I texted a friend this morning asking if she wanted to go for a walk.  We don’t text every day, and it might take us a couple weeks to coordinate schedules, but we’ll eventually make it happen. I recently hung out with another friend who lives a few hours away. We’ve been close friends for almost 30 years and can go weeks without talking, but when we’re together, it’s like no time has passed. And last weekend a friend from college texted me a funny photo from back in the day. We haven’t seen each other in years, but her message made my entire day.

Each of these close friends has stuck around, despite time and distance and I am so grateful.

There is a common misconception that people need to be in constant communication to be a close friend. But this isn’t always the case. As nice as it is to have friends who you have an ongoing text convo with, the friends who stick around despite time and distance are just as valuable. 

Related: I hope my kids have ‘forever friends’—like the ones I have 

Friendship gets harder when you’re a mom

When you become a mom, your relationships change too. Day care pick-ups conflict with after-work happy hours. Dinner plans require a three-week lead time so you can coordinate babysitters. And last-minute weekend plans? Forget about it. You’re too tired to move off the couch.

Some days even talking on the phone seems like too much work. You tell yourself to text, but then work emergencies pop up and you’re rushing to soccer practice and cooking dinner and before you know it, the another day has slipped away.

Sometimes friends go quiet because life is overwhelming and it’s too hard to talk about. Maybe the friend is going through health issues or marriage problems. Maybe they’ve lost their job and don’t want to talk about it just yet. Maybe their child is struggling with school or anxiety or friends. Sometimes friends go quiet because they don’t know how to say, “Life really sucks right now.”

Related: To the mama who’s so overwhelmed right now: Your best is more than enough

Here’s to the friends who stick around despite time and distance. The close friends who stay close friends even though we don’t see each other for months or years. The friends who love us enough to understand that we sometimes go quiet when life is overwhelming. The close friends who stay close even if we are physically far away from each other. The friends who know that time doesn’t matter when it comes to a friendship, because when we get together it’s like no time has passed at all.

Here’s to the friends who send a casual text out of the blue, even if you haven’t heard from them in a while. Sometimes these messages hit at just the right time. 

We need our close friends who stick around more than we realize

Research shows that connection is essential to our wellbeing and people tend to underestimate how much these casual interactions mean. As a result, sometimes friendships can fall away when life gets busy and overwhelming. We might think that too much time passed, that a friend doesn’t care to hear from us, that if we can’t spend hours talking like we used to, the interaction doesn’t matter. And friendships can fade away as a result. 

“To be functioning at our best, we need to be in a connected state,” friendship expert Marisa Franco told the New York Times. “Just like you need to eat, like you need to drink, you need to be connected to be functioning well.”

Related: No one told me how lonely motherhood can be—and I was unprepared for the seclusion 

This is why the friends who stick around are so valuable. These close friends know that it isn’t quantity but quality that matters. They are the supportive friends who know us well enough to know when we need to talk and when we need some grace for our lack of communication.

To my own friends who stick around despite the time and distance, thank you. And if you’re wondering whether to text that friend you haven’t talked to in awhile, do it. Send a message to that good friend from college you haven’t seen in a few years. Take a walk with the friend who lives a few blocks away but you rarely see because you’re busy with work and kids. Because these are the friendships that stick around—and they matter more than we realize.