One of the oddest parts of moving a lot is keeping friendships from past locations, and I think it’s actually more challenging with the rise of social media. While we can view what our friends post about their lives and see what their kids look like these days, we also see that snarky political post we don’t agree with or want to roll our eyes as they “humble brag” on their angelic and Einstein-smart child.
This year I’m taking a sabbatical from most social media platforms, and I’ve found I enjoy people more when I don’t always see what they post. My guess is they feel the same way about me! While I’m thankful for these tools to communicate, there is something intrinsically false about it. We’re missing something. It’s never the full picture of anyone’s life—these photos with their captions and emojis.
This isn’t a rant against social media, just a gentle reminder that true friendships need more to sustain them. Next year I plan to set out once again on the choppy sea that is social media, but I want to be more purposeful with it as a tool, rather than a substance that dictates my emotions and skews my relationships. I found a few helpful articles about reasons to be careful with social media–how it’s built to be addictive and is changing friendships
A few Ideas for Long-distance Friendships
1. Communicate with technology beyond social media—text, video calls, etc. I prefer apps like Marco Polo where you can watch and send videos to one another when it’s a convenient time. It feels more intentional, personal, and always has an added dose of reality, such as messes or wild child noises in the background, facial expressions, etc.
2. Snail mail! Three cheers for a happy little something showing up in your mailbox. My long-distance besties are better at this than I am, but try postcards, small gifts, or a haphazard “I’m thinking of you. Miss you. Okay, bye” card—there’s just something about touching and opening a physical item that truly connects you with your friend.
3. Try to get together at least every few years (more often is great, when possible). Plan ahead, budget, and make it happen! Being in the presence of those who know you well is a true gift. And those of us who move a lot (or have friends who move a lot)–we know it, don’t we?
Life is ever-changing, and it feels hollow at times without your favorite people nearby. There’s no getting around the fact that it’s difficult, but a little intentionality can go a long way. I’m over here raising my proverbial glass–care to join me? How do you stay in touch with your people? I’d love to know. Here’s to friendship from afar!