Shopping Gift Guides Unique BFF

11 uncommon gifts for the friend that already has everything

Read more of our holiday stories here!

We all have that one friend who already has everything and never knows to drop hints. I have several of these friends, and always end up spending hours upon hours of pointless window-shopping trying to figure out what to get them. Things got more complicated this year with all the COVID restrictions.

If you’re like me, you’ve probably already scoured through various websites for unique and personalized gift ideas. If you still couldn’t decide what to buy, here are 11 uncommon gifts to give your friends this holiday season:

1. An engraved wooden lantern that can be personalized to project images and words onto a wall

[Image description: An engraved lantern projecting butterflies onto the wall. ] Via Etsy
[Image description: An engraved lantern projecting butterflies onto the wall. ] Via Etsy 
With this beautiful lantern, you can send a magical message to your loved ones for them to cherish forever.

Get it here for $49.55 

2. A personalized illusion lamp to turn a photo into a night light

[Image description: An acrylic illusion lamp made from a photograph.] Via Etsy
[Image description: An acrylic illusion lamp made from a photograph.] Via Etsy
You’ll never forget memorable moments with this personalized lamp!

Get it here for $70.20 

3. A Feel-Good Box full of all-natural spa goodies

[Image description: A box full of spa goods for self-care.] Via Etsy
[Image description: A box full of spa goods for self-care.] Via Etsy
We could all use some self-care during these times. This is the perfect gift to comfort your friends through a breakup, when they’re dealing with a loved one passing and so much more.

Get it here for $87.93

4. A holiday scented candle to get in the holiday spirit 

[Image description: A holiday-scented candle with a cute message on it.] Via Etsy
[Image description: A holiday-scented candle with a cute message on it.] Via Etsy
This candle will make a COVID holiday season seem more normal.

Get it here for $15.99


5. A moon phase necklace that can be customized to reflect the moon phase on a special date

[Image description: A customized moon phase necklace created for a birthday.] Via Etsy
[Image description: A customized moon phase necklace created for a birthday.] Via Etsy
This necklace is meaningful but also versatile enough to go with many outfits. It’s Perfect for astrology loving friends.

Get it here for $44.36 

6. Long-distance friendship lamps that light the other one up when touched 

[Image description:Two long-dstance friendship lamps sitting on a desk.] Via Etsy
[Image description: Two long-distance friendship lamps sitting on a desk.] Via Etsy
These lamps are perfect for long-distance friends to stay in touch with each other! Have your Tangled moment.

Get it here for $235.20 

7. Handmade Succulent Soap to spice up any bathroom

[Image description:Handmade succulent soaps on a bathroom sink.] Via Etsy
[Image description: Handmade succulent soaps on a bathroom sink.] Via Etsy
These uncommon handmade soaps will look absolutely adorable in the kitchen or next to the bathroom sink.

Get it here for $12.70

8. Picasso-face earrings for your artistic friend 

[Image description: Bejeweled earrings on a white background.] Via Etsy
[Image description: Bejeweled earrings on a white background.] Via Etsy
These Picasso-face earrings will add color to any outfit.

Get it here for $9 

9. Trump Coffee and Biden Tea Boxes for your woke, politically active friend

 [Image description: Sleepy Joe Tea and Fake News Coffee on a table.] Via Etsy
[Image description: Sleepy Joe Tea and Fake News Coffee on a table.] Via Etsy
These coffee and tea boxes come with mysterious gifts hidden inside them too.

Get it here for $25 

10. A silver quiver and arrow ear cuff for your badass friend 

 [Image description: A silver quiver and arrow ear cuff on a ear.] Via Etsy
[Image description: A silver quiver and arrow ear cuff on an ear.] Via Etsy
This statement piece will instantly make any outfit look more badass. 

Get it for $46.76 

11. A DIY Whiskey Making Kit to end the night with. 

 [Image description: A whiskey making kit on a mirror tray.] Via Etsy
[Image description: A whiskey making kit on a mirror tray.] Via Etsy
This DIY Whiskey-Making Kit makes it possible to customize your own alcoholic beverage with different flavors. 

Get it here for $79.80 

Have fun being creative! Hopefully this list inspired you and you’ve decided what to get. We hope your friends enjoy these cute and personalized gifts. Wish them happy holidays from us at The Tempest too!

