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We always hear about the struggles of long-distance relationships when it comes to dating, but being far from your best friend can be equally challenging, if not more.

For many of us, we met some of our best friends in high school and then ended up going to different colleges, often great distances apart. This is what happened with me and my best friend, Danielle. Despite the different schools and the distance, we’ve managed to stay best friends and only grow closer throughout our time apart, and are still best friends now as we near the end of our junior year of college. 

I think the first key to maintaining a friendship despite the distance is a mutual investment in the relationship. Some of my friendships from high school ended up fading because they became one-sided after we moved on to college. If both people aren’t putting in the same effort into keeping the friendship alive and thriving, it will most likely fizzle out and won’t be worth your time. If you and your friend are both committed to staying good friends, that’s already half the battle.

College can be super busy, and it can be easy to get distracted, but it’s important to check in on your friends regularly. Even if it’s not every day, my friend Danielle and I talk at least weekly about what’s going on in our lives. When something particularly exciting or bad happens to me, Danielle is still the first person I tell, even if it is through text or video chat. We also try to always have plans set to hang out and see each other when we are both home or when one of us can visit the other. These things to look forward to help keep the relationship feeling authentic and exciting. 

Like any strong relationship, friendships require honesty and forgiveness. Danielle and I lost friends in the past due to petty drama that could’ve easily been avoided if there had been better communication. Communicating becomes even more of a challenge when you can’t actually talk in person, but it is still definitely possible with some extra effort. We both try to make a conscious effort in our friendship, be honest with each other, and understand that every relationship will have ups and downs. By keeping open communication and being willing to move past disagreements, your friendships will build trust and grow stronger.

Encouraging and supporting each other is also crucial to maintaining a positive and meaningful connection. Danielle is my biggest supporter of literally every aspect of my life and always encourages me to take care of my mental health. She is also extremely supportive of other relationships in my life, like with my boyfriend, and I do the same for her. We both ultimately just want each other to be happy and continue to offer our care and support no matter where we are physically.

Friendship isn’t about spending every second of every day together. It’s about making the time you do spend together meaningful. While I do wish Danielle and I went to the same college, I know that no matter where Danielle and I end up, we will continue to be best friends because we continuously support and love each other through everything. 

Grace Martorano is a junior at Penn State studying Astronomy/Astrophysics. Outside of writing, Grace enjoys singing, loves the beach, and is a tour guide at PSU. You can find her on Instagram @grace.martorano
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