1. Keep the weather forecast for your friend's town or city saved in your phone. Gyan Yankovich / BuzzFeed This may be an unpopular opinion, but I'm extremely supportive of weather talk. The argument that talking about the weather is lazy or boring is to ignore the fact that the weather is something we all deal with literally every single day. Weather influences our outfit decisions, weekend plans, and daily commute — it's a big deal, and I'm not ashamed to admit that it's often one of the first thing my friends and I talk about. I live in an opposite climate to most of them, so when it was snowing in New York and they were melting during a Sydney heat wave, we empathized with each other. Watching the forecast of my friend's hometowns offers a tiny daily insight into the lives of my favorite people, and I highly recommend it. 2. Write their birthdays in your diary or calendar, along with a reminder set two weeks before. Gyan Yankovich Though we might not like to admit it, a lot of us — me very much included — rely on Facebook for birthday reminders. But when you live in a different time zone or want to send a gift in advance, this just doesn't do. When I started my bullet journal, I recorded all of my closest friend's birthdays in my annual calendar layout. I look at these pages fairly regularly so have a constant reminder of who's birthdays are coming up in the next month. 3. Choose a book to read together, then set a time to discuss it over a phone or video call. @inkandatlas / Via instagram.com When I left Sydney for New York my friend Julia gave me a copy of Insomniac City by Bill Hayes as a farewell gift. She also bought herself a copy. It was the first time I'd been gifted a book that someone had also bought for themselves, and I loved it. Since then, I've read a handful of books that my friends are reading. Even if we don't finish the book at the same time, it's still a little shared experience to give updates on and, eventually, discuss in detail. 4. Share recipes you've tried and loved, so they can make them for themselves. Pinch Of Yum / Via pinchofyum.com When my friends are close, we eat together often. When you move apart, the closest thing you can have to cooking and dining together is recipe sharing. (I mean, you could also FaceTime while eating, but in my experience, this is never as cute as it sounds.) When I fell in love with this Wild Rice Soup recipe, I forwarded it to a few mushroom-loving friends and now eagerly await them reporting back after trying it themselves. Sharing a recipe is a really just a way to say, "I'm always thinking of you, I remember what you like eating, and I want all of your meals to be as delightful as you are." 5. Take a step back in time and send cards in the mail for holidays and birthdays. Paper Source / Via papersource.com After a few years of wanting to, I finally sent Christmas cards last year and man, it felt good. Two weeks after posting them, friends sent me photos of my cards in their homes, beside their trees, and it filled my heart with happiness. Another bonus: thanks to my sender address on the back, it was super easy for friends to send cards back or pop one in the mail for my birthday. 6. And don't forget about email as an alternative to WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger. Gyan Yankovich Since I left Australia a year ago, my friend Lane and I have exchanged 31 emails. We chat a little between each but save most of our big life updates and musings for our emails, which are normally between ~1,000 and 2,000 words each. Getting a new email from Lane is a true highlight of my month, and I look forward my weekend afternoons when I sit down to reply. Emails, when written thoughtfully, feel so much more special than a Facebook message, yet they're delivered instantly, unlike old school letters. 7. Download the Co—Star app so you have easy access to their daily horoscope, if you're into that kind of thing. Gyan Yankovich / Via Co—Star Co—Star is my new favorite app. When you download it and enter your birth date and time, the app shows you your natal chart. When friends join the app and do the same, you can connect and get a full compatibility report based on your birth charts — meaning you can see how you compare with communication methods, emotional response, and so much more. I'm obsessed. Once you have them added on the app, you can also lurk their daily horoscope. At the moment, the app is only available through iTunes but the Android version is apparently coming soon. 8. Don't be afraid to send them photos of the most mundane shit in your life over Snapchat or Instagram. Gyan Yankovich When you live apart, it's harder to get those little life updates that are so easily shared over coffee or dinner. Sharing photos and videos is almost too easy these days, so it's just a matter of getting into the habit of regularly forcing updates onto their screens — like your epic cooking fails — to stay close as ever. The best thing about apps like Snapchat and Instagram is that they work without the expectation of a reply, and act just as a five-second snapshot of your day. 9. Make an extra special effort to remember the names of new people in your friend's lives — literally take notes if you have to. Comedy Central Don't be that person who replies "Sorry, Dan who?" when your friend brings up their new co-worker they've mentioned three times before. Making the effort to remember names and details of the people your mates mention means they'll feel more comfortable talking about them and keeping you up to date with what's actually going on in their day-to-day lives — which might have a lot to do with their colleague's totally undeserved promotion. 10. Avoid cancelling phone or video calls unless you really, really need to. Etsy / Via etsy.com I have a lot of thoughts about chronic cancellers, the most important of which is that they're the hardest people to maintain long-distance friendships with. I'm totally guilty of cancelling calls at times, but am trying to be better. When you live apart, there might only be a few times a week or month that you're both actually free to talk — and if one person cancels, then another, before you know it, you haven't spoken properly for a couple of months. 11. And remember that sometimes, you're going to have to make twice the effort you might have when you lived closer. Etsy / Via etsy.com Even the best of friends can drift apart. When you're no longer nearby there's no running into each other, or new restaurants to try together, or "I'm going to be in your suburb tomorrow, will you be around?" Just as couples in long-distance relationships work hard to maintain closeness and show their affection, friends need to do the same. It can be done — I promise — but you both need to work for the friendship that's worth it.