A Guide to Long Distance Friendships

I’m extremely grateful to have such an amazing and supportive group of friends. They’re the people that bring out the best in me; the people that make up my best memories. But unfortunately, they’re also the people that live hundreds of miles away from me.

I think a lot of the time we tend to only consider long distance relationships with a significant other as the only long distance relationships that are out there, but long distance friendships are just as real, and they can feel just as bad. The two have their obvious similarities, such as not physically being around the person you miss the most, but the most significant difference between the two is that there is nothing romantic or intimate attached to a long distance friendship. There is nothing more to the idea of simply longing for the genuine good company of your best friend.

Long distance means that everything always turns into a constant countdown. When you’re apart from your best friend, you count down the days until you both see each other again. When you’re together, the daunting feeling of when you have to say your goodbyes is always in the back of your mind. It’s a constant back and forth between sheer excitement and unsettling sadness.

The worst part about a long distance friendship is that it just isn’t as easy to be there for your best friend as it used to be. Before, if your best friend was having a crisis, something as short as a 10 minute drive was what kept you apart from talking everything out and eating loads of ice cream together. Now, hundreds of miles separate the two of you from each other’s company. It hurts you just as much as it hurts them when you can’t physically be there for them at their lowest points, and it’s just as unfortunate when you can’t physically be there for them at their highest points. The person you want to share and celebrate good news with is just so far away, and when something goes well for either of you, a congratulatory hug is impossible because of the distance between you two.

Saying that long distance is difficult is an understatement, but amongst all of the emotional obstacles, there’s somehow something good that comes out of it all. The time apart means that there’s always something to look forward to because you know you’ll see each other soon. There’s always someone who’s thinking of unconventional ways of “being there” without actually “being there” in ways such as sending letters in the mail, scheduling Skype calls, or keeping up a streak on Snapchat. There is constant effort and care coming from both sides in order to keep the friendship alive. You’re reminded that your friendship is genuine and true because it overcomes distance.

I’ve learned that anything long distance means that you’re much more appreciative of that person when you’re finally physically in their company. Every laugh and cheesy joke and anything else that was once overlooked turns into a cherished moment of genuine gratitude of your best friend. Somehow, in the moments when you’re finally together, you pick up right where you left off, and you question if the time apart ever even happened. In those moments of bliss, you fully realize how lucky you are to have someone so special to miss, and you’re reminded that the long wait was and always will be worth it.

 

Photo credit: Cover, 1, 2, 3