My family just returned from a week-long vacation in South Carolina where we explored new places and reconnected with loved ones. For several days, we stayed with my best friend and her family in Greenville. Laura has been my dearest friend for over 20 years, yet we haven’t lived in the same city since we were in high school. Each of us is a mother of four so most times we don’t have the opportunity to connect on the phone, much less visit each other regularly. Still we are committed to maintaining a friendship that goes the distance, and I’d like to share how we are making that possible.
- We encourage each other in our work. The power of positivity is so important in friendship! Laura recently moved into a women’s ministry role in her church, and I love listening to her sermons and following the social media accounts she maintains in order to affirm her along the way. Likewise, when I had my fourth baby, Laura encouraged me that I could, in fact, raise four human beings and survive to tell about it. Her positivity was immensely helpful during the first few days and weeks with an infant.
- We remain present in each other’s lives. Before my visit to Greenville, Laura and I hadn’t laid eyes on each other for the better part of two years. Yet we still feel connected. One of the best social tools I’ve discovered for staying in touch with a long-distance friend is Voxer. The app uses push-to-talk technology to send and receive messages instantly. It is a perfect way to catch up when you have a free minute, and I use it every single day with friends near and far.
- We offer a safe space to be seen and known. The miles standing between a long-distance friendship don’t lend themselves to guardedness. Laura and I get to the heart of the matter quickly. Being able to confide in a friend about my challenges invites me to be more honest and vulnerable in every area of life. The objectivity a long-distance friend brings to a situation can also be refreshing and helpful. I pray for Laura about the things that weigh on her heart, and know she does the same for me.
- We make sure our families know each other. Passing friendship down to the next generation is one of life’s sweetest gifts. Watching my children learn to love the same things about Laura’s children that I value most about her is a true joy. My kids left Greenville this week having formed new relationships they may carry throughout their lives. I am so grateful for that.
Just because the distance is expansive doesn’t mean friendship cannot thrive. I encourage you to try to maintain and protect your long-distance friendships. Take time to invest in the people you may see the least but love the most.