How to Maintain a Long-Distance Friendship: Lessons Learned from The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants

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sisterhood book 1

Your best friend is the one person who knows you best - she knows all your dreams, your secrets, and your pet peeves. So, what do you do if you need to be separated from this one person for a period of time?

When I left my hometown for college, I left some of my best friends there, as well. I came to a big city where I know nobody and I was missing them terribly. We all had to go on with our own lives - we had different paths now. That means different schedules which make it so hard for us to hang out, even just via phone calls.

It was this experience that made me realize how extremely difficult it is to maintain long-distance friendships. So, when I read The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants by Ann Brashares for the first time, I was amazed.

sisterhood book 1

What is The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants About?

The novel follows the story of four BFFs - Carmen, Lena, Tibby, and Bridget - who have never been apart since they were born. Their mothers were best friends, too, that's why the girls grew up together - like sisters.

One summer, the group was forced to spend their summers away from each other. Carmen had to spend time with her dad in another city, Lena had to visit her grandparents in Greece, Bridget had to go to soccer camp in Mexico, and Tibby had to stay home and find a job.

Before they all left, they found a pair of pants that magically fit all of them perfectly - even though they all had very different sizes. This discovery astounded them. So, they decided to use the Pants as a way to stay connected to each other during the summer.

They passed the Pants from one girl to the next through the mail, and each of them felt the presence of the Sisterhood while wearing the Pants.

Of course, the group encountered so many challenges while they were away from each other. But, seeing how they were able to maintain their closeness despite the distance was really inspiring.

If you are away from your BFF, don't worry. Here are some ways you can maintain a long-distance friendship like the Sisterhood did:

1. Communicate constantly.


What happened in the book: Just a few days after the girls separated for the summer, they started sending each other letters. They told each other about how they were doing - things that made them happy and sad. Whenever they received one of these letters, they replied as soon as possible.

The lesson: Constant communication is the main key to keeping relationships alive. Just like the Sisterhood, you don't need to wait for something big before you reach out and give your BFF an update. Talk to her as much as possible, even when the only thing you want to say is that you got to your destination safely.


2. Keep tabs on each others' lives, no matter how difficult.


What happened in the book: As each of the girls carried on with their lives, they go through difficult challenges. Carmen feels unwanted by her family, Lena finds herself in the middle of a huge misunderstanding, Bridget starts to have feelings for one of her soccer coaches, and Tibby befriends a young girl who is sick with cancer. Each of them had huge problems, but they never forget to give comfort, advice, and a listening ear to each other.

The lesson: Don't get too caught up in your own life that you forget about the life of your BFF. She might be going through a difficult phase, too. Technology has made it so easy for us to communicate, so whip out your phone and ask her how she's doing. Cheer her up, if necessary. It what BFFs do.


3. Document your days!


What happened in the book: Before they went their separate ways, the girls decided to document their summers by writing and doodling on the Pants. They never washed the Pants so the memories would stay tattoed on it forever.

The lesson: You don't need to write on clothing - just take pictures and send it to each other! Not only can you keep up with each other's adventures, you will feel as if you are experiencing it with them.


4. Send care packages.


What happened in the book: Everytime Carmen, Lena, Bridget, or Tibby would find the Pants in their mailbox, their hearts will jump with joy. They would open the package excitedly, even though they already know what's in it.

The lesson: It's an amazing feeling to get packages in the mail, more so if you know that it comes from your best friend. So, send her the occasional care package. Give her things that you know would cheer her up. Let her know that you always think of her and that you care for her deeply. She would do the same for you, too.


5. Countdown to the day when you get to see each other again.


What happened in the book: The Sisterhood is set to see each other again in September, when school starts. As the date of their return home comes nearer, they get more and more excited. They don't hide this excitement and remind each other of how many days there are left before they reunite, through messages, calls, emails, and letters!

The lesson: Nothing is more exciting than a reunion with your best friend. No matter how many emails and texts you sent each other, you would still want to spend time with them and talk about life. So, do what the sisterhood did. Build the excitement for this day in the most creative way you can think of!

Remember, friends are the family you choose. Don't let go of your besties just because you have a long-distance friendship. Make an effort to maintain the relationship. They are worth it. 



47 comments:

  1. I have never seen the movies nor read the book but i feel like I am missing out on something! most of my friendships are long distance so i can only agree that it is quite some work but always worth it!

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  2. Reading this made me realize how important it is to keep in touch with friends back home. I moved to another country, so my family and all my friends still live in the country I grew up in. Sometimes it was really hard to maintain friendships, some held up, and some didn't. Either way, I might just buy the book after reading your post hihi

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  3. That sounds like such an incredible book Marie. My abSooooooLute BFF ever and I have been friends for almost 40 years now and while we've had our ups and downs there is no-one in this world that I would trust more with "me". I might just buy her a copy and some of those magical pants for Christmas ;-)

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  4. This was a great book/movie. Most of my friends are long distance. And to some degree, it feels as though I have drifted so far out of the know, that when they make a post, I feel totally caught like a deer in the spotlight. It is hard to keep up sometimes, but the true friends deserve that extra effort.

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  5. Haha I saw this movie, it was fun. Long distance friendships are hard... especially when we all have little kids. Friendships require being intentional.

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  6. I somehow have never gotten around to reading the books or watching the movies. I love the concept though & these are all important. There are friends that I live in the same city as, but because of our lives and schedules, we don't see each other as often. Communication is the foundation for any relationship, no matter the distance.

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  7. this is such a good book! I loved it so much as a kid, and now that it's kind of happening to me it's funny to see how actually relatable it is :)

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  8. I really suck at keeping and maintaining long distance relationship. It's not that i care but there is a difference when someone is near to you than far away but you made some really good points here. Thanks for sharing.

