. Rebecca Tenzer is the owner and head clinician at Astute Counseling Services, a private counseling practice in Chicago, Illinois. With over 18 years of clinical and educational experience in the field of mental health, Rebecca specializes in the treatment of depression, anxiety, panic, trauma, grief, interpersonal relationships using a combination of Cognitive Behavioral therapy, Psychodynamic therapy, and other evidence-based practices. Rebecca holds a Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Sociology and Anthropology from DePauw University, a Master in Teaching (MAT) from Dominican University, and a Master of Social Work (MSW) from the University of Chicago. Rebecca has served as a member of the AmeriCorps and is also a Professor of Psychology at the collegiate level. Rebecca is trained as a Cognitive Behavioral Therapist (CBT), a Certified Clinical Trauma Professional (CCTP), a Certified Grief Counseling Specialist (CGCS), a Clinical Anxiety Treatment Professional (CCATP), and a Certified Compassion Fatigue Professional (CCFP). Rebecca is also a member of the Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Society of America and The National Association of Social Workers.

There are 7 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page.

This article has been viewed 34,270 times.

Long distance friendships can be equally demanding and rewarding. Whether you've been friends for a long time or have just started communicating with one another, there are many effective ways to keep in touch, stay connected, and develop your friendship.

Steps

Method 1Method 1 of 3:Staying Connected

1Send regular emails. Sending regular emails is an efficient and cheap form of communication that also allows you to pick up where you left off. Emails allow you to have a longer conversation at almost any time or place.[1] X Research source Go to source

  • Try maintaining one longer conversation within an email thread.[2] X Research source Go to source
  • Send each other links of things you find funny or interesting to add to the conversation.

2Text each other frequently. Texting is a great way to keep up with each other's daily events and routines. Although you may be apart from one another, texting is a great way to get immediate access to each other's lives.

  • Texting can also be an opportunity to be spontaneous and take advantage of each other's separate experiences.
  • Sending a picture or selfie can be a great way to maintain connection.[3] X Research source Go to source

3Follow each other on social media. Following each other on social media will help you maintain a connection even when you are unable to have direct communication with the other person. You will be able to see moments of their life without having to drastically change or alter your schedule.

  • Make sure this isn't your only form of connection and that it doesn't become a habit. It's a good stand in, but comes nowhere close to direct communication.

4Have important phone calls or video chats. Save the longer and deeper conversations for phone calls or video chats. Although you can still indulge in small talk, both phone calls and video chats allow for longer sustained conversations.[4] X Research source Go to source

  • Set aside larger chunks of time to schedule regular weekly phone calls.
  • Video calls don't have to be just for serious topicsyou can have regular video calls where you just hang out just like you did when you lived near each other. You can even do things like play games or watch movies together.[5] X Expert Source

Rebecca Tenzer, MAT, MA, LCSW, CCTP, CGCS, CCATP, CCFP
Clinical Therapist & Adjunct Professor Expert Interview.  29 November 2021. Go to source

  • Use Google Hangout or Skype to video chat.

5Mail each other handwritten letters. Sending handwritten letters is a great way to keep connected while also adding a personal and thoughtful touch. With so many opportunities and devices for communicating at our disposal, taking the time to write a letter shows your appreciation for the relationship.[6] X Research source Go to source

  • Develop a habit of handwriting their birthday card every year.
  • Send them a surprise letter out of the blue!

6Send each other care packages. Sending care packages is another way to express your appreciation for the relationship. Try to collect objects that relate to personal memories you both share and send them to one another.

7Plan a visit. Plan a visit when possible. Although easier said than done, planning future visits helps relieve the pressure of figuring out when and where you are next going to see each other, even if it doesn't end up working out in the end.[7] X Research source Go to source

  • You can also try working your friend into a visit if you will be traveling somewhere close to them. For example, if you are going to be going to the city where your friend lives, then you might try asking your friend to meet up for lunch or dinner. Even if you can't spend lots of time with your friend, this time to catch up and connect can help to maintain your friendship.

