Top 5 Tips to Maintain Friendships Abroad
Updated: Sep 29, 2019
Living or traveling internationally can put a strain on any relationship with friends, family or romantic partners. However with very conscious actions, the relationship can flourish.
1. Consider Time Difference
While working with multiple time zones, it can be difficult to find an appropriate time for both parties to have a conversation. So oftentimes it's necessary to set a specific time to talk in the midst of a busy day. Please please please take these scheduled times seriously. Stick to the scheduled times, try not to forget, and avoid last minute cancellations at all costs.
2. Ask Questions
When your friend moves abroad they will be re-evaluating and shifting their identity, lifestyle choices, preferences, etc. I encourage asking general day to day questions and specific questions about how they are feeling, any changes they are experiencing, and other questions that connect to the root of who they are. The more often you stay in tuned with these shifts the easier it will be to stay connected and feed the friendship what it needs to flourish and grow together as opposed to apart.
3. Acceptance of Change
Be open to the changes that your friend is experiencing. Provide a listening ear, sound advice, and express any concerns but ultimately know that your friend is making choices that makes sense to them based on the circumstances of your life. Be there for the changes, really listen and take note of what's going on.
4. Regular Check-ins
I recommend creating a fun way to stay connected or check-in. For example, create a snapchat trend with your friend by sending at least one daily snap about of your day-to-day activities. Or schedule at least one video call call every couple weeks or month to share updates. Or share interesting articles or topics with one another via e-mail or social media and have discussions over what you read and how it affects you in your daily life. Or take it old school and send letters to one another sharing whatever's on your mind and or keep it new school and maintain a consistent text conversation. Whatever makes sense to you, just find something that works and be consistent!
Always remember that at the end of the day, your friendship is a choice and it's up to both sides to determine it's value. From there, each side must pour time and energy into the friendship despite the distance for it to continue. I recommend a daily and maximum weekly dose of TLC to keep the connection strong. So if you feel the friendship is worth it, embrace the change, all of it's imperfections and push through. But if it becomes too much know that you always have a choice.