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Love + Sex Love Life Stories

Have you ever felt unrequited love?

Usually when I think of unrequited love, I think of something great. Some sort of grand story full of catharsis. Unrequited is generally special.

A type of love that demands to be talked about for an eternity. Something electric, with compulsive wavelengths. Something like the movies that comes with its own playlist attached to it.

Something with late and long nights spent together in a damp minivan twinkling and spitting out dreams on a whim. Something with vicious fights fueled by our own desire. Something that makes my soul open up just as swiftly as it gets torn apart. And, somehow I wind up bursting at the seams yet feel completely unsatisfied. I always want more. 

Why do we long for the type of love that hurts so much it imprints our hearts? It is difficult to locate the line that separates struggle and triumph, as nearly every love story in popular media blurs the two. But unrequited love is so unbelievably magnificent and sad at the same time that it becomes all encompassing.

Unrequited love is an entire body, overwhelming, feeling. I have broken hearts before and I have had my heart broken, so I can tell you that the feeling never fades, one way or the other. It feels as if you are running fast, and for a long time, yet making no distance at all.

One time I waited two months for a guy to message me back before I realized that he just wasn’t going to. Ever. Again. And that entire time I couldn’t help but wonder why I cared so much. What we had wasn’t at all special, but I still was left longing for a distraction from the heartbreak. I was showered by his passivity instead of his kisses and I wanted him to know how much his absence hurt me, but he was so equally careless and carefree that none of it mattered.

Not even for a second. 

I felt unrequited love again while in a long-distance relationship. This kind of unrequited was different. It wasn’t one-sided. Instead, we felt tremendously for each other. It’s just that our bodies weren’t able to be physically together for some time. We were only long distance for the few months that I would be studying abroad, but it felt like an eternity. I remember being there and using all of my senses to try to gauge what his touch felt like.

Somedays I would wake up and watch the sun from my window, silently knowing that that same sun wouldn’t bounce to him for another six hours, and I would recall how that same sun looked dancing across his back at dawn. I’d lay in bed at night and want to tell him about my day, but I knew that I couldn’t. I was constantly reminded that he no longer took up the space in between my arms when we slept. But I was, and still am, fascinated by the immediate consumption of these moments. I am so grateful to have given him my heart. He still has it. 

The extent of passion is practically boundless. We should feel like we can fly on a whim, or scream and dance, when we are in love. Unrequited love just forces you to confront that intensity, those struggles and triumphs, head on. Some of it is beautiful; some not so much. I like to remind myself that love doesn’t need a reason, love just is. 

Unrequited love is messy, but worth it. It is a collection of fleeting moments. It teaches us that all love should be leaking, dripping, through every difficulty yet also a thread that is continuously weaving through and connecting our bodies and our souls. The whole point of longing is to continue, because there will always be potential to love someone rather than to have loved someone. They can’t be the one that got away if they weren’t the one in the first place.

Family Life

The COVID-19 pandemic gave me a newfound appreciation for my mom

I haven’t seen my mom in six months – its the longest I’ve ever gone without visiting her. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit the United States, I was given three days to move out of my dorm room, find a new place to live, and get a plane ticket. My family recently moved to the Netherlands, and with the European travel ban in place, I couldn’t go home. Luckily, my parents hadn’t sold their old house in the United States, so my boyfriend and I packed up our entire lives and moved to my childhood home in Missouri. 

While I missed my family, I was excited to live on my own for the first time. After years of eating in college dining halls and having roommates, I felt ready to cook my own meals, buy whatever groceries I wanted, and have my own space. 

The day after I arrived, I ambitiously started planning the meals I wanted to cook and headed off to the grocery store. Later, when unpacking my purchases, I realized that I had forgotten nearly half of the items on my mental list. Frustrated, I tried to tackle a complex recipe – sweet potato enchiladas. I spent hours peeling the sweet potatoes (I used a measly peeler, not realizing a sharp knife would be more efficient), and I didn’t have enough ingredients for the sauce. By the time I finished dinner, it was 10 p.m.; the enchiladas were dry, and I’d used too much garlic.  I went to bed, defeated, and ordered takeout for the next three days. 

Worn down and exhausted, I called my mom, sobbing. 

