Managing Long-Distance Friendships

I am a girl with high hopes so I’m sure you can imagine when I heard we would be fully remote last semester; I was a bit devastated. The real sadness hadn’t hit me until I started feeling alone because all of my high school friends were leaving for college miles away. I think, for the most part, it was really hard but I learned a lot about myself and being alone which is something I don’t regret. Here are some of the things I learned: 

Sometimes it felt like life was moving faster than I could process.

One moment I was laughing at the park with my friends while we had a picnic and the next, I was the only one here. Sure, we would call sometimes but my friends were so distracted by their roommates or their own drama that they didn’t really listen to what I wanted to say. This was difficult to come to terms with, but I realized that I needed to take the opportunity to focus on myself because that’s the only person that could give me her full attention.

Not all of my friendships will be as close they had always been.

A few friends of mine that would text the whole summer before they went to college stopped texting me as much. When I say this, I don’t mean that they totally ghosted because I know they were really busy. It was just hard to understand because I always wanted them to be close even if they were at college. When I talked to my mom about this she told me “Gracie, not everyone is going to have the time and desire to maintain the friendship that you have and you have to learn to be okay with that.” So, I did. Slowly I started to realize that I did the same and I ended up feeling like I had a much better understanding of why things were changing.

Some of my friends who went to college still remained super close.

I have a best friend and she goes to college about an hour and a half from my house. While she wasn’t very close in distance, she always kept in contact. She gave me hope that I wasn’t totally alone while everyone was living their best lives at college because in reality, most if not all of my friends at college were struggling. To this day, we keep each other updated and she comes home for the holidays so I will see her then. 

I had more time to focus on finding myself and what I like to do.

During my free time since I wasn’t calling or spending a lot of time with friends, I took the time to get back into my love of fashion by updating my wardrobe a little bit and creating Pinterest boards for my favorite styles. I also had more time with my family: now we have Saturday board game nights which get super fun with all the competition and snacks.  

All in all, I’m not happy that I had to manage long-distance friendships, but I’m very grateful for the lessons I’ve learned from doing more things on my own.

They all come back around Thanksgiving or mid-December and I know we’ll connect again, it was just understanding that things were different for the time being that I struggled with. Now, I have the perspective of being home to apply to my spring semester on campus, and I’ll be a better friend and person for it.