Two handwritten letters changed my life.

When I was in 7th grade my best friend (named M) wrote me a letter telling me that she and her family had to move to a different state for her dad’s job.

I finished reading the letter and laid on my floor and cried and cried and cried.

Summer after freshman year of college, I received a letter from my best friend who I had met at college (named R) saying she wasn’t going to be returning to our university in the fall.

I finished reading the letter and laid on my floor and cried and cried and cried.

It’s no fun when you’re best friend moves away.

You both know you’ll stay in touch, but in the back of your minds, you know that without the as-often-as-possible face to face interaction things will be different.

When I was about 5, my very first best friend and her family moved away. I didn’t receive a letter telling me about it, but rather my mom explained it to me. I remember her telling me that my best friend (named A) had to go live far away because her dad got a new job.

She finished telling me and I crawled up into her lap and cried and cried and cried.

Are you sensing a pattern here? Kara finds out best friend is moving, and then Kara cries a lot.
That’s pretty much how it always goes LOL.

After the initial shock of oh-my-goodness-my-BFF-is-moving wore off, I would always start to wonder how in the world would my friend and I stay in touch? If you or your best friend have ever had to move away from each other, I’m sure you’ve experienced the same wonderment.

If you’re currently facing this situation, never fear. Here are 3 ways you and your friend can maintain a long distance friendship…

How to Survive a Long Distance Friendship

1. Letter Writing (yes, snail-mail) and other means of communication

Scenario A: 

As A and I grew up, our moms helped us write letters to each other. We sent pictures of ourselves to each other (about yearly) so we could see what each other looked like.

Eventually, we could write letters and address envelopes without our parents’ help.

Scenario M:

My friend M and I were already pretty consistent pen-pals when she moved away. So we kept that going and just wrote lengthier letters. (M and I both LOVE to write, so that could also contribute to our novel-length letters.)

We also would call each other on our mom’s cell phones (we were too young for our own) and talk for hours on end.

Scenario R:

R and I write a few letters back and forth, but mostly we communicate through texting, phone calls, and Snapchat. Occasionally we do face-time.

One of my favorite things R and I do is having a virtual movie night. We pick a movie that we both own (or that’s on Netflix), start it at the exact same time, and call each other so we can add commentary throughout the movie. (This works best when we have both seen the movie in question already.)

How to survive when your best friend moves away.

2. (Overnight) Visits {AKA SLEEPOVER!}

Scenario A:

When I was six or so, my family drove out to visit A and her family at their new house. It was the first time A and I had seen each other since she had moved, and we had so much fun that weekend.

Scenario M:

During Thanksgiving break of my 8th-grade year (right after she moved), my family and I drove up to her new home and then M went on vacation to Branson, Missouri with my family. Vacationing with a friend who lived far away was so much fun!

Summer after 8th grade, M came down to my house for a week. Summer after 9th grade I went up there for a week. M and I have always been more like sisters than friends, so by the midpoint of the week(s), we were fed up with each other LOL. By the end of the week, we would always make up and be sad that the other was leaving.

Later on, in our high school career, M moved back to Texas. She was still 2 hours away from me, but 2 hours was way better than 8! We were both really busy due to high school, but there were a few times we were able to visit each other.

Scenario R: 

R has only been away for about a year, and during that year we have visited each other 3 times (one right after I found out she wasn’t returning to our university and the other two times were within the past 5 months).

Those first few months of not seeing her and having no plans for a visit were rough. Next time one of my friends and I have to start a long-distance friendship, I definitely want to have plans for when we will next see each other in the works.

3. Meet-ups

{Meet-ups meaning a short get-together over a meal or coffee, etc.}

Scenario A:

When we were about 10, A and I started being able to see each other approximately once a year. With our moms, we would meet up for lunch somewhere. These meet-ups often included our mutual family friends who had two younger daughters.

Today, A is actually attending the same university I am (*throws confetti*) and so we get to see each other on a more regular basis!! Yay!! It’s been so much fun attending various school events with her and in the fall we went OCC shoe box shopping together. :)

Scenario M:

Eventually, M moved even closer to me, and now we live about an hour apart (*throws confetti*). Now that we live so close, M and I like to drive to a town that’s about equal distance from each of us for brunch. We’ve done this a few times over the past couple of years, and I hope we get to do so more often!

The town where we meet up has an adorable downtown square, and so we like to wander around it and peek into shops after we eat brunch.

Scenario R:

With R, it’s harder for us just to meet up for an afternoon since she lives 2.5 – 3 hours away. We haven’t found a good middle spot yet.

However, we have met up in various locations a couple of times.

3 ways to maintain a long distance friendship

The key to having a long distance friendship is finding what works for you.

As you can see from the three examples I provided you, there are some similarities to how each of my friends and I handled our long distant friendships, but there are also a lot of differences.

Think about how you hang out with your friends who live nearby. Chances are when you and a friend hang out one-on-one, it isn’t the same exact way you would hang out with another friend one-on-one.

Same goes for long distance friendships.

Each one is unique and each one requires some trial-and-error and a whole lot of grace.

Do you have a long distance friend? How do y’all like to stay in touch?

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

2 thoughts on “3 Ways to Maintain a Long Distance Friendship

  1. Katie Beth

    This is a pretty timely post at the moment as I am going to be the friend that moves away for awhile! I am determined not to let ‘life’ get in the way of long-distance friendships, especially when it’s going to be short-term. Thank you, Kara!


    1. Kara Beth Post author

      Aww I’m sorry you and your friends will be separated for a short time, but I hope this list will give y’all some ideas to stay connected :) I’m glad God had me write this post when He did, as I’ve been thinking about it for a while but have just been putting it off. I’m glad He had me publish it right when you needed it. He’s pretty cool like that, isn’t He? :)


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