I’m really glad I was born in the digital age. Prior to basically right now, it was nearly impossible to keep in touch with long-distance friends.
What? You’re gonna do a long-distance call, costing you roughly $20 per minute? You’d better catch up quickly, friend. (Yes, I did just look up the cost of calls to the UK from the US in the 1960s and then adjust for inflation – I’m nothing if not thorough)
Or are you planning on writing a letter? Hope you didn’t have anything particularly urgent to say, because, even today, a letter can take up to 4 weeks to reach the UK from the US.
I’ve had friends located overseas for as long as I can remember (definitely since high school!). Heck, I’ve even had a few super-long-distance relationships (you think your 2-hour drive makes your relationship difficult? Try being a 9 hour flight and 6 hour time difference away – one of you might as well be on the moon).
Basically, I’m a self-proclaimed expert at keeping in touch with a friend who lives abroad. So if you have a friend moving overseas and you now need to learn how to keep in touch with long-distance friends, keep reading!
An Example from My Life of How to Keep in Touch with Long-Distance Friends
When my best friend, Brad, moved to London in August of 2017, I was really nervous. He’s the first to admit it, but he’s shit with a phone. He absolutely hates phone calls and, after he moved, our road trips, adventures, and getaways became a bit harder to orchestrate.
But not impossible. Just harder.
If he had an iPhone, we could simply iMessage (it’s free since it’s over WiFi). However, since he has an Android, the majority of our communication is now via WhatsApp.
Through WhatsApp, I can send him texts, photos, videos, voice recordings… legit whatever I want. I can also call him (he begrudgingly agrees to talk on the phone about 62% of the time) or – even worse in his eyes – video chat him. Whenever we plan a trip together (read: whenever I plan a trip and then send him the itinerary / details for approval), it’s all coordinated via WhatsApp.
Basically, Brad and I hardly ever go a week without communicating.
So What Should You Do If Your Friend is Moving Abroad?
Start by downloading WhatsApp. That’s my biggest recommendation. For all of the reasons listed above and because it tells you when somebody has read your messages which I love because I’m a little crazy like that. Plus your friend is going to have to download it anyways since it’s extremely popular internationally.
Next, try to prioritize seeing that person. Yes, travel is insanely expensive sometimes. However, you can still find some decent deals if you choose your timing correctly. I recommend booking international flights around 3 months out, and specifically trying to travel in the wintertime.
Why’s that? Well, not as many people want to visit countries when it’s cold, so you can often find pretty good deals if you choose to travel in January – March. Exceptions to that include places that are either (a) really friggin lovely that time of year (aka Mexico) or (b) super popular winter destinations (like ski resorts in Switzerland). But like Barcelona in February? Not a lot of people are going then, so you can get a much better deal on flights and not have to deal with globs of tourists everywhere you go.
Finally, if your friend is moving abroad (or you befriend somebody who lives abroad), set time aside to contact that person, whether it be through WhatsApp, Instagram DMs, or any other apps with a chat function. I recommend setting aside time on the weekends to touch base… at least for the first few weeks/months. When Brad first moved, we’d talk every Sunday. Remember that it can be hard moving somewhere new, especially if you don’t know anybody… and doubly so if it’s an international move. Sometimes, at the end of the week in that situation, all you want is to hear a friendly voice.