Making A Case For Long-Distance Relationships

     When you ask people about their thoughts on long-distance relationships, most either say they aren’t for them or they have some experience with long-distance romantic relationships. The consensus is that they are terrible. As someone who has personally been in a three-year long-distance relationship myself, I can say my experience champions this. However, what many people forget about are long-distance friendships. Oftentimes the most fulfilling relationships in our lives are friendships. All of the undying support, the inside jokes, the list goes on. We give and receive so much wholeness, support, and love from our closest friends, so what do we do when someone has to move away? Enter long-distance friendships. 

     Looking back to last March, things were looking bleak. I mean, don’t get me wrong, the state of the world is still absolutely bleak. But at the time, I was going through a breakup with my serious long-distance ex, therapy, and wrapping up the first semester in my new major, all in a random two-bedroom Airbnb my parents scrambled to find. Lockdown was brutal to say the least, however, what never failed to bring me light and joy in my darkest days were the semi-drunken video calls I routinely had with my best friends Mary and Makar. Over some glasses of wine, we shed tears and shared our innermost feelings and fears about the future. We also just talked about nothing and laughed about everything. It was as if we had never parted four years ago after graduation. It was perfect timing. When we were all in lockdown, any action in our personal lives was at an all-time low, so we quickly passed the “So how was your day?” hump. As this trivial first course ended, we swiftly moved on to bigger and deeper topics of conversation. There were tears. Lots of tears. Tears about exciting exam results, tears about relationships ending, tears about therapy. Interestingly, none of us actually quarantined in our homes. Collectively displaced, we found comfort and a home in each other. 

     When all other aspects of my social life and identity were put on hold, this friendship brought me back to a mental space where I was actually able to recognize myself. Was I still depressed? Absolutely, but who wasn’t some combination of anxious or depressed at the time? And who better than your closest friends to console you and hype you up when you have your quarantine body going on and you’re newly single? Obviously your best friends! Digitally checking out of the sh*tty reality that was lock-down and plugging into a virtual party was the perfect form of escapism for when the troubles of the outside world were unavoidable. And even if real life is too much to handle, you can always have some drinks with your friends. In case we find ourselves in another lock-down, might I suggest giving your old friends a call to see how they’re doing. 

     Losing any relationship means losing a piece of ourselves. So why let distance and a potential time difference get in the way? When all other aspects of our social lives come to a halt, it is those who truly know us who can remind us who we are. As we enter into the eleventh month of this pandemic, it is unclear when we will be able to experience “normal” as we knew it ever again. Even if your inner circle is not physically close to you, embracing them will not only bring you back to your friends but also to yourself. By reaching out to those far away from us, we are able to look past our current circumstances and gain perspective. When I hung up from these long video calls, I did not feel sad. Instead, I felt reassured that there would be another time I could be amongst those who truly know me again. And that’s the essence of friendship. While I can’t say when the next time will be, I know that even from a different country, I can count on them and they can count on me.