I realized recently that my best friend from high school and I have now been long-distance friends longer than we’ve been friends living in the same place. Kinda crazy, huh?
Around this time during my senior year of high school, everyone was wrapping up applying to colleges and daydreaming up new life plans in all different places. I worried about what the distance would do to my friendships with these people I considered really important in my life.
The harsh reality is that you probably won’t stay close with every friend that is separated from you by a long distance. I learned that firsthand and it was tough. The silver lining is that if you both are committed, it’s totally doable to sustain a friendship even over a long distance. In fact, sometimes I feel like my best friend and I have an even stronger friendship now than we did back in high school when I kind of took having him around for granted.
For the first year or so apart, I’d get kind of annoyed when he would be talking about his new friends at college because my biggest fear was that because of the distance, I was going to somehow get replaced. I failed to realize that I was also making new friends and having new experiences that he wasn’t part of either.
When I was in a long-distance relationship, I called my boyfriend every day and we visited each other a lot. Since we were a couple, we both had a certain expectation about making our relationship a really high priority. However, when the person living miles away is “just” my friend, those same high expectations aren’t necessarily reasonable considering our platonic relationship. We’ve instead found what type of long-distance communication works for us as friends.
I had to learn that is was fun to share experiences with my best friend, and being able to talk became a super important way to stay close despite the distance. Luckily, Facebook and other social media have made having long-distance friends easier. You can shoot a quick Facebook message, video chat or check out their latest pictures to catch up on their life. I totally do all those things.
Still, you don’t want to rely too much on the ease of social media so that you stop trying to have a special connection with that friend. For example, my BFF loves movies as much as me, so whenever I see something new, he’s the first person I text or call about it. I’ll mail cards on random occasions because I like the idea that it’ll be a surprise in a few days, rather than just an instant thing. Of course, whenever we are in the same place, we both make it a priority to hang out.
There are some periods of time where my friend and I are just way too busy to catch up. Sometimes I’ll totally forget to mention something that’s gone on in my life, and for a moment there’s kind of that scary distance gap between us. But the point is that we do make the moments we can catch up really count and that’s what is important.
If you have a really strong friendship, it can survive a long distance. You just have to be committed to it, but also be understanding that your friend has a life apart from you. If you don’t go out and live your life in your city, you’ll never have anything to talk about. Considering talking is so important in long-distance friendships, you don’t want to run that risk.
And who knows, those distances may not always be permanent (for example, maybe I am right now working on convincing my best friend to move to New York City… mwahahaha!).
Have you ever had a friend move away? Were you able to stay friends? What tips do you have for someone who has a long-distance friend? Tell us in the comments!