If you’re moving far away from your bestie, this is how to stay super-close

Welcome to Besties Week! We’re kicking off the release of our first HelloGiggles book, A Tale of Two Besties, with an epic celebration of friendship and stories about friendship. Read an excerpt of the book, buy a copy, catch us on our cross-country book tour, and share your photos from our events by tagging us @hellogiggles #ATaleofTwoBesties.

In the meantime, join the party right here. All week long, our contributors will be sharing stories, essays and odes to their very own partners-in-crime. Read, laugh, cry (because you’re laughing) and share with your bestie!

When you graduate from high school or college, no one tells you how hard it’s going to be to stay in touch with your best friends, especially if they don’t end up at the same school—or even in the same state—as you. It’s perfectly normal to grow apart either because of the distance or the natural way people change over the years and become less perfect friendship fits.

But, take it from me, a best friendship doesn’t have to end just because you don’t live nearby anymore. I’ve known my closest friend, Sera, since we were both 10 and landed at the same middle school in the suburbs of North Georgia, but we didn’t become close until we graduated from high school. She went to college in nearby Atlanta while I headed 80 miles east to the University of Georgia. Really, we should have drifted apart then, like we did with so many people we went to high school with, but that first year of college was a difficult one and both of us were going through some serious growing pains. So, we leaned on each other—hard—and haven’t stopped leaning on one another for the last seven years. Here’s how we’ve kept our friendship going so strong after so many years.

You don’t have to act differently just because you don’t see your friend all the time

The great thing about having a long-distance friend is never having to “act” for them. They don’t see you day-to-day, they’re not there to judge you, they’re just happy to hear from you. So, spend your interactions with your best friend—whether that be a video chat or a gchat session—just getting everything off your mind and being yourself. It’s like therapy and it helps both parties know that this is authentic a relationship as it gets.

Be the best sounding board you can be

Not only should you be at your most stripped down with a long-distance best friend, but really throw yourself into helping them out where and when you can. That can mean anything from helping them pick the perfect outfit for a job interview to really helping them research or figure out a problem they’re having. Being friends from a distances is like having a bird’s eye view of your friend’s life: It’s easier to help them see the big picture when you’re not seeing them every day.

Remembering birthdays and silly holidays really makes a difference

Buy your best friend a thoughtful birthday gift or send them flowers on Galentine’s Day. Or write them a heartfelt letter. Just make sure that your part in their special day goes beyond a nice text or phone call. Think of it this way: You know how parents love getting cards and even though greeting cards are a racket we do it because it really matters to them? Well, apply that same amount of diligence and care to your long-distance friendship—put in a little effort on special days.

(Really) keep up with their life

This may seem obvious, but keeping up with your long-distance best friend’s life is more than talking with them about what they’re going through, it’s remembering when they have important things coming up, like an exam or an anniversary only they care about, and without prompting, shooting them a text to say “You can do it,” or “How are you feeling about [insert mini-crisis] today?” For you, that might mean writing yourself reminders or keeping a Post-It note on your desk, but that little bit of “someone out there is rooting for you” can go a long, long way for your friend.

Plan to meet up when you can, and make it special

Since leaving Georgia for New York City, I only see my dear Sera maybe twice a year or so, but when I do see her we make sure we go all out. That includes treating ourselves by dressing up and going for dinner and drinks in a nice part of town or just spending an entire day together watching Spongebob. And this year, we’re going all out and taking our inaugural girls’ trip to Spain! When it comes to best friends—near and far—it’s all about throwing yourself into making up for lost time. That way when you go your separate ways, you have some exceedingly nice, recent memories to hold onto—until next time. Distance is hard, but best friendships can definitely surmount it.

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