As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend.
You might know this about me, but I grew up in the Army and we moved about every 3-4 years. So needless to say I’ve moved away from friends quite often, and it’s easy, especially when you are young and changing, and growing up, it’s easy to loose touch with those that you really made a connection with.
As I get older making friends gets harder and harder, and being shy doesn’t really help… Recently I’ve heard the term ‘tribe’ when someone refers to their best friends, and thankfully, over the years, I have made a few long-lasting friendships, who are closer than friends, they are like my sisters, my tribe!! I can count the number of girls in my tribe on one hand. These beautiful, authentic, loving, hilarious, fun, encouraging, generous, uplifting, real women know me inside and out. They know my struggles and what brings me down, they know what makes me laugh, and where I thrive. They are amazing and I am soo thankful that I get to know these ladies and include them in my tribe!
There is one drawback though… and that is that we all live in different states! Being separated geographically obviously means that we can’t go get lunch or shopping together, we can’t go get our nails done together, we can work out together, or just lounge on the couch and watch trash tv together. And because we can’t do all of those things that naturally help relationships continue and thrive, it is incredibly important to be intentional and nurture these close relationships that I’ve made!
These are the top 5 ways that I keep in touch with my (long-distance) tribe:
1. Be intentional about phone calls and or texts.
Please read this as, text and or call every day! I mean obviously life happens and we can’t always. But make it a point to talk to them every day that you can. Even if it just means asking them what they have planned for the day, you may not be able to take part in each other’s day, but knowing what you are both up to, even the boring things like that you went to the store to make a return, just helps foster the closeness that you would get if you were together. Because to be real, if I lived in the same town as my tribe, I’d likely be at the store with them as they returned whatever it was or even just to do groceries together. On the outside, it may seem like a courtesy when I text my girls and ask what their day looks like, but it’s quite the opposite! By doing this, I am showing them that I truly care and wish to be a part of whatever their day holds even though I can’t be there. Occasionally we will even send video updates instead of just a text.
2. Share everything.
I am not an open book, I’m shy and private, but with my tribe I share everything. Not only do they know my deepest struggles and my greatest joys, but they know what color my nail polish is this week, what I had for breakfast, and yes, they even know when I’m on my period. We will often text pictures each other while we are out shopping- asking for opinions on outfits/colors, if we lived near each other we would be out shopping with each other, so this helps us still share in some of those outings even though we can’t be there. This one kind of ties in with talking everyday, because in those daily conversations you are sharing all the things, big and special or small and mundane. Sharing everything with each other also helps you know all the little ways you can support them whether it be to send a little package of sunshine because they had a tough week, or to jump for joy because they got the job! By sharing everything with my girls we continually grow the trust that we had with each other when we lived near each other.
3. Plan skype/facetime dates.
I have a weekly date night with each of my girls. We pick a show and watch it together over facetime/skype and chat about all the things. Sometimes we’ll even paint our nails, color in coloring books, do face masks, have dinner/dessert together. Again, life happens and we can’t always make our dates, but when we can’t we re-schedule and make sure that we keep this time a priority in our weeks. This is such a fun way to ‘hang out’ when you can’t actually hang out! Occasionally our husbands will join, but they also understand and know that this girl time for us is so important, and are happy to allow us an hour or two for girl time.
4. Plan visits.
I didn’t put these in any special order, but please know the importance of this one! While all of these are crucial to fostering closeness in your friendship, visiting each other is so important to actually growing the relationship. Texts, phone calls, video chats are all important and fun, but nothing can beat face-to-face time with your besties! Sharing in experiences allows deeper bonds to grow, allows you to see first hand/be a part of things that you each are struggling or succeeding in. It helps you understand each other differently for when you are apart. You don’t have to plan anything elaborate or fancy, but do make sure to set time apart during your visit to be intentional about creating new memories/experiences, whether it be going somewhere special, trying something new, or just staying in and playing board games and ordering pizza. Spending time together in real life lets you not only know what’s going on, but allows you to be involved in it!
Finding a devotional to do together allows you to not only grow your friendship, but allows you to grow your relationship with God as well. Reading the Bible and praying for your tribe is probably the most important and most successful way to support each other while being apart. God is AAALLL about relationships, so why wouldn’t he want us to find our tribe and bring Him into it! Even though you can’t go to church or small group with your girls doesn’t mean you can’t still pray together and know each other’s hearts with God.