Dishes began to stack up in the sink. I forgot to bring the trash to the curb on trash day. I tried baking cookies and spilled flour all over the floor. My car tire blew out while driving. I was spending too much money on groceries. The WiFi stopped working while I was trying to finish my finals for the semester. I became overwhelmed in my quest to be what I considered an “independent adult.” While my boyfriend was patient with me and helpful with chores around the house, I put intense and gendered pressure on myself to be a domestic goddess. Worn down and exhausted, I called my mom, sobbing. 

My household struggles allowed me to understand the silent hardships my mom has faced throughout her life, furthering my appreciation for her. I took my mom for granted when I was younger. I rarely helped her with chores around the house. She cooked all my meals and drove me to music lessons every day after school, all while working full time as a pediatrician. She was always there to listen to me while I cried on the phone during my first year of college. I forgot to call her on Mother’s Day sophomore year. I became upset with her whenever she tried to make me something I didn’t want to do. Despite my lack of gratefulness, she has always been there for me. 

I also discovered a deep and profound respect for my mom and everything that she has done for her family.

Living alone has gotten easier for me. Despite the rough start, I realized that I loved cooking and creating meals, just like my mother. Once I removed the pressure of perfection, I learned from my mistakes and slowly enjoyed my journey into independence. I also discovered a deep and profound respect for my mom and everything that she has done for her family. I ordered her flowers on Mother’s Day this year. We fight less and talk on the phone more frequently.

I thought that simply doing laundry and grocery shopping would make me more independent. However, my struggles and mishaps without her resulted in a newfound appreciation for my mom, causing our relationship to flourish. I never realized that the distance between us would only bring us together. 

Love + Sex Love Life Stories

I won’t kiss you if you feel lukewarm about me

It’s the end of an awkward date, and we’re standing in a car park, fumbling through the small talk we feel obligated to make. He points across the parking lot at a sign I can’t read, so I squint into the distance before putting on my glasses. “Why don’t you wear your glasses all the time?” he asks. I reply that I feel prettier without them on. But that’s not true.

I actually didn’t wear my glasses on that date because kissing while wearing glasses can be cumbersome, and I’d gone into the date hoping it would end in a kiss. But by the end of the date, standing in the parking lot, I knew I didn’t want to kiss him. 

I didn’t want to kiss him because I realized he felt lukewarm about me. And I don’t kiss people who feel lukewarm about me.

I’d been seeing this particular man for a month and a bit, but we lived in different cities, so I’d only see him while I was home visiting my family. He’d really made me feel valued at first. He’s the first and only man who has brought me flowers on a date. On our second date, he said the words, “I really like you.” And I like being liked. I also really liked him in return.

I didn’t want to kiss him because I realized he felt lukewarm about me. And I don’t kiss people who feel lukewarm about me.

Perhaps the old adage “distance makes the heart grow fonder” is a myth. Or he could simply have lost interest in me, which is a normal thing to do. But between dates four and five, I began to feel undervalued by him. I still liked him, though. So, when I was home again, I made a plan with him to have dinner. 

I’ve often thought that how you feel about somebody can be communicated through effort. The effort he’d put into planning dates, and showing up early or on time, and bringing me roses communicated to me that I was valued. This time he was late, and he was rude. It almost felt like he was a different person, and I didn’t feel valued at all.

We sat in the corner of a burger joint, making more small talk than usual. His sullen answers to my questions dragged me down as I tried to keep the conversation afloat. And then, just as our burgers arrived, he said, “I’m sorry I haven’t been very communicative recently.” To which I replied – in the ‘cool girl’ way society has ingrained in me – giving him an easy way out, “Don’t worry, I know things have been stressful and busy for you.” 

In that moment, I decided that he wasn’t for me, because I’m worth much more than a man feeling lukewarm about me.

“Oh, no. I think it’s just that I feel so uncertain about you,” he replied. At least I can applaud his honesty. I took a deep breath and ate my burger, thankful that the food in front of me gave me a way out of this conversation. His words knocked me, but they did something else that surprised me. In that moment, I decided that he wasn’t for me, because I’m worth much more than a man feeling lukewarm about me. I ought to have put on my glasses right then because I knew that I no longer wanted to kiss him. 

As we were paying the bill, he pressed his knee against mine affectionately, as if the date had gone well. It hadn’t. 

