Long-distance friendships can stink… but they can also be really awesome!

I’ve talked about long-distance friendships here on Joy Because Grace before (see this post containing tips and stories and this post about what to do before your friend moves). Today, I’m going to be telling you about my all-time favorite way to stay in touch with my long-distance bestie. :)

Quick backstory…

My best friend Michaela and I have had a long-distance friendship for about 8 or so years. Over the years, we have used a variety of ways to keep in touch. More recently, we have used apps like Snapchat and/or Instagram to send each other direct messages consisting of pictures or videos.

There was a problem with Snapchat and Instagram though. When Michaela and I would send each other video messages, we would have to send a series of messages- as Instagram and Snapchat have a limit on how long the videos can be.

This posed a problem for us when we had something super exciting or super sad to say. We wanted to talk more than just the 15-second limit!

…Enter Marco Polo.

Marco Polo is a video messaging app. I like to think of it as “delayed Facetime.”

You record yourself and leave your friend a video message right there from the Marco Polo app. Your friend can watch the video while you’re recording it or if they are away from their phone they can see it later when they open the app. Then, your friend can reply to you by leaving you a video message in reply.

Unlike Snapchat or Instagram messaging, the videos can be as long as you need them to be!

Additionally, unlike Snapchat or Instagram messaging, the videos don’t disappear once the other person views them. This is nice so that if you need to go back to remember what your friend said, you have that ability.

Marco Polo has some fun features too!

You can apply voice filters to yourself: helium, “macho,” and robot. You can also draw on the screen before or while you record yourself speaking. Additionally, you can apply filters to the video by swiping right or left. {These aren’t as cute as the Snapchat filters, but there is a “Night Image” filter Michaela and I use a lot.}

Lastly, you can type while you record. This is the feature my friend Michaela and I use the most. If we’re somewhere where we can’t record a video, we can just text a response while recording a picture of our face LOL.

Communicating in a long-distance friendship can be difficult, but it doesn't have to be. Through this app, communication across miles is so easy!

How the app works:

IMG_5119When you download the app, you connect your phone number to it. Then, it shows you who in your contacts have Marco Polo. It’s not like Social Media in that you don’t search for people’s usernames. Instead, it’s limited to people who are in your contacts.

When someone who is in your contacts downloads Marco Polo, the app alerts you and asks you if you want to leave them a message. This is how you’ll connect with your friend. (If it asks you to leave a message for someone and you don’t want to, you can just ignore the message or delete the notification.)

IMG_5120Once you and your friend both have Marco Polo on your phones, their “chat box” will appear on your app. To leave them a message, just click on their box and then start recording yourself.

{Another awesome thing about Marco Polo is that you can have group chats! I am presently in two group chats- one with both of my friends named Michaela, and one with one of my other friend’s family.}

How to leave a message:

IMG_5122 (1)To start recording the message, I’d hit “Start.” To type in the video, I’d hit the “T.” To change the voice filter, I’d press the unicorn, to draw I’d click the pencil, and to change the orientation of the camera I’d click the camera.

You can also change the filter of the video by swiping to the left and right.

When you’re done recording the message, just hit “Finish.” (That button will appear where the blue “Start” button is once you’re recording.)

If your friend is watching you while you are leaving your message, her picture will pop up in the top center of the screen.

Okay, so now that I’ve told you how the app works and why it is awesome, it’s time for me to tell you why it’s great for long-distance…

Why I think Marco Polo is the best app for long-distance friendships

  1. When it comes to any relationship, talking face-to-face is key. However, when you live far away from your friend, it is hard to have this face-to-face time on a regular basis. Sure, you can do things like Facetime or Skype… but then you both have to be available at the same time. With Marco Polo, you can leave video messages without your friend having to watch at that exact moment.
  2. You can leave longer messages than you can with Instagram or Snapchat.
  3. The messages don’t auto-delete, so you can go back and rewatch them.

Ever since Michaela and I have started using Marco Polo on a regular basis, our friendship has grown even stronger than it was before. I feel like I see her all the time since I see her face via video, even though I really only see her about once a month.

Marco Polo is an amazing app that I recommend for any two people who are friends but especially for those who live far away from each other.

If you would like more long-distance friendship tips, check out this Facebook Live that Michaela and I did together…


(Watch above, on Facebook, or on YouTube.)

Have you heard of Marco Polo before? What are your go-to apps for long-distance friendships?

Let’s stay connected! Like Joy Because Grace on Facebook.

2 thoughts on “The Best App For Long-Distance Friendships

  1. Neva

    This sounds awesome! Does the app eat up a lot of storage space on your phone by storing the video (unlike Snapchat)? My fiance is joining the Army, so we’ll be in need of better long-distance communication methods soon. Thanks for sharing!


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