When a good friend moves away, you may be sad and nervous about what this signifies for your long-term friendship.

Now that you no longer share the landscape, images, and routines of daily life, will it be satisfying enough to remain “friends” on Facebook or exchange emails occasionally? How can you keep your conversations as well as your friendship meaningful?

According to clinical psychologist and author Andrea Bonior, PhD, author of The Friendship Fix: The Complete Guide to Choosing, Losing, and Checking up on Your Friends, you can allow physical distance to spark a rich and exciting phase inside your relationships by finding creative ways to share memorable moments by improvising new styles of connection. Listed here are seven ways to keep the love alive.

  1. Accept that change is inevitable. Bonior reminds us that relationships, geographically challenged or not, undergo changes — and some do fade. Don’t approach staying in touch as a way to freeze your relationship in time. The distance between you actually presents an opportunity to freshen your relationship with new experiences and shared rituals.
  2. Trust the memory bond. Friendships are nourished by face-to-face contact, Bonior notes, but they have staying power because of the memories you share. “Close friendship is almost like a shared language,” she says. “For those who have a friend with whom you’ve been close for many years, you still have shared jokes, memories, and so forth that are very strong and special.”
  3. Make an agenda. “Don’t get stuck in the ‘let’s talk sometime’ trap,” Bonior says. A little creative planning can give your friendship an element of regularity and predictability. Let planning be a fun — and collaborative — endeavor. Could it be FaceTime on Tuesdays? Or you have a shared monthly “movie night” when you watch the same film simultaneously, texting your reactions, or even sharing them by phone?
  4. Be spontaneous. Your separate experiences can be gifts to each other as you share them in unpredictable ways and moments. A phone call, text, or email on impulse, especially to share a new adventure or odd experience, could keep the relationship feeling current.
  5. Make it meaningful. “Today, the techniques for staying in touch are pretty available and simple,” says Bonior. “Everybody can look at a Facebook entry or send an email or share an image of themselves on Instagram. What’s more challenging is making the contact really mean something.” Ensure that at least some of your touchpoints go deeper than the usual status update.
  6. Send packages and cards. “It’s so rare to get something physical in the mail nowadays,” Bonior says. “A care package or perhaps a simple postcard can be a really strong connector.” The package doesn’t have to be jammed with pricey gifts. Consider inexpensive trinkets which are meaningful to both of you: A bar napkin from the favorite watering hole, a new book by a favorite author, or a funny postcard can make a real difference.
  7. Visit in person. “You’ll probably feel like you don’t have the time,” Bonior says, but it will do wonders for the relationship if you can get together once a year or so. Plan a girls’ weekend getaway or perhaps a man-cave retreat at a halfway spot. Or make the most of business trips and other journeys that provide you with close to your friend, and sneak away for some serious face time.