But in many ways, it had gone well for me. Because I realized that I had learned to value myself. I also learned to let go of things that aren’t meant for me. He deserves to be with somebody he feels certain about, and so do I. I feel this deeply.

My first love’s uncertainty about me made me feel that he believed that he was doing me a favor by loving me. I never want to feel that way again. I don’t think anybody should feel that being loved is a favor.

With our date behind us and my glasses on my face, we hugged goodbye.

“Let me know when you’re home safe”, he said, as I climbed into my car. I cried as I drove home, because the end of anything can be sad.

I let him know I was home safe. “Yay!” said his reply text. 

“Yay!” indeed – a lesson learned.

Movie Reviews Movies Books Pop Culture

Netflix’s To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before is taking young adult romance to new heights through representation

In addition to Kevin Kwan’s Crazy Rich Asians releasing in theaters, the movie adaptation of Korean American author Jenny Han’s book To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before will be streaming on Netflix August 17, 2018. With an Asian female-led cast this movie is making just as much of an impact as Crazy Rich Asians and I’m so excited to see some different representation on screen.

This teen romance follows the story of Lara Jean Covey or LJ (Lana Condor), a biracial Korean American teen whose seemingly normal life goes haywire when her secret love letters get sent out to five boys. This would be a nightmare for almost anyone, especially the imaginary romanticist like Lara Jean. How she overcomes her dilemma and falls in love for real is both hilarious and inspiring and will leave viewers of all ages with important lessons to take away.

Besides the inevitable love pentagon Lara Jean finds herself in, this movie is filled with gems.

First, we have the sisters’ unbreakable bond. One of the boys to receive a love letter happens to be her older sister Margot’s (Janel Parrish) boyfriend, Josh (Israel Broussard). This causes some tension between all three sisters but multiple times throughout the movie they can put their petty issues aside and stand together. As three girls growing up without a mother, their relationship and influence on each other are extremely important to them, and it shows with each sister’s actions, even the youngest bratty 11-year-old sister, Kitty (Anna Cathcart).

Secondly, the way they address loss in this movie I find really important. So often we see young adult media where there is a single parent but the effects of this are readily ignored. Both LJ and Peter (Noah Centineo), another letter recipient, live in single-parent households, one from death and one from abandonment, but neither have issues discussing their pain in an open and healthy way. I really relate to both Lara and Peter, and the solace they find in each other is admirable.

Furthermore, the subtle addressing of social issues in this movie is phenomenal. From calling out the racism in 80s movies in their disgusting portrayal of Asian characters to dealing with slut-shaming and comprehensive sex education. When older sister Margot relays to LJ that “it’s never worse for the guys” I felt like I was talking to my sister and friends. And I truly appreciate the gynecologist father who is not afraid to be open with his daughters about menstrual cycles, love, and safe sex. This movie doesn’t beat you over the head with wokeness but instead realistically portrays issues that teen girls are going through all over the world.

As to be expected when condensing a sizeable novel, the pacing of the movie is a little bit off. And you don’t get the full romantic growth that eventually buds between Lara and Peter like in the novel. Their love is still believable, however, and you root for them to figure it out.

My only criticism of the movie is a minuscule moment between the sisters that you would only notice as a book reader. When Margot comforts her sisters after the big climactic moment in the movie she says the words “Covey Girls forever”, but in the book, the sisters frequently refer to themselves as the Song Girls. It’s an important way in which they connect with their deceased mother who gave them the moniker of her maiden name as well as their Korean heritage. A lot of the moments that seemed to be cut from the movie are those that deal with the girls’ Korean identities. Maybe it’s not a big deal but the erasure felt deliberate and left a bit of a bad taste in my mouth.

Overall, the movie is cute and I would 10/10 watch again. It ends with a cliffhanger of another letter recipient arriving at her door, John Ambrose McClaren (Jordan Burchette) which only alludes to more drama for LJ to wade through. I can definitely say he is my favorite boy of all Lara’s boys and you won’t want to miss what’s next.

What I’d like to see most in the sequel (Netflix, I hope you’re working on it right now!) and hopefully the third movie is a full embracing of the Song girls’ Korean identity. I look forward to how New Year’s will be portrayed because in the book it’s a full celebration with traditional dress, activities, and their mom’s side of the family. These elements are essential parts of the characters’ personalities and motivations, includng their dad, and it shouldn’t be erased.

