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19 Little Ways To Be A Better Long-Distance Friend In 2019

Voice memos, Venmo, and an app that let's you watch a movie together while you video chat.

We recently asked members of the BuzzFeed Community to tell us how they stay close to their friends who live far away. Here are some of the best tips they shared!

Oh, and I also added in a few suggestions that I personally love.

1. Keep in touch through voice memos rather than text messages.

Apple

I'm obsessed with voice memos, which you can easily send via Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, or iMessage. After a year of trying to keep up with long-distance friends via text, email, and the occasional phone call (ugh, time differences suck!), I discovered voice memos and my life changed. They're so much easier, quicker, and more personal than a text message, and you find yourself chatting about little things you definitely would have left out of a typed message. There's also just something so lovely about hearing a friend's voice, especially on days you're missing them a ton.

2. Create a collaborative playlist on Spotify and regularly add your favorite songs for them to listen to.

BuzzFeed

A friend and I send each other song recommendations almost every day. It means we have something fun and personal to talk about regularly.

kfoley18

3. Try out Rabb.it, which allows you to watch the same TV show or movie as someone else, while you video chat.

@letsrabbit / Via instagram.com

There’s an app called Rabb.it and it lets people watch Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, or whatever together. It’s super awesome and has helped us tremendously.

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4. Send them cards on holidays, birthdays, and other special occasions.

etsy.com

Cards are a lovely physical reminder that someone was thinking of you — and not just because they saw that it was your birthday on Facebook. Plus, there's no better feeling than going into a stationery store and finding the PERFECT card for a close friend.

5. Set up your "close friends" on Instagram stories and share updates you'd never normally post.

Instagram

If you prefer your Instagram feed and stories to be a little more...curated than your actual day-to-day life, make use of the "close friends" function. You can send daily photo updates via stories to your besties without having to worry about ruining your online aesthetic.

6. Set up a group chat on every social media platform you use regularly, like Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, and WhatsApp.

Merlas / Getty Images

Group chats on every platform. Every one has the same name: The Wine Club.

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7. Venmo them some money on days you'd treat them to a coffee or wine if you lived in the same place.

Venmo

If your friend is having a particularly shitty day at work, Venmo them $4 to go grab an afternoon coffee on you. It might not be the same as meeting them face-to-face for a venting session, but it's a kind and thoughtful gesture that just might brighten their day.

8. If you're both into gaming, try playing together as often as you can.

Glenn Carstens-Peters / Unsplash

This might be a weird one, but playing video games together can really help. It doesn't really matter what game you guys play, as long as the both of you enjoy it and it's multi-player. The game might give the both of you something new to talk about, and there are games for basically everyone these days.

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9. Send your friend little things from the place you live to remind them of you.

@elliottmiller22 / Via instagram.com

I moved from Virginia to Japan, so big ole time leap. My friends will send me things I’m missing from home (hello, Chick-Fil-A sauce and chipotle ranch) and I’ll send them things from here that remind me of them.

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10. Make an effort to learn little things about the place they live, if you aren't familiar with it.

rawpixel / Unsplash

If your friend is from a different culture or country, make an effort to learn more about it. Not only will they appreciate the gesture, it will also enrich your knowledge. It’s a win-win situation!

tammylupita

11. Don't stop making plans, even if they won't actually happen for a really long time.

Jakob Owens / Unsplash

Ever since my bestie moved across the country we never stop making plans. We always talk about what we’re going to do when we reunite or how in a few short years we’ll live in the same place in a boujee little apartment, and all that fun stuff. Even if we plan things that we both know are never going to happen it’s just fun to act as if we have lots of plans coming up that we can talk about and plan for.

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12. Send them links to things that remind you of them, like funny tweets or articles.

@halliecantor / Via Twitter: @halliecantor

I live in the US and my friend lives in the Netherlands. Whenever we see something that reminds us of the other person, like a news article, we send it and talk for a bit afterwards.

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13. Set a standing phone call date and stick to it, whether you can talk for two minutes or two hours.

Chad Madden / Unsplash

My best friend and I have a standing phone call every Tuesday morning. When we do get to see each other we just pick up right were we left off the last Tuesday.

briannaalexisr

14. Take the time to send a hand-written letter.

Yakobchukolena / Getty Images

I’m still a huge fan of snail mail. I like to send my girls a classic handwritten letter every now and then, just explaining what I’ve been up to and checking in on them. Sure, we still stay connected via Facebook and other social media platforms, but taking the time out of your day to write a letter really shows that you care. Plus, when I receive a letter back, I know they intentionally took time out of their day to think about me and write me. I’ll always love sending (and receiving) a good old fashioned letter.

mackir

15. And add a Polaroid photo to your letter before you put it in the post.

Filadendron / Getty Images

My best friend lives in Minnesota and I live in Oregon, and we started a tradition of always sending letters back and forth and sticking a Polaroid of us doing something stupid in each letter. We now both have a wall of photos of each other. I love opening my mailbox and seeing a letter from her!

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16. Try reading the same book at the same time, and chat about characters and plot twists as you go.

Mima88 / Getty Images

My best friend and I download the same books from the library on our Kindles, then chat via text when we're one-quarter through, halfway through, and three-quarters through about the characters, what we think will happen, and any quotes we highlighted along the way. We call each other when we're both finished to review the whole thing.

She’s the mother of two small boys (reading while she nurses and during nap time) and I work at an advertising agency in NYC (reading on a long subway commute). Our lives are very different but this ensures we always have something to talk about.

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17. Try and call your friend whenever you're in the grocery store, and ask them to do the same.

Wavebreakmedia / Getty Images

My best friend and I have a rule: If one of us is at Walmart, Target or Costco, we have to call the other. We get weird looks in the stores, but it’s how we keep up with each other during the week.

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18. If your friend lives in a different time zone, set their time in your phone, so you always know if it's a good time to text or call.

Apple

One of my best friends lives in Australia and I live in New York State — it’s always been that way, we met online. We’ve been friends going on 11 years and have only hung out in person once (but soon to be twice!). Because of the massive time difference, I have her city set in my world clock on my phone and I always check it before messaging her. You have to be patient, and remember that you are hours — or in our case, half a day — apart.

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19. Or set up a shared calendar, so you know when the other person will be free for a phone call or video chat.

Google

There's a group of about six of us and we share a virtual calendar, so we can know when the other is available. That way we don't have to ask, "Oh are you working then?" or wonder if a specific friend is around.

pappydanger

Responses have been edited for length/clarity.

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As we head into the new year, we're talking about all the ways to make your life and the world around you a little bit better. Read more Do Better 2019 content here.