How to Maintain Your Long Distance Relationship & Friendships
If there’s one thing we learnt through our travels, it’s that there’s so many people out there that we can connect and create life-changing relationships with, no matter where they’re from, what kind of lifestyle they lead, and what language they speak. And this leads to one of the best and worst parts of travelling: falling in love.
We’ve all done it, more than once, and we’ve all then had to leave our new found ‘soul-mate’ at the departures gate. And we’re not just talking about romantic relationships, we’re talking friendships too – the sort that you know you might never have the chance to make again. But we all know from personal experience that “it is not goodbye, but see you soon”. Now that we’re all being kept apart from our loved ones by a pandemic, we know you’re gonna need some little tips to help the process, and to keep your long distance relationships alive, until we get to meet again in person!
1. That little thing called the internet
Okay, this one is obvious. Skype, Facebook, Whatsapp, Instagram, Zoom; you’ve got them all right? (right?!) — so use them! It’s funny how many people find it hard to keep in touch with all this access to communication. We find if you get in a routine of chatting to your better half or close friends from a distance it all becomes easier. For example, arrange a Skype chat every Wednesday at a certain time – and commit to it! (This also gives us a bit of a routine among our disrupted daily life, which is a fantastic bonus). How about first thing in the morning put 10 minutes a side to Whatsapp the important people in your life to say hey. Sometimes all anybody needs is a little message.
2. It’s ok to be sad
Ok, so here’s the truth; sometimes LDR SUCK! Like, really suck and the only way to make it better is to actually meet the person you are missing and give them a giant hug. It’s ok to be sad – but don’t let that put you off – that doesn’t mean it’s time to break off the relationship. The likelihood is you would still be upset at points even if that person was right by your side every day. All relationships are full of ups and downs. Precisely because a lot of people around the world are also on the same boat, let’s all try to be kind and support each other as we ride through the ‘downs’ together! Instead of focusing on the half empty, use your time apart to do something great, so when you get to meet again you’ll have something positive to bring to the table!
3. Be slow to judge
An inevitable thing that happens as humans when we are away from those we love is uncertainty (which can often escalate to full-blown jealousy!). This is an emotion that can destroy relationships, but also one that can be easily avoided. When we’re physically apart from one another or have limited exposure to a person or event, we start to make all sorts of assumptions or judgments that are usually exaggerated or untrue. Remember to be slow to judge, communicate effectively and try not to overthink things. This is when social media is not a great tool – do not overreact to photos or status’ (or lack thereof) and take time to remember not to jump to conclusions!
4. Create a photo album
It’s time to get creative! Photos are a memory captured forever, and the best way to keep reliving those fun times. Did you and your best friend meet on the road? Why not make him/her a photo box and stick in funny quotes, plane tickets, photos and random objects? The great thing about it is it is free of charge – just grab all the bits and get sticking in a box. Or if you fancy a more professional one there are tons of online providers willing to do the hard work for you. Pictures say a thousand words – make them into a million!
5. Give a gift
Believe it or not, there is a whole store dedicated to long distance relationship gifts. There’s nothing like receiving a tangible gift from your loved one that helps narrow the miles when you’re apart. Think pillow cases, mugs and t-shirts. Kind of cute. Kind of.
6. Send handwritten letters
Who said romance is dead? How do you think people communicated before the internet? Letters of course! And, if you’re anything like us there is nothing more exciting than receiving a handwritten letter, or even a postcard for an extra taste of wanderlust. It shows how much you care and how much effort you are prepared to put into the relationship – plus you have something to re-read over and over again and keep forever!
7. Make plans
We all know the best ways to deal with the post-holiday blues and it’s kind of the same in a long distance relationship. Make sure you always have something planned together in the future… no matter how distant this future might seem to be. Find something you can both look forward to once the pandemic is over. This may be the most important bit of advice; if you are not growing together you will start drifting apart. Having that something to look forward to together will help keep emotions positive – it doesn’t have to be huge, it can be something as little as looking at flights together, creating a Pinterest board on places you want to go, wanderlusting over the Workaway host list or looking into jobs abroad.
Above all, if you work hard enough at it, a long distance relationship, whether permanent or temporary, can be a lot more rewarding than any other relationship you are in.