Keeping In Touch When Your Friend Is Abroad | Alyssa J Freitas: Keeping In Touch When Your Friend Is Abroad

November 17, 2016

Keeping In Touch When Your Friend Is Abroad

"All of my friends are running off around the globe and leaving me alone," I cried to my mother. This wasn't quite true, of course, but it felt that way as my close friends were gearing up to travel to Ireland, and Thailand, and I felt stuck at home. While on some level I was jealous of their travels, I was more nervous about what the time and distance would do to our friendship. Would we still be as close? Would we still be able to get each other's advice on all of the important stuff (read: what to make of what this or that guy said or did)? Would we still remember our hilarious inside jokes once they returned?
Click to read now or pin to save for later! Are you or a friend going abroad? Make sure to think about some of these ways to keep in touch so it'll be like not a moment has passed
Well, the easy answer is that: yes, we would still be close, yes, we would still get each other's advice, and yes, we would remember all of our jokes. BUT it required some effort, planning, and commitment to maintain our friendships when there was an ocean between us. Here are some methods you can use to keep in touch with friends, whether you are the one going abroad or are the one holding down the fort at home.

Set expectations

This is a very, very important first step to take before you part ways! Setting expectations of how often and how you will communicate is key to make sure that you are on the same page and that no one feels ignored or like they are being annoying for reaching out. You can have a casual conversation about this and both have the understanding that things may change as you settle into your new friendship routine. What this aims to do is give you a mutual foundation to work from together.

Share physical mementos

Before a friend leaves, write them a note or make a collage of photos to take with him/her. This way he/she can have a physical reminder of you and it can be comforting in a new environment. If you are going abroad, try sending a postcard back home to let your friend know you are thinking of him/her and to share your experience.

Text

For quick, day to day conversations sending text messages (or using WhatsApp, or your messaging service of choice) is the perfect way to keep in touch. Share a funny gif, tell each other about that hard test, and keep these messages short and sweet. This is a way to stay up to date on the small stuff!

Call/FaceTime 

Now, this requires a bit more planning with time changes, and differing schedules, and all that jazz. While it may seem like texting is sufficient, I really believe that hearing and seeing each other trumps it all. You're able to share longer stories and have those conversations that your relationship is built on. Shooting for a call every few weeks is a great way to ensure you have a ton to talk about and don't miss too much.

Be flexible

So your friend hasn't responded to your last message or had to cancel a call? Don't sweat it. You have to remember that you are each having fun experiences that may temporarily keep you from one another, but that being flexible will make you both much happier. Luckily, my friends are a pretty cool bunch who make travel videos and are pro photographers so I always have a way to glimpse into what they are up to. Even if you aren't in that situation, you can send a fast snap chat or share a fun link to stay connected while also respecting that you are each pressed for time.

By using these methods and keeping a clear and flexible mindset you will be able to survive without your friend during time abroad. You can get creative (I've used snail mail on occasion, as well) and share with one another until your joyous reunion!

How do you stay in touch when you or your friend is abroad? What sort of challenges have you faced?

-AJF
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