Don’t Let Long-Distance Friendships Fall Apart – Here’s How To Reconnect

Living apart doesn't have to mean growing apart.

What About Your Friends?

Most would agree that this pandemic showed us who our friends are. But let's be empathetic and fair, this pandemic has caused us never-ending heartache, grief, and stress. And at the end of the day, we have to take care of ourselves first. As life happens, it's a struggle to balance family, work, personal issues, and friends; let alone carve out 15 minutes for ourselves. As we get older, it naturally becomes harder to maintain friendships near and far. We become so caught up in our everyday lives that we start to drift from the ones that mean the most. I'm hella guilty of this, now more than ever. But it's not intentional. Your girl is out here creating a whole new life. I'm the type of friend who shows up. I try to check-in most times, but most days I can't. And sometimes, I might beat myself up over it too.

I'm not in the business of transactional friendships, building deeper connections is what I do. I always want to return the same love, kindness, and energy that is given to me.

I moved out of my home state 10 years ago. I live 2,000 miles away from most of my lifelong friends. And over the years, my circle of friends has expanded. I have friends who live 20 minutes away or hours away. I also have friends in different states, countries, and continents. Catching up through social media used to be enough. Liking pictures or commenting on threads just doesn't do it for me anymore. Scrolling through pictures, posts, and videos is cool, but it doesn't tell you how someone is really doing. It only provides a glimpse into parts of their life they choose to share. I need more than just a glimpse. I need to know if my friend is OK. I'm also the type if I don't hear from one of my friends in a while – I will reach out. And when I touch down in their city, I come all the way through. I'll be the first to say, "Where you at?", "Where we going?", and "What we doing?" With advanced notice. If you ask my friends, they will tell you this too.

Here are a few practical ways I maintain my long-distance friendships and keep my friendships in good standing.

1. Hit Them Up



Reach out. I mean, does it matter who reaches out first or not? Nope. Text, call, or FaceTime. Leave a voice note or video message. Slide in their DMs with a quick note. With so many different messaging apps and social media platforms, our only excuse is time. Friendships require time. Don't be that friend that only comes around for good moments or bad moments. Sometimes, that's exactly what it is though. Strive to be the friend that reaches out when it gets too silent. When your intuition is telling you something is off. Your efforts will be appreciated.

2. You’re Never Too Old To Be A Pen Pal

My greatest friendship grew over emails. We were once new friends and now we are great friends. We've maintained daily emails to each other for 10 years. When I moved to Florida we somehow decided to keep in touch via e-mail. We shared dating stories, relationship drama, and personal struggles. It helped our workday go by faster. There wasn't a minute out of our day where we were not emailing each other. If one of us didn't email that day, we both knew something was wrong. A text would be sent with, "Hey, are you at work?" So, write your friend that letter or email. I love receiving cards, letters, or care packages. And I'm sure your friends would too.

3. Group Activities For The Win



A few childhood friends of mine and I decided to do a running challenge together. The three of us committed to running a mile a few times a week. With me on the east coast and them on the west coast. We used the Nike Running App to stay connected. While they dropped off after a few weeks, I continued with my runs. It was fun while it lasted. We kept each other motivated and celebrated our wins. Find an activity that you can do with your friends and watch how you grow together.

4. Remember The Important Dates

Stay connected. Not only do I calendar my friends' birthdays, but I remember scheduled graduations and wedding anniversaries too. I try to remember significant events in their lives. I can safely say I know the birthdates of all my friends' children. I'm forever auntie. And if I don't remember the exact date, I at least remember the month they were born. I'll usually call to say happy birthday to their child. If they're of age and have a phone, I might send a text hello or happy birthday. I have even texted my friend's 18-year-old son to hug his mother. Other times, I'll hit up her husband or sister to check-in. Yes, we're that close. All of us have been friends for over 15 years.

5. Schedule A Date


This can be a virtual or an in-person date. With COVID, we still want to play it safe and protect our loved ones. Cook dinner together, play a game, watch a movie, or enjoy some cocktails over FaceTime, Houseparty, or Zoom. I try to connect with friends face-to-face when I can. Because of time differences, I am a few hours ahead of the west coast. I know one of my homegirls works from home, so, I might hit her with a video call around the time she wakes up. And no, she doesn't mind either. Hey, you gotta get it in where you can. Oh, and after multiple failed scheduled FaceTime dates with my homeboy a few days ago, he hit me up as I was walking out of the gym. I stayed in the parking lot and sat in my car for a whole hour just talking to him. We laughed. We smiled. We reminisced. I love a good car conversation whether it's in person or not. It's little gestures like this y'all.

