Can you stay close to a friend who lives miles away? Maybe you grew up together, but jobs and marriages have taken you to different countries. Maybe you met online, and you’ve never lived in the same time zone.

If you don’t want your friendship to fade away, you’ll need to work at nurturing your connection. It’s challenging but rewarding.

Holding onto old friends gives you the stability of having someone in your life who knew you at different stages of development.

Any relationship may have more potential when you choose it deliberately rather than hanging out together because it’s convenient.

Discover the secret to maintaining a long-distance friendship. Use these suggestions to make the separation work for you.

The Secret to Staying in Touch with Friends and Family When You’re Stuck at Home or Far Away:

Embrace change

It’s natural to grieve when a close friend moves away. Remember that relationships shift over time, and the transformation may be positive. You could wind up valuing each other even more.

Be intentional

You will need to work harder at staying in touch and making specific plans. A precious friendship is worth the investment of time and thought.

Act natural

At the same time, you can overdo it. Enjoy ordinary conversation and pleasures instead of feeling compelled to come up with big news and adventures.

Type less

Texting is convenient but choose a more personal touch when possible. Try video calls and handwritten notes. Plan to get together in person whenever you can manage to be in the same area.

Build support

As much as you love your remote pals, you need contacts in your own time zone too. Keep making friends close to home.

Here are Specific Strategies You Can Use to Stay in Touch That Work:

Share activities

Friendships usually involve doing the same thing in the same place, but they can also handle multiple locations. Play games online or read the same book so you can discuss it when you call.

Take vacations

Coordinate your leave time. Plan exotic getaways or visit each other at home. Enjoy having a free place to stay when you’re out of town.

Use snail mail

Send cards for no occasion or write a letter. Let your friend know that you’re thinking of them.

Think local

Keep your friend up to date on what’s going on where you live. Forward an interesting news story or your review of a new Korean restaurant.

Schedule standing dates

You’re more likely to be consistent if you adopt a regular schedule. Call each other on Wednesday evenings or Sunday mornings.

Take pictures

Make it easy for your friend to envision your life. Take a group photo with your office buddies. Post a picture of you attending a concert or your daughter’s soccer game.

Go into detail

You may need to provide more context when you’re talking with a friend you don’t see often. Fill in the background and explain how you’re feeling.

Share your calendar

The logistics can become complicated when you have lots of mutual friends spread out around the country or across the world. Consider creating a group calendar to help you keep track.

Send gifts

Your friends will love receiving surprise presents from you. Present them with a gift certificate so you can buy them a cup of coffee or help decorate their home. If you’re the DIY type, knit them a scarf or bake them some cookies that you can ship overnight.

Long-distance friendships can thrive. Make a commitment to putting in the necessary effort and seize each opportunity to get together face to face.