Love + Sex Love Life Stories

I was ghosted by my soulmate – after he promised we’d be together forever

The moment he told me the news – that he was to be transferred to another state, I was crushed. It was far away from where we both lived, on the other side of the country. We were both unhappy about it and in a second, everything just turned gloomy.

I was hoping for him to stay when he said he was going to refuse the job transfer. But the hope was broken as his employer’s decision was final. With great reluctance, he had to agree. It was either that or find another job. We couldn’t let that happened just for the sake of our unwillingness, so sacrifice had to be made.

For his own good, I had let him go.

The first two months were tough, living far away from each other while still trying to keep in touch. We couldn’t live without hearing each other’s voices every day and we had video chats every week. At first, we were talking about adjusting to our new long-distance relationship. We shared stories about what happening to us every day. Sometimes we stayed on the phone, without talking but just doing our own thing.

It felt as if we were next to each other. It was nice to feel his presence, just not as much as before.

But it was better than nothing.

On the third month, he started to get busier. He gave excuses for working overtime or being sick. We stopped video chatting, and then our phone calls got less and less until we finally stopped talking completely. The only thing we did was texting, but it wasn’t as much as the first two months.

That’s all we did for the whole third month. On the fourth month, we barely texted. There was no longer good morning or good night texts like he used to do. It took him hours to finally reply to my messages, sometimes he ignored it. But I was the one to text him first the whole time. If I didn’t, I wouldn’t hear anything from him at all.

At first, I thought it was nothing. I believed him when he said he was getting busier. But it had been two months and I could feel that something was wrong. As if he tried to avoid from talking to me. Or that he found someone new. I convinced myself that it wasn’t true and he wasn’t a cheater. But I couldn’t shake the feeling.

I started to have a fear of losing him.

Until one day, he blocked me.

He completely blocked me in everything. My number and all my social media. He made sure that I could never reach him.

I couldn’t describe the intense the shock, the pain, and the heartbreak. It was so overwhelming. I tried everything to find him but to no avail. He really wanted to completely cut me out of his life.

Broken-hearted, I waited for him. For weeks I sat on my bed, staring at my phone and waiting for his name to pop up on the screen. I locked myself in my bedroom. I spent my time in tears as I hopelessly waited for him to contact me. At the same time, there were a lot of questions on my mind.

What is happening? Did something happen to him? How could he do this to me? What have I done wrong? Does he not love me anymore?

After what seemed like an eternity, I came into a realization – I’d been ghosted.

He was just gone. He left me confused and powerless. It was torture – living in ambiguity after what he did. I still kept hoping he’d contact me, but I knew the chance was nil. To say my life was miserable was an understatement.

Ghosting is the worst way to break up with someone and it was selfish for him to do that, leaving without saying anything. Our relationship ended without closure. He didn’t let me have a say in it. I questioned my self-worth because I felt disrespected. Was I not even worthy enough to merit a breakup?

To me, this was absolute emotional cruelty.

But in the end, I realized that I wasn’t at fault in this. Being ghosted says nothing about my worthiness or my value. There was nothing wrong with me. If anything, it was he who didn’t have the courage to deal.

It took me forever to completely get over being ghosted. The only thing I could do was to let go and focus on the things that make me happy. And that’s good enough closure for me.

It has to be.

Love + Sex Love

When I was forced to choose between going long-distance or breaking up with him, I did something that surprised me

By May 1st, we couldn’t delay any longer.

We’d sent in our deposits, told our family and friends where we were planning on going, and now we were faced with the seemingly insurmountable truth: a 400-mile distance between his university and mine and a choice to stay together or to break up.

When my boyfriend and I began dating in our freshman year of high school I never imagined the longevity of our relationship. Admittedly, I was shy and reserved. Early on, I decided we would likely only stay together for another few months.

Later, on my 15th birthday, when he nervously mumbled, “I love you,” before leaving for the night, I held out on repeating the words for another year.

However, slowly, we fell in together.

I craved his calm nature and knowledge of music and math. We’d stay up late every single night talking, sharing our dreams and goals. Due to his intelligence and passion, I wasn’t surprised when he got into his dream school in December: Brown University.

As May approached and I began to choose my university, we both felt the awkward tension between us. How far away was I willing to go and how would it affect our relationship? When I settled on a school in Washington, D.C., we knew there would be a nine-hour driving distance between us.

