You and your bestie have been through everything together – dreadful exams, school dances, and too many double-dates to count. But now one of you has decided to go on a gap year before heading off to university and you’re worried about losing the closeness you so cherish.
Never fear! Gap years are nothing new, and thanks to modern technology, it’s never been easier to keep in touch with your bestie even if one of you is halfway around the world. Here are five great ways to make sure your long-distance friendship is every bit as awesome as hanging out in person.
Use technology to your advantage.
Much of the time we live in a virtual world anyway, so transferring your friendship from the real world to cyberspace should be a cinch. Obviously your smartphone is the most direct link to your bestie. You already know how to text and video chat, but why not take your on-the-go communication to the next level?
Chat apps like Slack aren’t just for the boardroom anymore. These virtual chatting environments are perfect for mobile devices and ideal for keeping your whole gang connected, informed, and feeling loved. You can create channels for different friends or different events (like your trek across Europe) and everyone will be able to easily navigate updates, send a quick “I’m thinking of you” note, and plan those much-anticipated get-togethers you’re bound to make happen.
But don’t overlook going old-school.
The art of the letter isn’t quite dead, and that’s a good thing because sometimes nothing makes you feel closer to your bestie than receiving a letter written in their loopy handwriting. To make the letter-writing process even more personal, you could share a journal, where you each write entries in the form of letters to the other and pass the book back and forth every few weeks.
Sharing the book also gives you the chance to create more than letters. You can add collages of favorite photos, mementos from your travels, or cool postcards you find along the way. These elements add a sense of shared experience, as if your bestie were right there with you.
Sometimes you have more to share than can easily be communicated via a group text. For those momentous updates it’s nice to have a place where you can wax on as much as you like and share copious amounts of photos without too much hassle. Forming a private group on Facebook can be the perfect solution. And if you have friends all over the world, a private group is a fun way to bridge the gap and keep in touch with them.
Sync your hobbies.
Just because you’re in different hemispheres doesn’t mean you can’t re-hash the latest episode of “Scandal” or share insights from a current “New York Times” bestseller. Coordinate your TV bingeing and set a weekly time to pore over all the juicy, new developments. Or you could start a two-person book club. Select a book and then arrange a meeting every week where you’ll talk about how the plot’s developing, which characters you love and hate, and how you think everything’s going to turn out.
If you’re both in a position where you can cook, select a recipe of the week and then both share how it turned out. Take pics of your food and see whose dish has the best presentation. Share what you would do differently next time or if you’ll never try that dish again. Regularly sharing these kinds of coordinated activities is the next best thing to being there.
Notice the little things.
Staying close to your bestie doesn’t have to be hard work. If you’re walking down the street and see something that reminds you of a funny time together, snap a quick photo and send it to them with a quick, “This made me think of you.” If you go to a restaurant and eat a meal that you just know your bestie would love, send them a quick pic and a “wish you were here” message.
If you go into a shop and see a little trinket that represents a private joke, pick it up and pop it in the mail as a thoughtful surprise that you know will make them laugh. The best way to keep your bestie close is to remember them and share the little moments where you can almost feel them by your side.
It may feel hard to figure out how to stay friends after moving, but as long as you continue to make your friendship a priority, there’s no reason you can’t grow even closer. They say absence makes the heart grow fonder and it’s easy to see how true that can be if you just use a little ingenuity – and some of these ideas – to keep your bestie close, no matter where each of you may roam.