Why It's Important To Hold Onto Long Distance Friendships

The term “long distance” always seems to be considered with a negative connotation. And maybe it’s true, long distance relationships don’t seem to have a very high success rate, but the same does not have to be true for long distance friendships. As we head into the holidays, it seems almost natural to fall back into your high school friendships and close friends from home, but this brief period of time to reconnect does not have to be the only time you talk to these friends.  

Being a young adult now means that we have a world of technology available to us to hold onto these friendships. It’s almost an expectation that we continue our friendships now, since we are able to keep in near-constant communication across space and time. While you are away at college and make new friends, your old friends are the ones who can understand things about you that your newer friends just might not get, no matter how close you become to them. Especially in difficult times, your older friends may be able to provide a better support system because they know you “better” in a lot of ways. You older friends will also be there to reminisce on the good times and remind you of who you used to be, taking you back to those special moments.  

Long distance friendships may be difficult, but the benefits far outweigh the struggle. Sure, they may require a little more effort than the new friendships you may have with the people that are closer to you in proximity, but that does not make them not worth it.  

To maintain your long distance friendships, you need to put in the effort.  While you may still be Facebook friends or follow each other on Instagram, social media is not enough. You need more than just passive likes and story views to maintain a friendship. Pick up the phone and call your friends before the holidays and make plans to spend time with them.

You need more than just the memories of what you used to do to be in a long distance friendship.  An active friendship requires more than just nostalgic recollections of that one funny sleepover story from three years ago.  It is important to spend time face to face with your friends to renew that friendship and help continue creating new memories. To keep an active friendship, you should also keep your long distance friends updated and exchange information about what is going on in everyone's lives. Use in-person visits and phone calls to dive past surface level small talk and move beyond past interactions.

Finally, don’t be afraid to talk about the hard stuff and argue with each other. If you bury down upset feelings and avoid confronting your long distance friends, that distance will only seem to grow as your friendship fades away.  Most people don’t want to argue with their long distance friends because of the limited amount of time available to talk or socialize, but this isn’t what you should be doing.  Avoiding the hard conversations is taking away the communication that allowed your friendships to form in the first place and as we grow, being honest about our opinions is what really makes a difference.