The Reality of Long-Distance Friendships

In my 19 years of life, I have moved to four different states and six different cities. Each time I move, I try to stay in touch with all my friends but I’ve learned that’s an unrealistic goal. I tend to consistently keep up with two or three close friends after I move, but even that can be difficult. When I was young, I remember writing letters to friends after I moved because I missed them so much and didn’t want to face the fact that I had to make all new friends, a stressful process for an extremely shy kid. Some friends wrote back, others didn’t, and over time, I stopped writing letters once I had assimilated to whatever city I was living in.

Social media became a huge influence in my life when I turned 12 and found out I was moving across the country from Lexington, Massachusetts to Seattle, Washington. I was old enough that the friends I had made were genuine and we had grown very close. I had also been living in Lexington for four years, longer than anywhere I had lived in the past and so I didn’t want to lose these strong friendships. I convinced my mom to let me get a Facebook and although I posted many questionable things at the time (as any 12-year-old with access to social media would do), it allowed me to keep up with many more friends than I had been able to in the past.

While this allowed me to virtually keep up with almost everyone from my middle school (I’m not sure I’d recommend that), I still only consistently kept up with a tight-knit group of girls via text and Skype. To this day, I still consider these girls some of my closest friends and now that I go to school on the East Coast again, we see each other more often. What I learned from this experience at such a young age is that friendship is a two-way street. It takes two to tango and if both sides don’t make an equal effort then it’s not going to work. I used to get so upset when I lost friends after moving but what I realized later is that they weren’t real friends to begin with.  

Graduating from high school and going off to college showed me again that you’ll only keep in contact with a few people. When I graduated high school, I had a close group of friends and we all promised nothing would change just because we were all going off to different schools. At the time, I wanted to believe this because I couldn't imagine life without them. However, who you are in high school isn't necessarily who you’ll be in college. Your identity is not rigid. New experiences will change you and that’s okay; you are allowed to mature and change. Just like you’re maturing, so are your friends. You’ll all make new friends, and come into your own during and after college.

Letting go of old friends who don’t align with who you’ve become is healthy, and, even though it can be difficult, it’s necessary. People are meant to continually evolve!

 

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