We wanted to stay together.

It was clear one night, when we huddled in his childhood bedroom, teary-eyed, trying to work out what was to come.

“We can do this,” we reassured one another, but that meant making some serious sacrifices and decisions.

First things first, we discussed whether we were we prepared for the emotional burden of long-distance. At home, we were neighbors and classmates. We would see each other every day and were never short in physical intimacy between us. We had to understand that physical intimacy wouldn’t be an option anymore, so we got creative.

This meant finding intimacy in other ways.

Skype dates and phone calls became our go-to. It can be comforting to hear one another’s voices. On top of that, sending physical letters and gifts in boxes served as a sweet reminder that we’re thinking of one another.

Once, while I knew my boyfriend was sick with the flu at his university, I sent him a comfort box full of peanut butter, stuffed animals, and sour gummies.

Meanwhile, during a particularly difficult semester, I opened my mailbox to find a sweet Valentine’s Day card from my boyfriend that I immediately hung up on my wall as a reminder of his love.

In addition to accepting the emotional burden of long-distance, we also had to accept the emotional burden of being two teenagers with sexual and romantic interest.

Having dated all throughout high school, we couldn’t deny to one another that we were curious about other people. It meant swallowing our embarrassment and admitting it to one another when we meet people we have a genuine interest in or who have shown interest in us.

Although this doesn’t mean we’ll act on it, being honest about it often reduces the guilt associated with being in love with one person, and having a healthy interest in another person. In our three years of being long-distance, neither I nor my boyfriend has gotten upset with that level of honesty. In fact, it has provided a chance to discuss the shortcomings in our relationship.

What are we missing that another person could provide? How could we remedy it?

When all I wanted once was someone to cuddle up with during a movie, my boyfriend suggested downloading a movie streaming service, so we could watch movies at the same time, over video-chat. While it wasn’t exactly what I wanted (the warmth of another person is quite nice), it was still lovely to cuddle up with a stuffed animal in bed, with some popcorn, and listen to his laughter and comments as we watched.

Along with accepting the emotional weight of long-distance love, we also had to accept the financial burden. We decided a few weeks into being long-distance, we wanted to see one another. That meant trains and meals and outings, all of which that could put a strain on our wallet. And so, we budgeted.

We’d open every semester of being long-distance by picking two or three weekends to alternate visiting each other, as well as deciding on the cost. When I went abroad to London for a semester, my boyfriend decided to visit for a week, during which I tried to alleviate the cost of his flight and hotel by taking him out on my tab and cooking meals.

Long-distance relationships are certainly a financial and emotional sacrifice. They can be frustrating and can leave you wondering if it’s really worth it. But, for every moment we regret our decision, we have five more where we know it was perfect for us.

Through long-distance, I’ve kept close with the person I love as well as found my independence. I’ve traveled with my boyfriend in London, visited his school several times, and learned how to be happy without physical intimacy.

For now, three years into long-distance and getting ready to live together after one year left of school, I can happily say that it made my wallet lighter, but our relationship stronger.

Love + Sex Love

10 life-saving tips for anyone in a long-distance relationship

Now, people usually think that all long-distance relationships can’t work or that they are not worth it. Yes, it’s tough to build a relationship without being able to go on actual dates and deal with fights or disagreements when you can’t physically touch each other. But if your partner is worth it, then oftentimes the long-distance relationship (LDR) is worth it. After all, long distance doesn’t always have to be hard!

I have been in a long distance relationship with my current boyfriend for our entire year and a half together. He goes to one university, and I go to another. During the semester, we are an hour apart, and during breaks, we live about six hours away from each other. Obviously, this isn’t so easy, but I believe that we will be together for a very long time because we have gotten creative to make it work. And here are ten ways we make it happen.

1. Actually give a shit about the person


Here’s the thing: you have to actually like the person.

If you don’t feel committed or willing to put in the extra legwork, then don’t even bother. If you already know that you are not going to be able to uphold this type of commitment to another person, then you shouldn’t string that person along. My boyfriend and I are in a long-distance relationship literally all the time, and it’s not always easy, but we care enough about each other to go the extra mile.

