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How to Keep — and Strengthen — Long-Distance Friendships

Great friendships can be a sustaining force through hard times. Here’s how to make the most of yours, no matter how far apart you are.

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Remember when the hardest part about keeping up adult friendships was the scheduling ping-pong required to set up a get-together? Living through a global pandemic — complete with social distancing guidelines, and increased pressures from work and family — has made it harder than ever to give friendships the kind of care and attention they need to thrive. But that doesn’t mean it’s impossible.

We’ve collected some of the best advice on how to lean on virtual tools, manage IRL get-togethers (safely!), and prioritize quality connections for your emotional — and physical — health.

Starting with a little tech support


Zoom Not Cutting It for You? Try Exploring a Virtual World

Louise MatsakisWired

Having a place to socialize, even a digital one, can make connecting through a computer far more enjoyable—even if you think you don’t like videogames.


Coping with COVID-19: Ideas for Staying Connected in this Time of Social Distancing.

Gretchen Rubin

Here are some tips and observations about using technology to stay connected during physical distancing.


How I Made New Friends During the Pandemic

Alex Abad-SantosVox

Why keeping in touch with casual acquaintances is important, even in a pandemic.

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If You Miss Your Casual Friendships, Consider Starting a House Party Slack

Rachel MillerVice

When we shrink our lives down to bubbles and pods, we lose access to the low-stakes connections that are good for our well-being. Here's how to fix that.


The 21 Best Games to Play on Zoom Right Now

Bianca RodriguezMarie Claire

Get ready to put your game face on.


If you’re looking to try IRL...


How to Form a Pandemic Pod

Jeremy Adam Smith, William WintersGreater Good

Here are some questions to ask as you expand your circle of care and cooperation during COVID-19.


10 Socially Distant Date Ideas That Aren’t Just a Walk or a Video Chat

Anying GuoThe Washington Post

Here are 10 ideas for an out-of-the-ordinary social-distance date, in person or online.


So, Can I Have People Over for Dinner Now?

Briallen Hopper Curbed

From whether you should use disposable utensils to how to social distance outside, here’s our best advice for entertaining during coronavirus.


And how to make sure you’re supporting friends emotionally, no matter how you’re connecting


How To Help Friends in Crisis Due To the Coronavirus

Lindsay TigarFast Company

Even if you can’t give your friend a hug, or take them out for dinner, there are ways you can help them cope during a difficult period.


What to Ask Instead of ‘How Are You?’ During a Pandemic

Ashley FettersThe Atlantic

Everyone’s doing badly. We need better questions to ask.


Great Expectations: Friendship In The Time Of Quarantine

Karen Francis Essence

As our internal work continues, friendships remain important. But carefully deciding who we allow close to us is critical.

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No Game Days. No Bars. The Pandemic Is Forcing Some Men To Realize They Need Deeper Friendships. 

Samantha SchmidtThe Washington Post

Many men have probably had a harder time than women figuring out how to adapt their friendships in a pandemic that is keeping them apart.


How to Deal With a Friendship ‘Quiet Season’

Anna GoldfarbThe New York Times

You might emerge from 2020 with fewer friendships, and that’s OK.


BONUS READ: The Need to Touch

Laura CrucianelliAeon

The language of touch binds our minds and bodies to the broader social world. What happens when touch becomes taboo?


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This post originally appeared on Pocket Collections and was published December 16, 2020. This article is republished here with permission.