It may not be easy to maintain a long distance friendship, but the payoff is absolutely worth it. I speak from experience, as my best friend and I managed to keep our relationship strong through four years of college on separate coasts. If you know you need each other in your lives, supporting one another while you’re living in separate cities or even separate countries for over long periods of time won’t come into question. There isn’t much to worry about in terms of losing touch if your bond is such a priority to both of you.

That being said, there really isn’t any secret to maintaining a long distance friendship except commitment from both parties. If one of you feels a stronger attachment than the other, there is the danger of falling further into a one-sided relationship once you two separate. It’ll be easy to spot a friend that isn’t up for the challenge if they’re not willing to make time for you, won’t return your texts with much more than a few sentences, and you barely know what’s going on in their life. But, on the other hand, if the feeling is mutual, it won’t be so challenging to stay connected. You’ll be each other’s far-off support system, and can help with comforting, objective perspectives on the problems surrounding one another’s lives because you’re so far apart.

Discovering you have the type of friendship that will (literally) go the distance is one of the best things that can happen to you. I know, because I’ve been there. Here are a few tips for keeping that relationship solid no matter where you are in the world, so that when you do reunite, it’ll feel like you were right there next to each other all along.

1. Make Each Call You Have a Priority

I know as well as anyone that scheduling calls every week sometimes isn’t in the cards. Whether it’s due to the time difference or busy days, setting aside time to call consistently is, of course, ideal but not always achievable. So, when you do call, really pay attention, and give all your focus and energy to the conversation rather than multi-tasking. It’ll allow you to keep your connection solid.

2. Talk About Future Plans

This can sometimes be nebulous, but establishing concrete times you’ll be seeing each other again (over the holidays, or whenever you go to visit them) reminds you that your friendship will happen in person, too, and gives you times to look forward to.

3. Be By Their Side When Needed

This one is super, super crucial. If they’re having a hard time, they will let you know, and you should do everything in your power to be there for them. Especially if they’re turning to you, they might not have the proper support available to them in person, or they just need whatever calm reassurance you specifically provide for them. Do this, and there’s no way your friendship will die down, ever.

4. Tell Them About Things Before You Tell Facebook

No one—especially a close friend—wants to find about your life through Facebook. If something momentous has happened, call or text them first to let them know, and make them feel part of your group of friends even if you can’t tell them in person.

5. Let Them Know When You're Randomly Thinking Of Them

This one has to be my favorite. If I saw a reference to an inside joke or something that just reminded me of my friend, I'd immediately send her a text about it. This way, you're incorporating them into life's sillier and lighter—but just-as-important—moments.

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