Start a blog together
Contribute to the same Blogger, WordPress, Tumblr or Myspace website. (I try to be inclusive.)
It allows you and your friend to share in something you love despite the distance. Just decide what you want your blog to focus on: cooking, fashion, travel, photography, cat memes or your shared crazy obsession with Supernatural.
Also, it is a fun surprise to check your blog and see your friend has posted. It's like getting a letter in the mail, except this letter would have to be illegally opened and posted on the Internet for everyone to see in order to make that comparison.
Another perk is you can set goals together on the site and then have the accountability of your friend and the Interwebs to stick to them. For instance, you could both do 21 new things while you're 21 or bake through Smitten Kitchen's recipes or find 100 creative things to do with a straw.
Finally, if you want the friendship to end, you can just delete the blog account and that should send the message
Schedule your Skype conversations
So it's your first day at your new place and before you start pulling things out of boxes, you connect to the Internet. You're a tad lonely and a bit overwhelmed in your unfamiliar apartment, and you just need a comfort talk from your pal. You Skype for a couple hours, and you feel much better — maybe ready to venture out of the room and find the nearest take-out. You think, "I am going to Skype my friend all of the time now! Our friendship may actually grow stronger — we will be the next power couple like Leslie Knope and Anne Perkins!"
You start work or school, or work and school, and you feel crappy and tired all of the time; you put off Skyping. Then one day you have a lunch break, the weather's nice, you're in a particularly good mood, and you think — "I'm gonna call ma friend!" — and he or she is not online because he or she also has stuff and is not operating on your schedule. You feel guilty because the friendship is becoming stale like a bag of chips you thoughtlessly left open in a lazy moment and now want to eat, but you can't because they just don't taste the same...(Dramatic? I say not).
So schedule your Skype dates and no, it is not like long-term married people scheduling sex because you are friends, and you're not married.
Also, you can spice up your Skype dates — with basil; I like rosemary. For instance, you can cook the same recipe, at the same time, together over video, and then critique the results. Then, you could even put the recipe on the blog you've made! Wowza.
You can schedule Sunday morning breakfasts (I would not advise bringing the laptop into a religious service). You could talk while doing mundane laundry or folding the clothes afterward. You could make a time to do crafts together.
I am realizing all of my suggestions reveal that I am not a partier. I'll just make it even worse by adding: You can try to get each other's cats to look at each other over the screen! I just made that last one up.
Just send a funny face
If you are bored for a moment, but in a quiet place with serious work folk around you, and Skyping would not be appropriate, just steal a quick funny face. It will make your friend laugh out loud and make the serious folk at his or her work place look at him or her weird. It will remind your friend that your ridiculous self still exists, and your bond will grow closer.
Mail an Altoid-less box
Buy an Altoid box or a tin of similar weight (not liking Altoids is not an excuse for neglecting your friend), fill it with a letter and small trinkets, and mail it off.
You can literally fill the tin with anything that will fit, put the forward and return addresses on the front with a piece of paper and stick it in the mail box. I would discourage mailing fancy cheese, though I think very thoughtful as a personal fan of cheese, it will get ripe. Also, I would advise against chocolate because then your friend won't be able to read your letter for the brown globs on it.
Here is a list of some of the random things my friend and I have sent each other:
a penny, taped head-side up
a rhinoceros sticker
a knock-off mini Moleskin notebook filled-in with activities
a roll of used film
an embarrassing kid photograph
a hair barret
So, it can be small, cheap, silly, fun, random and be great because it is from your friend.
Create a video channel
All of the adorable Brit boys are doing it (sweeping generalization). Except they have their own individual channels and then visit each other and have guest appearances. But I say Amurica can do better! As always! (Sarcasm).
Instead, make a channel with your friend. You can name it after a combination of your names, locations or alter egos. You can make your separate video blogs while your apart and then have something to do together when you visit.
Tag videos, where you answer a set of questions and then tag another person to answer them to, would be much more interesting if you could do them with a friend and see how you differ. You also could make cooking and beauty tutorials, or short films. You could dare each other to do different videos and viewers could watch to see if you met each other's challenges.
Note: People may take sides and decide you are the Lance Bass of the channel and only support your friend. But, never fear, you can always break off and form your own gig.
It's more practical than this:
Play game apps
I play Words with Friends and Draw Something with my friend, and she will not stop nudging me until I respond. It takes limited effort and it's friendly competition.
Just substitute my name
Traditions have been used throughout history to create a sense of unity and ostracize outsiders, and you can do a similar thing with your friend!
Decide on something you want to do with your friend, and only him or her, during certain times of the year that you repeat every year.
For instance, my friend and I make serious, multiple-step cakes for each other's birthdays. When we lived in the same place, we shared eggs benedict for brunch at the same place every Saturday. When we are both back home visiting for fall break, we host Thanksgiving together.
You and your friend could create your own holiday that you celebrate every year. It could be silly and fun like "Cat Day," when everything you wear has cats on it, you play with cats, watch cat videos and make cat-decorated cupcakes. But I am not pressing cats or anything. (Somewhat joking).
Another option is designing and making an outfit that you both wear on the same day, and that no one else can possibly be wearing. (Completely joking).
Form the world's smallest book club
Reading more books is a popular New Year's resolution and partnering up with a friend may help you see it through.
Talk to your friend and decide on a common list of books that you both have been meaning to read. Then be realistic and figure out how much you want to read within a certain time frame. For instance, you could agree to read five chapters a week and then Skype about it over Sunday breakfast, or you may know you want to read 12 books in a year, so you should read one a month. Break it down into digestible bits, but don't eat the paper; I feel that could be unhealthy.
Share a Netflix account
This is a passive way to maintain your relationship if you are those friends who are mostly together because you are too lazy to find new people.
If you share the same Netflix, you can see what the other has watched, and how he or she has rated shows. Then you can discuss the shows when you Skype or rag on the person if you saw he or she spent a whole day watching The Bachelorette (but seriously, that show cannot be real).