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Growing up as a military child, managing long distance relationships has always been a huge part of my life. Whether it be keeping in touch with relatives or friends, maintaining close ties with someone across the country, or even across the globe, is not easy. I have lost countless friends and strained a lot of relationships because of distance, but I have also kept some really amazing people in my life despite it.

One of the biggest obstacles for people is becoming comfortable with not talking to someone all the time. When I moved away from my very first best friend, we used to call each other all the time. Sadly, as time passed, we both became very busy and lived entirely separate lives. We slowly started talking less and less, and we were never able to bounce back from that. With my current best friends, however, we can go days without talking to each other, and our relationship will still be as strong. The difference between now and then is that my friends and I don’t have the need to talk all the time – we understand that life gets busy. We don’t become uncomfortable or lose our natural cadence if we go some time without talking.

That being said, it’s still really important to make time to talk to each other. For example, whenever I find some free time in between classes and don’t want to study, I’ll give one of my best friends a call. Sometimes, it’s easier to have a scheduled time to talk. There’s a 15 hour time difference between my mother and I, so it’s easier for us to have a set time to video call, which is every Saturday night. This way, even if I haven’t been able to talk much with the people in my life throughout the week, we still have the opportunity to update each other on our lives and just sit and talk.

Another hard part is simply missing the other person. As hard as it is, there is no definite way to fix this, especially if you went from seeing each other everyday to not seeing each other at all. Sometimes, it’s comforting just to hear their voice or see their face. Other times, it’s not enough, and you miss their actual physical company. When I start feeling like that, the best thing I can do is just let myself miss them. There’s nothing wrong with feeling negative things. Of course, this might not work for everyone, so it might be better to just distract yourself or perhaps meet up with a friend you have in the city.

That brings up my next point: make friends wherever you live. It’s very easy to find yourself feeling lonely or, like I said, missing people, and having a friend you can hang out with helps a lot. Even if you don’t feel up to going out, just knowing that the option is there can be a big comfort. Finding new friends doesn’t mean you’re replacing your other ones!

This isn’t a very extensive list about ways to handle long distance, but I hope some of the things I mentioned may help you or at least provide you with some comfort that long distance is completely possible. I haven’t seen one of my best friends in roughly five years, but we’re still as close as ever. It takes some work on both ends, and each relationship involves its own unique difficulties, but distance doesn’t have to be the end.

Cristina is a freshman majoring in Psychology (BA) at UT Austin. She loves people, animals, and anything cute! In her free time, you can find her practicing the piano or huddled up in her bed watching Hulu.
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