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  9. Absolutely so true. Me and my best friend have lived in separate states for over 10 years, but the way we know each other lives, you'd think we'd lived down the street from each other

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  10. Communication is important to maintain long distant relationship. My mom is my best friend and we live ten thousand miles away. We communicate on face time weekly and it was something that both of us look forward to each week.

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  11. That is one of my favorite books. I enjoyed the movie, too, but the book won my heart. It does have some great life lessons on maintaining friendships. I have never been good at keeping long distance friends.

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  12. I had loved that book/movie and I love your post. I wish it was as easy to maintain friendships as we grow older.

    ❥ tanvii.com

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  13. Such good tips and the book sounds so nice. I agree, it does takes effort but that is all worth it if you really want to continue to be in the relationship.

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  14. I've still yet to read this book but I really might now! It is so easy to fall out of touch with people but also so easy to stay in touch these days, it takes effort from both sides. Good tips to maintaining something so valuable!

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  15. It's a good book and it's a nice movie to watch. I think it's also very inspiring especially since you learn so much about being a good friend. I think these are wonderful tips for people who would like to maintain their friendship with someone who lives far away.

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  16. I heard of this book from a friend but I didn't read or watch it yet. This looks so interesting, will definitely read or watch this "The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants".

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  17. I have not seen or heard about it but this looks something very close to my heart as i have few friends like my sis only. I still love opening my mailbox every single day.

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  18. Great book, good movie. It is so hard to maintain friendships, especially as we get older. I'm amazed at the lack of time I have to call my friends now!

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  19. I have heard about this book before. But I didn't watch it yet. and one of the most important thing to keep a long distance relationship is stay connected with the, Communication is very important not only in friendship but also in relationships.

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  20. I have heard about this book but haven't got chance to read it yet. Long distance friendship is something not easy to maintain. Definitely frequent communication plays key to it.

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  21. These are good tips...I will need to work on my friendship; thank you so much for this God bless

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  22. wow, love reading this post. Nowadays we don't really spend time with friends... and long distance friendships are rare

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  23. I saw the movie just recently and I loved it! I should read this book too. Now I miss my bestfriend! :)

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  24. Long distance always sucks, specially when you don't have information or communication access. Thanks for sharing the tips.. :)

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  25. Reading this article makes me think about me and my best friend back home. I'm in Japan until March and she's in America with her two kids so she isn't able to visit unfortunately. This was a great read.

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  26. Communciation is the most vital point for building a long and lasting relationship
    Through this process, a lot of quarrel and misunderstanding ensue and with time you understand each other better.

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  27. Communciation is the most vital point for building a long and lasting relationship
    Through this process, a lot of quarrel and misunderstanding ensue and with time you understand each other better.

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  28. Sisterhood so important yes more of that than the back biting we hear all the time, i really like the car package tip so true everyone gets all warm inside recieving something in the mail. Enjoyed reading tks

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  29. Awww, I miss these movies! And obvi I loved the booked even more. Such truth in them! My cousins visiting this weekend so maybe we'll binge them.

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  30. Reminds me of my friendships in Oklahoma. I would visit my grandparents each summer in Oklahoma and I lived in California. I would write letters throughout the year to my friends there and couldn't wait to see them. I even flew one of them out for my high school graduation and then for my five year reunion. Maybe I should send her a package in the mail.

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  31. I think your tips are good. I know some couples who managed to keep their relationship on distance but it was less than a half of what I know. My own personal long distance relationship ended when I one day see a shared friend photo from my bf wedding, it was horrible.

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  32. Love the idea of sending care packages. That's one I would never have thought to do. I'm guessing this would work for a couple's relationship as well.

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  33. My very best friends are all long distance friendships. Most live out of the country, and many I don't see for years. But when we DO see each other, it's like it was just yesterday.
    Amazingly, most of these friends were made before Facebook was invented - though we definitely use FB and email, texting, etc, to keep in touch these days.

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  34. While I never read the book, I absolutely loved the movie. I love the premise of it and look forward to watching it with my girls!

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  35. These are all awesome tips that I'm sure a ton of people can relate to since most people have long distance friends, especially as they age!

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  36. I remember seeing the movie so long ago and it was a cute friendship concept. I'm currently traveling, but I send postcards to my friends to keep up and message them from time to time.

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  37. This was a fab read. Communication is key and always keeps a connection strong. Care packages are also a fab idea :) x

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  38. This was such a good movie. Communication is very important if you want to keep the connection going. This was a great post.

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  39. I never watched this movie but I've heard good things about it. I agree with all of these tips to keep a friendship fresh. I definitely love giving and receiving care packages. ;)

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  40. I actually never read the book but have heard such great things! I love this comparison to real life and real friendships. Life has a way of taking us on different paths and separation can be so hard, but I think the key, as you laid out here, is consistency and communication, finding sweet ways to stay in touch, be thoughtful, and present in the lives of those we love (especially though the hard times). Great post.

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  41. I have been long distance with my best friend for a good while now. We will get busy and not talk for a bit but then catch right up again.

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  43. Its so nice the content of maintaining Long-Distance Friendship.These are all so much great tips that people can maintain long distance friends, especially as we become aged

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  44. This is so useful, especially as you become an adult. Since moving to uni, I have realised just how much effort you need to put into friendships but also how rewarding it can be.

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  45. Communicate constantly is so important to maintain a long distance friendship. We need to keep our connection stronger.

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  46. I love the sisterhood of the travelling pants its the one book that makes me want to have a girly night with my sisters.

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