It's officially late August -- a bittersweet time of year. Not just because summer's ending and school's beginning soon, but if you're saying goodbye to a friend, it's an extra bummer. Maybe your longtime BFF is moving or attending a different school in the fall; maybe you met some cool new people at sleepaway camp or a summer program, but you live far away from one another. The bad news is, you and your compadre may never have that day-to-day, in-person relationship again (even if you text or email constantly). The good news is, you can still have a strong long distance connection that might bring unexpected bonuses...if you're willing to help make it work.
Friends in faraway places: How cool is it to have friends in different cities, or maybe even countries? You can learn first-hand, through your friend, how things are different where she or he lives. Arrange for you and your friend to exchange postcards of local sights (or digital versions!) or souvenirs from the area. And just imagine the vacation possibilities...New York City during spring break, San Diego in the summer, maybe even an outing to the Grand Canyon over Thanksgiving! In other words, staying in touch with long distance friends can literally open up your world.
Improve your friendship: Sometimes having close friendships in close spaces can create tensions of their own. If you've ever shown up to school wearing the same outfit as your best bud, you know what we mean. Oh, the humiliation! And have you and your BFF ever found yourselves crushing on the same person? Yikes! But when your friend is hundreds of miles away, these problems go poof. Long distance friendships can provide a separation that lets both of you live your own lives without getting into too many sticky situations. Plus, getting advice from a faraway friend means advice from someone who might be able to look at a problem with fresh, objective eyes.
Understand that your friendship will change: All friendships change over time, whether it's with someone down the block or across the country. It may feel painful that your BFF isn't around anymore for sleepovers or your closest camp buddy isn't getting your jokes anymore. It might hurt even more when you see her or him making new close friends. Try not to think of your long-distance friendship as "better" or "worse" than the way it was. It's just different, period.
For more advice, check out our tips for Saying Goodbye or what to do When It's A Friend who's leaving.