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Want to keep your BFF game strong despite distance? Try these 9 tips.

Long-distance friendship is the new long-distance romance.

Want to keep your BFF game strong despite distance? Try these 9 tips.
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Life has a tendency to throw a lot of curve balls our way.

A new job, a new relationship, or simply a desire to see more of the world often forces us to make the toughest decisions, like moving away from the places we grew up (and those we grew up with).

And while you can pick up any magazine or scan through countless blog posts for tips on how to maintain a long-distance romantic relationship, there is significantly less information available about how to do the same with long-distance friendships.


Image via iStock.

The good news is, the digital age is making it easier than ever to keep in touch with those we love, platonically or otherwise, and social media has made it almost impossible to fall out of touch with friends regardless of area code or time zone. If you're about to be away from your closest friends for a long time, don't fret.

Take Toronto-born illustrator Hatecopy and Indian artist Babbu the Painter, who have been best friends since 2015. When Babbu embarked on a six-month trip to India at the beginning of this year, their friendship was put to the test — a test they passed with flying colors thanks to daily interactions on various forms of social media. They're just one example of friends who have stayed close through the power of social media.

It might not be easy, but the truth is that the digital age has made it easier than ever before to follow Hatecopy and Babbu's example and stay connected no matter how much distance lies between you and your bestie.

Here are nine ways friends keep that long distance friendship alive:

1. Make a plan.

Living multiple time zones apart can present a real challenge in terms of communication. But simply mapping out the day and finding the peak hours (or even minutes) to chat with your BFF can make all the difference and give you both something to look forward to.

2. Stay committed.

Image via iStock.

Long-distance friendships require a lot of effort from both parties involved if they are to work. This means occasionally putting in some late-night hours and making a real effort to chat even if you might be a little too worn out from the day to do so.

3. Don't be afraid to harness the power of social media to stay in touch.

4. Remember that you can never share too many silly animal photos to lift each other's spirits.

For example, here's Babbu using the power of animal photos to put her BFF in a good "mooed," if you will.

5. Use social media as a wellspring of memories and jokes to build off of or look back on.

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6. Make the goal of each interaction you have online to make each other laugh.

There's nothing like a good goofball stand-off to get the endorphins pumping no matter where you are in the world. And hey, if you don't have much time together, you'll want to keep every second as enjoyable as possible.

7. Make the person you're taking to feel like the only person in the world at that moment.

Make each minute count, shut out other distractions, and make it all about you guys.

Image via iStock.

8. See it as an opportunity to get a glimpse into a different world.

Hatecopy and Babbu, for example, used the near 10-hour time difference between them to compare (or lament) the vastly different choices in Indian and Canadian cuisine.

Image via Hatecopy/WhatsApp.

9. Try to embrace the perks of a long-distance relationship.

They give you reasons to travel, they inspire more active communication, and for likeminded professionals like Hatecopy and Babbu, they allow you to receive an outside, unbiased opinion on your work that a friend may not be willing to give in person. ‌‌

"We've faced obstacles and challenges together that made us almost inseparable," Hatecopy told The Fader. "Our friendship allows both of us to express our creativity without judgement, and give each other a second pair of eyes to proof and improve on our work."‌‌

Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
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Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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Simon & Garfunkel's song "Bridge Over Troubled Water" has been covered by more than 50 different musical artists, from Aretha Franklin to Elvis Presley to Willie Nelson. It's a timeless classic that taps into the universal struggle of feeling down and the comfort of having someone to lift us up. It's beloved for its soothing melody and cathartic lyrics, and after a year of pandemic challenges, it's perhaps more poignant now than ever.

A few years a go, American singer-songwriter Yebba Smith shared a solo a capella version of a part of "Bridge Over Troubled Water," in which she just casually sits and sings it on a bed. It's an impressive rendition on its own, highlighting Yebba's soulful, effortless voice.

But British singer Jacob Collier recently added his own layered harmony tracks to it, taking the performance to a whole other level.

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Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
True

Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

Keep Reading Show less