Method 2Method 2 of 3:Accepting the Distance

1Maintain small talk. Maintaining small talk is key to keeping a relationship accessible. Not every conversation is centered around deep connection and emotion when face to face and neither does it have to be when facing distance. With so many devices and messaging apps there is hardly an excuse![8] X Research source Go to source

  • Try and check in daily to see what they're up to.
  • Ask about daily routines and activities, like their commute to work, someone they met at school, or what they had for lunch.
  • Don't limit your small talk to questions like "How are you?" Feel free to ask deeper questions, like "How are you doing emotionally?" or "What are your thoughts on the current state of the world?"[9] X Expert Source

Lena Dicken, Psy.D
Clinical Psychologist Expert Interview.  15 December 2020. Go to source

2Avoid cancelling scheduled time to talk. This is especially important if you are living in different time zones, as they can make rescheduling even more difficult. Following through with your plans to communicate, even when inconvenient, will help strengthen your relationship and maintain your connection.

  • There will be lapses in communication. Try and be forgiving and understanding, and do your best to move forward.

3Find things you can do together while apart. There are many activities that can be mutually enjoyed even though you are not in the same location. Finding things to do together will help maintain a bond and can also be a form of quality time.[10] X Research source Go to source

  • Watch the same shows at the same time and have a conversation about them afterward.
  • Start reading a book together.
  • Stream a movie together while you video chat.[11] X Expert Source

Rebecca Tenzer, MAT, MA, LCSW, CCTP, CGCS, CCATP, CCFP
Clinical Therapist & Adjunct Professor Expert Interview.  29 November 2021. Go to source

4Make connection meaningful. Communication can easily become less meaningful by constantly having access to messaging applications and devices. Reach out and attempt to make meaningful connection rather than liking a photo or writing a small post.

  • Remember to try to schedule meaningful routine conversations.

Method 3Method 3 of 3:Expecting Change

1Be willing to accept that change is inevitable. Relationships go through ebbs and flows. Being able to accept change and the distance between you will help reduce tension and anxiety in the relationship. Don't avoid acknowledging when it's difficult, but don't dwell on those moments either.

  • Stating your support for each other's decisions, like relocating for school or a career opportunity, will help you avoid focusing on negativity and difficulty.
  • Try to focus on the positive effects of change and the possibilities it provides your growing relationship.

2Reach out if your friend has not been in touch for a while. Sometimes people get busy and lose touch, but it does not mean they don't want to stay connected. If it has been a while since you have spoken with your friend, try reaching out.[12] X Expert Source

Lena Dicken, Psy.D
Clinical Psychologist Expert Interview.  15 December 2020. Go to source

  • Try calling or texting and saying something like, "Hi Jill! I was just thinking of you the other day and thought I would call/text. How are you?"

3Avoid only dwelling on the past. Although many relationships are based on building shared memories, dwelling on these memories too often can cause tension and prevent you from forming new bonds. Take this distance as an opportunity to pursue a new kind of friendship.[13] X Research source Go to source

  • Avoiding focusing too much on shared memories does not necessarily mean resisting them. Instead, try and talk about a shared memory and how it has positively affected the current relationship as opposed to focusing on the negative effects of distance.

4Know when it's time to say goodbye. All long distance relationships undergo change; some for the worse, some for the better.[14] X Expert Source

Lena Dicken, Psy.D
Clinical Psychologist Expert Interview.  15 December 2020. Go to source  Although there are many ways to try to maintain connection and strengthen the relationship, there may come a time when it's best to end the relationship and say goodbye.[15] X Research source Go to source

  • Knowing when it's time to say goodbye can be difficult to assess, but it helps to continually check-in with yourself by asking questions like, "Am I still enjoying this relationship?", or "Is this relationship making me happy?"
  • Constant and continual fighting, whether you're unable to reconcile differences or cope with change, is a clear sign that you need to re-evaluate the relationship.[16] X Research source Go to source
  • Ending relationships, whether you initiate it or not, is always difficult. Try to stay calm and remember that this person was once an important part of your life.
  • Try to think of it this way: as people, we are constantly changing. You just might not have the same things in common with the people you were friends with when you were younger, and that's okay![17] X Expert Source

Lena Dicken, Psy.D
Clinical Psychologist Expert Interview.  15 December 2020. Go to source

Expert Q&A

  • Question What do you do when your friend doesn't reply?

Lena Dicken, Psy.D Clinical Psychologist Expert Answer Try reaching out to your friend in a kind a way. Say something like "I've tried reaching out a couple of timesmaybe you're going through something that you're not comfortable sharing with me, or maybe you're just not up for connecting with me right now. I just want to you know that I'm here, and I hope that we can connect in the future."