6. Plan A Visit or A Friendcation

I know, I know. BUT COVID. Don't let this stop you from connecting with friends. You can still plan a visit or a vacation. You just have to be smart and safe about your planning. What better way is there to catch up with your homegirls and get some uninterrupted one-on-one time? Consider meeting up at local spots, like restaurants, nail salons, art museums, day spas, wineries, or beaches. Think of major cities and short road trips. Maybe this looks like a weekend sleepover filled with girl talk, secrets, wine, and comfort foods.

Whatever you decide to do – just know there is always a way to maintain long-distance friendships. There is no need to feel jealous or like you lost a friend. It just takes a little creativity, thoughtfulness, and effort.

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Featured image by Shutterstock

ACLU By ACLUSponsored

Over the past four years, we grew accustomed to a regular barrage of blatant, segregationist-style racism from the White House. Donald Trump tweeted that “the Squad," four Democratic Congresswomen who are Black, Latinx, and South Asian, should “go back" to the “corrupt" countries they came from; that same year, he called Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas," mocking her belief that she might be descended from Native American ancestors.

But as outrageous as the racist comments Trump regularly spewed were, the racially unjust governmental actions his administration took and, in the case of COVID-19, didn't take, impacted millions more — especially Black and Brown people.

To begin to heal and move toward real racial justice, we must address not only the harms of the past four years, but also the harms tracing back to this country's origins. Racism has played an active role in the creation of our systems of education, health care, ownership, and employment, and virtually every other facet of life since this nation's founding.

Our history has shown us that it's not enough to take racist policies off the books if we are going to achieve true justice. Those past policies have structured our society and created deeply-rooted patterns and practices that can only be disrupted and reformed with new policies of similar strength and efficacy. In short, a systemic problem requires a systemic solution. To combat systemic racism, we must pursue systemic equality.

What is Systemic Racism?

A system is a collection of elements that are organized for a common purpose. Racism in America is a system that combines economic, political, and social components. That system specifically disempowers and disenfranchises Black people, while maintaining and expanding implicit and explicit advantages for white people, leading to better opportunities in jobs, education, and housing, and discrimination in the criminal legal system. For example, the country's voting systems empower white voters at the expense of voters of color, resulting in an unequal system of governance in which those communities have little voice and representation, even in policies that directly impact them.

Systemic Equality is a Systemic Solution

In the years ahead, the ACLU will pursue administrative and legislative campaigns targeting the Biden-Harris administration and Congress. We will leverage legal advocacy to dismantle systemic barriers, and will work with our affiliates to change policies nearer to the communities most harmed by these legacies. The goal is to build a nation where every person can achieve their highest potential, unhampered by structural and institutional racism.

To begin, in 2021, we believe the Biden administration and Congress should take the following crucial steps to advance systemic equality:

Voting Rights

The administration must issue an executive order creating a Justice Department lead staff position on voting rights violations in every U.S. Attorney office. We are seeing a flood of unlawful restrictions on voting across the country, and at every level of state and local government. This nationwide problem requires nationwide investigatory and enforcement resources. Even if it requires new training and approval protocols, a new voting rights enforcement program with the participation of all 93 U.S. Attorney offices is the best way to help ensure nationwide enforcement of voting rights laws.

These assistant U.S. attorneys should begin by ensuring that every American in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons who is eligible to vote can vote, and monitor the Census and redistricting process to fight the dilution of voting power in communities of color.

We are also calling on Congress to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to finally create a fair and equal national voting system, the cause for which John Lewis devoted his life.

Student Debt

Black borrowers pay more than other students for the same degrees, and graduate with an average of $7,400 more in debt than their white peers. In the years following graduation, the debt gap more than triples. Nearly half of Black borrowers will default within 12 years. In other words, for Black Americans, the American dream costs more. Last week, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, along with House Reps. Ayanna Pressley, Maxine Waters, and others, called on President Biden to cancel up to $50,000 in federal student loan debt per borrower.

