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Meaningful Friendship: Maintaining Long Distance Friendship

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Meaningful Friendship: A Guide to Maintaining Long Distance Friendships

In the first of our Meaningful Friendship series, we thought it would be useful to share some tips and provide a guide to maintaining and nurturing friendships. 

This guide is based on my experience of combating loneliness and trying to prioritise friendships as life gets busier and busier. I’ve also spoken to quite a lot of people over the years about this subject, so have tried to include some of the advice and tips I’ve received.

Why friendships are worth investing in

There have been numerous research studies, papers and news articles written about the loneliness epidemic and the growing body of proof that friendships help us live longer

Friends enrich our lives in countless ways - whether it’s your closest confidant, or a colleague you can vent frustrations with - and it is important to make the time and effort to nurture and grow these relationships. 

How to maintain long distance friendships

Communication is Key

Regular communication is the cornerstone of any healthy friendship. Make an effort to reach out regularly and try and remember key dates, such as birthdays or anniversaries. 

Mix it up

Don’t just rely on messages or sharing funny memes. Try and get some face to face time with your friends. A phone call can be one of the best ways to build relationships - in fact studies have shown that interactions via phone create stronger social bonds than interactions via email or text chat.

Be Present

In today's fast-paced world, it's easy to get caught up in our own lives and forget about the people who matter most. Being present (physically and emotionally) and having a genuine interest in your friend's life will help strengthen the bond between you.

Quality Time Matters

Invest time in shared activities and experiences. Even if you aren’t able to get time face-to-face, spending time together and enjoying each other’s company is key. Why not play a game online, or have a coffee via video chat? You’ll be amazed at the restorative power of quality time! 

Be Supportive

It’s easy to want to spend time with friends during the good times, but our closest friends are also there for us when things are not going so well. Offer an ear and practical support when needed. Celebrate their successes and provide comfort during the hard times.

Respect Differences

Every friendship is unique, and while we often bond over shared interests, healthy relationships are built around us being able to respect differences too. Resolve any disagreements gracefully, and also try to recognise when your friend might need some space.

Stay Connected Across Distances

Distance can pose a challenge to maintaining friendships, but it shouldn't be a barrier. Make use of technology to stay connected -  phone calls, video chats, and even letters are a great way to maintain strong bonds across distances. 

These are just some of the ways I’ve found to maintain friendships over the years. And it’s one of the reasons I founded and created the SoonCall mobile app. Our mission is to empower people to nurture their long distance friendships.

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