  • Question Why hasn't my friend replied to my text?

Lena Dicken, Psy.D Clinical Psychologist Expert Answer People might not reply for a variety of reasons. They might leave your message on read if they're going through something or if they're just not ready to talk. Whatever the case, always try to react with kindness instead of jumping to conclusions.

  • Question How do I cheer up my long distance friend?

Rebecca Tenzer, MAT, MA, LCSW, CCTP, CGCS, CCATP, CCFP Clinical Therapist & Adjunct Professor Expert Answer You no longer have to be roommates, neighbors or coworkers to comfort one another during tough times. Pick up the phone or schedule a zoom night-in to ensure friends and family are doing well from afar. You can even do workshops, classes, self-care activities all from the comfort of your own home in order to console them.

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References

  1. https://www.themuse.com/advice/the-secret-to-staying-in-touch-with-longdistance-friends
  2. https://www.themuse.com/advice/the-secret-to-staying-in-touch-with-longdistance-friends
  3. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/04/03/best-friend-long-distance_n_5052185.html
  4. http://young.scot/information/relationships/maintaining-long-distance-friendships/
  5. Rebecca Tenzer, MAT, MA, LCSW, CCTP, CGCS, CCATP, CCFP. Clinical Therapist & Adjunct Professor. Expert Interview. 29 November 2021.
  6. https://www.themuse.com/advice/the-secret-to-staying-in-touch-with-longdistance-friends
  7. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/04/03/best-friend-long-distance_n_5052185.html
  8. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/04/03/best-friend-long-distance_n_5052185.html
  9. Lena Dicken, Psy.D. Clinical Psychologist. Expert Interview. 15 December 2020.More References (8)
  10. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/04/03/best-friend-long-distance_n_5052185.html
  11. Rebecca Tenzer, MAT, MA, LCSW, CCTP, CGCS, CCATP, CCFP. Clinical Therapist & Adjunct Professor. Expert Interview. 29 November 2021.
  12. Lena Dicken, Psy.D. Clinical Psychologist. Expert Interview. 15 December 2020.
  13. https://experiencelife.com/article/distant-relations/
  14. Lena Dicken, Psy.D. Clinical Psychologist. Expert Interview. 15 December 2020.
  15. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/aly-walansky/how-do-we-know-its-time-to-say-goodbye-to-a-friend_b_4327420.html
  16. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/aly-walansky/how-do-we-know-its-time-to-say-goodbye-to-a-friend_b_4327420.html
  17. Lena Dicken, Psy.D. Clinical Psychologist. Expert Interview. 15 December 2020.

About This Article

Co-authored by: Rebecca Tenzer, MAT, MA, LCSW, CCTP, CGCS, CCATP, CCFP Clinical Therapist & Adjunct Professor This article was co-authored by Rebecca Tenzer, MAT, MA, LCSW, CCTP, CGCS, CCATP, CCFP. Rebecca Tenzer is the owner and head clinician at Astute Counseling Services, a private counseling practice in Chicago, Illinois. With over 18 years of clinical and educational experience in the field of mental health, Rebecca specializes in the treatment of depression, anxiety, panic, trauma, grief, interpersonal relationships using a combination of Cognitive Behavioral therapy, Psychodynamic therapy, and other evidence-based practices. Rebecca holds a Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Sociology and Anthropology from DePauw University, a Master in Teaching (MAT) from Dominican University, and a Master of Social Work (MSW) from the University of Chicago. Rebecca has served as a member of the AmeriCorps and is also a Professor of Psychology at the collegiate level. Rebecca is trained as a Cognitive Behavioral Therapist (CBT), a Certified Clinical Trauma Professional (CCTP), a Certified Grief Counseling Specialist (CGCS), a Clinical Anxiety Treatment Professional (CCATP), and a Certified Compassion Fatigue Professional (CCFP). Rebecca is also a member of the Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Society of America and The National Association of Social Workers.  This article has been viewed 34,270 times.   Co-authors:  17 Updated: December 1, 2021 Views:34,270 Article Rating:100% - 1 votes Categories: Changing and Losing Friends

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Penelope P

Penelope P

Jun 21, 2020 "My family might be moving soon and I was very scared to leave my friends. This article taught me some new ways to contact them, and it really comforted me. Thanks wikiHow!"

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