Thursday, July 12, 2012

How to Maintain Long Distance BFF Friendships


When I was 18, I met the girl who would go on to cradle my head as I ugly-cried on the ground outside of a bar because my boyfriend dumped me. When I was 18, I also met the girl who would go on to invite me on a vacation to the Cayman Islands, where her Grandmother told me she pities the man who “has to marry me." God, I love Grandma Judy. When I was 19, I met the girl who would go on to make me pee my pants a little with her cat parody of an Mike Posner song. When I was 21, I met the girl who would go on to unabashedly scream an epic karaoke duet of Metallica’s “Enter Sandman” with me in front of our co-workers.

If you are thinking I’m a lesbian, that would make you wrong. My Aunt asked me if I was once, and that was just an awkward conversation that ended with me grumbling something about not having any game. Truth is, I just happen have some amazing best friends who are almost as crazy as my parents raised me to be. Finding this insane collection of girls was no easy feat, and when our post-college lives and post-college jobs took us hundreds of miles away from each other, my heart broke into a million pieces. Currently, we are all spread out across the country- some in New York, one in Ohio, some in LA. It has honestly been more difficult to maintain my long-distance BFF friendships now than it was to maintain a long-distance boyfriend in college. {Girls- if you’re trying to do this right now- just dump him. For the love of God, dump him immediately. Dump him 12 minutes ago! If you need a reason why- one day, I'll tell you a story that will have you convinced and probably just not wanting to date anyone ever again. JK it wasn't that bad. But you should probably know that long distance relationships almost always end HORRIBLY. Anyone who has ever been in one will tell you that. You could be the exception though. But probably not.}

With my BFFs and I busy working, dating, avoiding unwanted pregnancy and simply trying to make enough money to afford a PBR every now and then, making time for long-distance friendships can be tough. But at the end of the day, BFFs of any kind require lots of love and sleepover time invested. But long distance BFFs {LDBFFs} are a shit ton of work! When you add in the long-distance component to the friendship, you’ve got enough work to necessitate part-time job status. Sure, you don’t get paid for the extra effort and time put into the friendship, but if you count hugs and smiles as payment, then consider yourself rich, my friend! {LOL, you’re actually probably homeless if you take payment in the form of hugs and smiles.}

I know my friends and I aren’t the only ones who have been separated by new jobs, unemployment, and general life searches to find ourselves. The years after both high school and college, and the years after the years after high school and college rip BFF friendships apart quicker than you can say “whatamigoingtodowiththerestofmylife?!” and I, for one, am not going to stand for it. I refuse to lose these girls that mean the world to me. I mean, truthfully, very few people on this earth can stomach my constant need to talk about all things reality TV related and obsess over nail art. It's a rare breed, my friends. After nearly a year of missing my friends, I’ve learned a trick or two about what works best for staying in touch. Well, what totally works and what kind of works, but still leaves my heart aching for more BFF time. Here’s what I do:

1. Skype/FaceTime/Phone Dates- Look, I’m not reinventing the wheel here. If you're miles and miles away from someone, the regular old telephone, as well as Skype & FaceTime are your greatest resources. I used to Skype with my college roommate while we were in the same room with each other because we thought the video delay was HILARIOUS! Now, my friends and I Skype so that we can tell each other dating stories and reminisce about the days of yore when we would take tequila shots and make out with strangers. Ah, to be young. Seriously though, Skype dates are the closest thing you can get to hanging out with your LDBFFs without taking a plane ride and showing up on their doorstep. One of my friends and I have even made a habit of having a Skype "bar" night together. We each pick up some beer beforehand and proceed to imbibe while telling stories from the past week or two. Add in some unwanted advances from creepy dudes and a screaming bartender, it's just like we're back in New York! If you're anti-Skype/FaceTime, a regular old phone call will have to do. Phone calls on the drive home from work, while you're cleaning, while you're at the grocery store, etc., are all great ways to keep in touch with your LDBFFs. It's those little 15 minute conversations that will make you feel connected the most. "How was your day?" that kind of BS.

2. Text Text Text- I can't tell you how often I just text one of my BFFs to tell her I miss her. Or that I saw a guy with a bowl cut who looks just like her old boss, and I kind of wanted to kick him in the shins. Or that she "totes has to see Savages. Taylor Kitsch- YUM." Or even that I just had fro-yo and I feel really bloated. {Seriously, that's an actually text I've sent before. I'm not saying I'm proud of it, but I am saying I sent it.} Anything is worthy of a text when you're separated from your BFF. I also like to play this little game called "Guess what I'm saying in Emojis!" {We're still working on the name. It's really a mouthful.} The premise of the game is that one person sends a sentence only in emoticons and the other person has to guess what they're trying to say.... I'm easily amused. The point is, texting is extremely easy and everyone does it all the time anyway. Texting throughout the day is the perfect way to feel connected with your BFF.