We couldn't agree more. By forgiving $50,000 of student debt, President Biden can unleash pent up economic potential in Black communities, while relieving them of a burden that forestalls so many hopes and dreams. Black women in particular will benefit from this executive action, as they are proportionately the most indebted group of all Americans.

Postal Banking

In both low and high income majority-Black communities, traditional bank branches are 50 percent more likely to close than in white communities. The result is that nearly 50 percent of Black Americans are unbanked or underbanked, and many pay more than $2,000 in fees associated with subprime financial institutions. Over their lifetime, those fees can add up to as much as two years of annual income for the average Black family.

The U.S. Postal Service can and should meet this crisis by providing competitive, low-cost financial services to help advance economic equality. We call on President Biden to appoint new members to the Postal Board of Governors so that the Post Office can do the work of providing essential services to every American.

Fair Housing

Across the country, millions of people are living in communities of concentrated poverty, including 26 percent of all Black children. The Biden administration should again implement the 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule, which required localities that receive federal funds for housing to investigate and address barriers to fair housing and patterns or practices that promote bias. In 1980, the average Black person lived in a neighborhood that was 62 percent Black and 31 percent white. By 2010, the average Black person's neighborhood was 48 percent Black and 34 percent white. Reinstating the Obama-era Fair Housing Rule will combat this ongoing segregation and set us on a path to true integration.

Congress should also pass the American Housing and Economic Mobility Act, or a similar measure, to finally redress the legacy of redlining and break down the walls of segregation once and for all.

Broadband Access

To realize broadband's potential to benefit our democracy and connect us to one another, all people in the United States must have equal access and broadband must be made affordable for the most vulnerable. Yet today, 15 percent of American households with school-age children do not have subscriptions to any form of broadband, including one-quarter of Black households (an additional 23 percent of African Americans are “smartphone-only" internet users, meaning they lack traditional home broadband service but do own a smartphone, which is insufficient to attend class, do homework, or apply for a job). The Biden administration, Federal Communications Commission, and Congress must develop and implement plans to increase funding for broadband to expand universal access.

Enhanced, Refundable Child Tax Credits

The United States faces a crisis of child poverty. Seventeen percent of all American children are impoverished — a rate higher than not just peer nations like Canada and the U.K., but Mexico and Russia as well. Currently, more than 50 percent of Black and Latinx children in the U.S. do not qualify for the full benefit, compared to 23 percent of white children, and nearly one in five Black children do not receive any credit at all.

To combat this crisis, President Biden and Congress should enhance the child tax credit and make it fully refundable. If we enhance the child tax credit, we can cut child poverty by 40 percent and instantly lift over 50 percent of Black children out of poverty.


We cannot repair harms that we have not fully diagnosed. We must commit to a thorough examination of the impact of the legacy of chattel slavery on racial inequality today. In 2021, Congress must pass H.R. 40, which would establish a commission to study reparations and make recommendations for Black Americans.

The Long View

For the past century, the ACLU has fought for racial justice in legislatures and in courts, including through several landmark Supreme Court cases. While the court has not always ruled in favor of racial justice, incremental wins throughout history have helped to chip away at different forms of racism such as school segregation ( Brown v. Board), racial bias in the criminal legal system (Powell v. Alabama, i.e. the Scottsboro Boys), and marriage inequality (Loving v. Virginia). While these landmark victories initiated necessary reforms, they were only a starting point.

Systemic racism continues to pervade the lives of Black people through voter suppression, lack of financial services, housing discrimination, and other areas. More than anything, doing this work has taught the ACLU that we must fight on every front in order to overcome our country's legacies of racism. That is what our Systemic Equality agenda is all about.

In the weeks ahead, we will both expand on our views of why these campaigns are crucial to systemic equality and signal the path this country must take. We will also dive into our work to build organizing, advocacy, and legal power in the South — a region with a unique history of racial oppression and violence alongside a rich history of antiracist organizing and advocacy. We are committed to four principles throughout this campaign: reconciliation, access, prosperity, and empowerment. We hope that our actions can meet our ambition to, as Dr. King said, lead this nation to live out the true meaning of its creed.

What you can do:
Take the pledge: Systemic Equality Agenda
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Featured image by Shutterstock

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