Sometimes we get irrationally irritated due to the distance or lack of physicality, and it gets tough, but we push on because we decided to commit to the relationship and to each other. You may think that this is a normal requirement for a relationship, but it is especially important in long distance relationships.

Relationships are tough, but LDRs are ten times tougher. That means you have to actually care enough to commit to this kind of relationship.

2. Choose your fights wisely


This goes for any relationship. If you get upset every time they take too long to respond to a text or the text they do send just doesn’t satisfy your train of thoughts: take a breath. Fights should only be happening when you are seriously offended or upset – but using fights to control the other individual’s life is not only unhealthy but manipulative.

Since you can’t physically be around each other, that makes the fights all the worse and can make them drag out longer than they should. There is always miscommunication and misconstrued ideas in fights, but when you are apart, it is harder to make up. That means you should choose not to be so mad about a late text and instead remember how much you care about your partner.

3. Put in the effort – make time for each other


Facetime dates are a thing and a great way to spend time together. For some of our dates, my boyfriend and I choose a movie on Netflix and start it at the same time. That way we can watch a movie together, even when were not together. Plan Facetime dates and long phone calls – then keep those dates. You decided to enter into this commitment, so you need to try to remember to be there for them even when it’s hard or you’re busy.

Long-distance relationships are hard work, but the important thing is that you’re there for the partner in various ways.

 4. When you hang out, actually hang out


Time together is few and far in-between, which means you need to make it count. Don’t spend your whole hangout on your phone or staring at the TV screen. Take time to lay down with them on the couch and talk about what’s happened since the last time you saw each other. This is where you get the important intimacy that is necessary in order to maintain this kind of stressful relationship. These are the moments that help you hold on when you are feeling like you’re at the breaking point when the long distance relationship becomes too stressful.

5. Plan activities for your time together


So, it’s been weeks since you’ve seen them – now what? When you plan activities such as going to see that play they’ve been meaning to see (he’s taking me to Kinky Boots tomorrow!) or walking around a park, it can help ease the constant transition from long-distance to being close again.

Besides, it’s always more fun when you have something to do with that person. It finally gives you that opportunity to remember the intimacy that you might have forgotten throughout the past few days, weeks, or months. Make the best of your time together!

6. Random phone calls are never a bad idea


Random phone calls are adorable and a great way to let your partner know that you’re thinking about them. Even if it’s a quick call to let them know that you saw something they might like or just a two-minute long phone call to remind them how much they mean to you, it always means a lot.

Plus, it doesn’t let you forget the fun of hearing their voice – which is much better than reading a (boring) old text message in plain text. It keeps a deeper connection going.

7. Add your friends into the equation

sex and the city GIF

Nobody wants to be that couple who only sit and focus on each other all day, every day.

It’s important for every relationship to balance their personal alone time with the time they spend with their partner and their friends. Since we’re talking long distance, it is important to bring that person into your “regular” life because sometimes they can feel separated from that depending on how long you two spend apart.

Maybe you two could go out and get drinks with your friends before your date night or go on a double-date with your couple friends! It’s always a good idea to make them a part of your “regular” days because they may feel left out of that part of your life.

8. When your partner is having a tough time, be there for them


You can be available for someone even if you can’t physically be there. Stay up late and Facetime them. Call them and answer their text messages. LDRs are still relationships that require a true partnership. It’s important to make time for them just like it is for relationships that are in the same zip code.

You care about them, therefore you must dedicate time to them.

LDRs make it more necessary for you to listen and respond accordingly to your partner. When you are not physically close to each other, you have to make sure they don’t feel like you are not giving them your full attention. When you can’t be a shoulder to cry on, you can at least be the silent person on the phone or Facetime.

9. Communication, communication, communication


If you are upset or having problems with the relationship, you need to tell them. Keeping things from each other is a thousand times worse when you are already apart in terms of physical distance. Communication with each other is so important to every relationship.

However, in an LDR, you need to communicate even more because you can’t see each other’s physical actions or mannerism changes, which means your partner may not get the hint that you are angry about something and vice-versa.

Sometimes I talk to my boyfriend when I feel less connected to him because we have been apart for so many days or weeks, and we work to combat the problem. We plan a movie/Facetime date night, and we make it work.

10. Control your jealousy


Let them have their own life, just like you have your own life.