3. Visit When You Can- As much as technology helps us stay in touch with our long-distance-BFFs, nothing can top a face-to-face hang session. It’s tough to organize a visit when every single one of your friends are Lindsay Lohan broke, though. {That is to say totally broke, but keeping up appearances.} I have my Kayak.com alerts set so that I know when fares are low, and I'm constantly pressuring my friends to visit me. And a few of them have! {I haven't been back to New York yet, simply because I'm scared if I visit, I won't want to leave. BUT I am relocating to the West Coast in two months, where a few of my BFFs currently live. Now that's commitment.} If a visit isn't in the cards- what about a mini-vacation together? I’m not talking Spain or anything, but maybe a Groupon Getaway deal. Even though a mini-vacation may seem like something one might do with a boyfriend, I say go ahead and do it with your BFF. If everyone thinks you're lesbians, just go with it. It's just for a weekend, and your Aunt probably has the same suspicions mine did. Who cares?

4. Who Doesn't Love A Pen Pal?- Really, I love nothing more than getting things in the mail. Exception to the rule being bills and my dentist's postcards reminding me it's time for a cleaning. But otherwise- I let out a little squeal of glee whenever I get something in the mail. Yes, I still act like I'm 7-years-old sometimes. Don't worry about it. But that squeal turns into a scream when I get a letter or a package from one of my LDBFFs. It's the best thing ever. I can only hope they do the same when I send them goodies. It's just a little way to say "Hi. I miss you. Here's a My Little Pony because you're the only other human in the world who understands my undying love for Pinkie Pie." A care package is the perfect way to convey just that! If you’re too cheap to spring for a package, the art of handwritten letters isn't dead! Nothing quite like it. Plus, you can draw cartoons and doodles all over just like you’re passing notes in 8th grade.

5. When All Else Fails... Email- Of all the modes of communication, email might be my least favorite. But sometimes it's the only option, and it's really better than nothing. When you're in different time zones or when schedules just don't match up, email can be your saving grace. Sometimes when I can't sleep, I'll just type out a big long email and send it to one of my BFFs I haven't had time to talk to in a while. It always makes me feel better. Even if they can't respond in detail to my 1000 word diatribe on the most recent episode of True Blood, it always helps both of feel more connected. I know that it's only a matter of days until I get a 1000 word response regarding Miley Cyrus' engagement. {My friends and I have really highbrow interests.} Email is perfect for that friend that you LOVE, who just happens to be way cooler than you and way busier. No shame in that game.

The other little things that help my BFFs and I remain BFFs are, of course, fancy internet inventions like Facebook, Instagram, GChat and Twitter. Sometimes, all you really need in the world can be said in 140 characters- "@______ I miss you. Come visit soon or I'll kill you. SMOOCHES!" Boom! Thanks, Twitter! You just made maintaining long-distance-BFF-love super easy. Then there's the occasional "OMGLOL Look at this AMAZING What Should We Call Me! This is SOOOO us!!!!" And by occasional, I mean we post those on each other's walls like every other day. NBD. We don't have lives.

LDBFF friendships are tough to maintain. Some weeks you're talking constantly, other weeks you're a little more out of touch. It's an ebb and flow. In reality, it's not like you're going to talk to each other for hours every single day. Life just doesn't work like that. Bitches have to get shit done, they can't be chit chatting the day away on Skype forevs. So know that you and your LDBFF won't necessarily have the same friendship, but that doesn't mean that you still can't be BFFs. {OBVIOUSLY, I take this BFF thing tres seriously.} Even if you don't have an LDBFF now, you probably will at some point in the future. Truth is that it’s highly improbable that all of your friends will stay in the same city forever. Unfortunately the years after both high school and college bring lots of U-Haul moving trucks and tearful/hungover goodbyes. That doesn’t mean you can’t keep your best friends for years to come. Put in a bit of effort and she’ll be in your hypothetical wedding in 5 years. {Even if you are just getting married to your cat…}

8 comments:

  1. Love the post! I totally agree with the whole letter in the mail/package thing....its a lost art to actually snail mail something. But on the rare occasion I actually get something other than a bill, it puts a big smile on my face! :)
    Melissa @ Willamettevalleywonderwoman.blogspot.com

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  2. Love it! I'm actually having a LDBFF and is soooo hard not to see her every day... being grown up sucks! jk.. for real

    zayda
    zlovesv.blogspot.com

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  3. Great post! My BBFF (bestest best friend forever) moved to London England a year ago, aaaaand when I'm not crying about it every day, I am texting, Skyping and e-mailing her like it's my job!

    Maja - clotheskinksandcurls.blogspot.ca

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  4. I wish I had any kind of BFF! Makes me jealous.

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  5. I resent the cat comment.

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  6. i love this post so much, whenever I actually come across a person I can call a bff, I'll re read this a gazzilionnn times.....Given that friends aren't made over night..

    xo-yessi

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  7. Carmen, I've missed you. Seriously.
    But anyways, this reminds me that I should text my LDBFF. Haven't talked to her in awhile.

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  8. Love this post!
    While I was away at university and all my best friends were back home working, we did all of the things you suggested, so that makes me feel like I was winning at friendship!
    Some of my bffs ive known for 20 years now, and im only 22 so thats a pretty long time, but it makes me confident that we'll manage the next 20 years

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