I met my two BFFs thirteen years ago, on our first day of high school. But for the last nine years, we’ve mostly lived in different cities, sprawled out across the country. I miss them every minute of every day, and no matter what I’m doing, I’d rather be sitting on a couch with them in our cozy pants, watching America’s Funniest Home Videos. Because that reality only happens every couple of years (if we’re lucky!), we’ve become experts in how to be long-distance besties. Here are my tips to being a good friend even when you’re 3,000 miles away!
Call your BFFs whenever you have 5 minutes to spare. We’ve realized that if we try to set aside more time than that, to have big life-update phone calls or video chats that last for an hour, we just never end up talking because we can’t find a time that works. So we call each other in 5-minute increments. My BFF Cella started this tradition during her walk home from work, which went straight up a brutal San Francisco hill. She’d call one of us to talk at her and distract her while she conquered the unwanted cardio session. Just quoting our favorite movies or talking about what food we’d eat if we could have anything in the world is a super fun way to stay in touch. It makes us feel closer because we talk about little things we’d talk about if we saw each other every day.
Watch movies and TV together over the phone. Instead of talking the next day to debrief on our favorite parts of 30 Rock or anything show involving a Kardashian, we watch them on the phone together in real time. It’s super fun to laugh at the same things at the same time or ruminate on Bruce Jenner’s patience. We also realized how many of our ongoing jokes are movie or TV quotes, so watching it together can breed something we will still be laughing at literally years later.
Shop via photo text. My BFF Julia is the innovator behind this amazing use of technology. She was shopping for a dress to wear to a wedding and texted me mirror photos from the dressing room to help her decide. Now we constantly “shop” together even though we’re miles away from each other. Online shopping and IMing at the same time is even easier!
Share a blog or journal. Zooey, Sophia and Molly knew what was up when they started Hello Giggles together – it’s an amazing way to share within a friendship! One summer in high school, I started a journal while Cella was studying abroad and gave it to her when she came back, then she took a turn with it. It was unironically titled “The Divine Secrets of the Lexcella Sisterhood” and it’s so amazingly funny and embarrassing to read now. And a couple of years ago Julia and Marcella started a food blog together where they post recipes and photos of food and drinks, Julia posting from California and Marcella posting from Washington, DC.
Absolutely dominate their Facebook Walls. Whenever I get a message that Cella or Julia has posted something on my Facebook wall I’m half excited and half terrified to see it, but every video, comment or photo they post makes me so happy and is a fun way to connect in a kind of public forum. Same thing goes for Twitter!
Make mix CDs or playlists for each other. We still make each other mix CDs and send them to each other! It’s fun to choose songs, decorate the cover and title it something inappropriate and then you’re on the same page music-wise the next time you get to see each other. The vast majority of our time together is spent dancing and singing to our favorite songs, so this is vital.
Send your BFFs birthday packages. Looking through Facebook photos of your besties’ birthday parties that you couldn’t fly across the country for is the saddest activity of all time. But you can soften the sadness by compiling a super fun care package for their birthday! Fill it with stuff you know they love, like when Julia sent Cella a package of meats and cheeses, or something that will make them laugh, like t-shirts Cella makes for us with our favorite movie quotes and hip-hop lyrics on them.
Remember the details. I know they’re there for the big things but I’m always so touched when my BFFs remember some small detail I mentioned and ask about it. The last time I talked to Julia she was baking, so the next day I texted her to see how her mini grapefruit plum tarts turned out. Small things are important!
Subscribe to airline e-newsletters or get a credit card with mileage points. Our visits are way too rare but I still try to stay tuned in to good travel deals so I can try to see my women! Virgin, Southwest and Jetblue all offer discounts frequently through their newsletters. Most airline reward programs are free, too, so you can work your way towards a free ticket if you don’t want to get a credit card just for the miles.
Tell them you love them!!! This should go for all your friends, all the time, but I always tell my BFFs “I LOVE YOU!!!!!” when we’re hanging up or texting or emailing. Much like Seth and Evan in Superbad, I want to shout from the rooftops how much I love my best friends!