Just because they go to the bar doesn’t mean that they are busy meeting someone new. Just because you spend an evening catching up with an old friend alone doesn’t mean you’re going to sleep with them. An LDR requires a solid amount of trust, all of which can be difficult to maintain without open communication. You should try not to be jealous, but they should also understand if you get a little bit of the green envy.

As long as you communicate your feelings about any and all situations, you will be okay.

LDRs are tough to maintain, and jealousy can ruin a fabulous relationship much easier in these relationships than in a typical one. Remember to trust your partner!

Tech Now + Beyond

7 tech hacks to make your long distance friendship easier

My friends are my rocks.

We’ve stuck around for each other through our best and worst, all while watching each other grow into the people we are today. While I hold these friendships dear to me, what happens to these friendships after we start “adulting” and moving onto separate lives is a lot less reassuring.

My closest high school and college friends are no longer five minutes away from me. We’re in different cities, time zones, and zip codes. The certainty and assurance I once felt from these friendships have often turned into missed calls, late texts and a general unpredictability of catching up on life, especially at long distance.

Don’t be fooled: Long distance friendships take work. It’s easy to fall out of touch with your friends when your schedules are constantly misaligned. Though work is necessary in fostering meaningful relationships, living in our digital world can make this a lot easier.

Thanks to the digital age, we can get a lot more creative about how we stay in touch and remain in each other’s lives beyond a call, text or Facebook message. With tech at our fingertips, we can better traverse long distance friendships and be more intentional about the virtual time we spend with our friends.

Here’s how you can get creative about it:

1. Watch movies and TV shows together without being in the same room.


Some of my favorite hangouts with friends have been sitting on a couch, vegging out on comfort food, and binge-watching a show on Netflix. While long distance can mess up your TV watching habits—especially if you or your friend watch shows together—with apps like Rabbit, you don’t ever have to worry about spoiling an episode for your friend, or vice versa. Rabbit allows you to watch a video, TV show or movie on the same screen, all in real-time. So when the full season of Jane the Virgin finally gets released on Netflix, rest assured that you and your bestie can watch it together as if you’re in the same room.

2. Share digital playlists.


One of my favorite pastimes is making music playlists for my friends. I used to burn CDs for my friends as gifts or pick-me-ups. Although music services like Spotify took away the novelty of creating a playlist I could literally hold in my hand, it also introduced a wonderful opportunity to share those very playlists with friends instantly. Within seconds, you and your friends can share new music with each other or get nostalgic over old beats.

3. Tag each other in posts or memes that remind you of each other.


I lose count of the number of times I scroll through Facebook and say to myself, “Oh, that is so [insert any friend here].” My favorite social media posts are of memes that describe the little moments in friendship, from the way you have each other’s backs, or the look you give a friend when you find out gossip.

Even though you’re not in the same locale, you can remind each other of your favorite quirks and why you’re in each other’s lives through a quick tag or share.

4. Send each other virtual postcards.


If you’re still a sucker for postcards like me, you now can create an original postcard on your mobile or tablet devices. Apps like Touchnote allow you to use your own photos and design your own layout to create customized postcards. When you’re finished, Touchnote prints the postcard and sends it to your friend, so you’re creatively combining the best of digital and traditional correspondence.

5. Get food delivered to your friend with the tap of a finger.


Sometimes it’s just one of those days: you’re either completely vegged out on the couch because you’ve had a long work day, or maybe you’re under the weather. Fortunately, there are ways to make sure that your friends still take care of themselves.

With apps like Postmates or DoorDash, you can get food delivered to your friends on their off days—just remember to change your location to their address.

6. Browse the web together.


Downtime with my friends often includes mindlessly browsing the internet. When at long distance with my friends, I miss stumbling upon funny Tumblr posts or taking Buzzfeed quizzes together. With apps like Samesurf, you can scour the internet together like old times. Samesurf allows you to share your computer screen with each other and instant message. You also have the capability of sharing computer files and HD video.

7. Want to plan a trip together? Try flight apps.


When nothing can replace physically hanging out with your long distance friends, make sure to plan a trip together. Thanks to mobile apps like Hitlist, Airbnb, and TripAdvisor, you can search trip destinations by dream destination, region, and activities, get notified about cheap travel deals and invite friends to help plan your trip. These apps allow you to seamlessly plan your trip so you can focus on quality time with your friends.