Long-distance friendships can be difficult to maintain at the best of times. But in a pandemic, with travel restrictions and isolation regulations, it is near impossible.
In normal circumstances, I would be visiting friends across the country almost every weekend. We would be catching up over dinner, dancing until sunrise and binging Netflix on the sofa together. Friendships can become tricky when adulthood, and all that comes with it, starts ramping up. Suddenly it’s no longer you and your best friend at university together. You have full-time jobs, family members to take care of and a house to maintain. I’m exhausted just thinking about the amount I have to do today.
When you add a pandemic into the mix, long-distance friendships can become strained and too much work to maintain. It sounds awful to think of my friends as “work.” However, the reality is maintaining a strong bond takes time, effort and hard work. Here are some ideas on how to make it a little easier.
Organising a time to talk can be one of the hardest parts of a long-distance friendship. Especially when a lot of us are working from home and working a bit more sporadically.
If your schedules don’t match up, why not try voice memos? You can send one long voice memo on Whatsapp, detailing what you have been up to and any exciting updates. Or, use Facebook to send multiple minute-long voice memos that your friend can easily reply to.
Personally, I find sending lots of shorter voice memos much easier. That way, my friends can respond to individual memos and smoothly follow the conversation.
You can reply to voice memos whenever you have a spare minute. This takes the pressure off organising a specific time to talk and makes your conversation feel a bit more spontaneous.
Voice memos are also great if you’re having an off day. You can tell your friend how you are feeling without immediately hearing the response. Sometimes it helps to vent your feelings without having to chat about them as well.
If voice memos aren’t your thing, try filming the exciting parts of your week instead. Whether you’re looking at new houses online or making a delicious recipe for the first time, vlog the experience so your friend can join the fun.
I like to film little hauls and try-on videos when I order new clothes online. My girlfriends and I enjoy seeing each other’s new clothes and get inspiration from each other.
Vlogging is also an excellent alternative to Facetime. Video calling can be a bit stressful with poor WiFi, noisy family houses and stubborn microphones. Send a vlog whenever you, and your WiFi, are feeling up to it.
Long-distance friendships in a pandemic are all about kindness. Stay in touch as often as you can and be kind to each other when you’re stressed.
It’s no secret that technology is the ultimate saviour when it comes to long-distance friendships. However, personal touches are also necessary. Handwritten letters and cards can really make your friend smile.
Cards aren’t just for celebrations either. Send them a card if they’re feeling down or need a reminder of just how much they mean to you.
I like to send my friends personalised cards with pictures of us. These make fabulous gifts that they can frame and hang up in their home.
However, if your friend is travelling and moving around a lot, sending letters to new addresses can be tricky. When my best friend moved to Australia for a year, I gave her ten handwritten letters before leaving. Each one was addressed to a different situation. For example, ‘open when you’re feeling homesick’, ‘open if you’re heartbroken’ and ‘open when you need a reminder that you’re a badass gal.’
She later said these letters were an absolute lifesaver when feeling lonely on her travels. She kept them in her suitcase at all times so she could take a peek in her lowest moments. I also added photos and small gifts in each envelope. This is an inexpensive way to remind your friend that you’re always there for them.
At the moment, travelling isn’t exactly an option for most of us. But, in the future, keep this tip in mind!
Virtual Pamper Nights
Is there anything better than watching a new film and having a pamper night with the girls? Nope!
Use Netflix Party to watch your favourite film with your friend. You can chat while watching it and even treat yourselves to a facemask and glass of wine.
After nearly a year of intermittent lockdowns, I’m struggling to find anything new to talk about with my loved ones. Honestly, I have nothing to update them on. Watching a movie with your loved ones is a great way to spend time together when you don’t have much to catch up on.
It’s also a little slice of normality.
Moving back in with my parents at 22 was hardly ideal. In fact, it was pretty much as far as I could get from my post-graduation plan. I was bursting to travel, move to a new city and, most importantly, find a media job that was actually paid. However, my determination to achieve financial and personal independence was soon squashed by the pandemic... to read more click HERE