Thank You, Friend

Isn’t it amazing how a single person can make such an impact on our lives?

I met one of my best friends, Ana, when I was 13 years old at a boarding school in Minnesota. We have been friends for almost 10 years now and our friendship means everything to me. However, she lives in Mexico City. Long distance friendship is not easy and sometimes, there are moments where we have little to no communication with each other. We have our own lives and things get busy - I understand that. But anytime something exciting or dramatic happens in my life, she is one of the first people I want to share it with. Ana has taught me how friendships can endure distance and continue to blossom into something beautiful and strong, despite all of the miles (or kilometers) separating us.  

Since this is my senior year and I’ll be going to graduate school far from Kansas City; I’ve been getting a little emotional, especially when thinking about the friends I’ve made during college. Not that I have any doubts about them, but because I don’t want the distance to diminish our friendship. I also don’t want my friends to forget about me. It’s hard because most of my friends will stay in Kansas City for a couple more years and I’m the only one leaving. I know that growth and change are natural in a friendship, but sometimes I’m afraid that our lives will become too different and we won’t have the same connection that we do now. But remembering how Ana and I are able to maintain our friendship for so long and so far away from each other gives me hope that I will have these people in my life forever.

Something important to remember about long-distance friendship is to not think of communication as a chore even though it can sometimes feel that way. So it’s okay if you don’t talk to your friends every day, or even every week. Just occasionally let them know when you’re thinking of them - memes are honestly very helpful. I’m always so giddy when my friends send me random puppy videos or tag me in the posts of instafamous Asian children. It keeps the friendship spicy...because platonic friendships need spice as much as romantic relationships!

These days, people don’t really call each other much. But I’ve found that hearing a friend’s voice is so much nicer than reading a text message because it makes you feel like you’re actually together. If you can’t facetime or call, recording voice memos is a nice alternative. It’s much easier than typing it all out. I’m not going to lie, it’s a little weird and awkward recording your voice, but it is so worth it!

Writing letters is another way to stay connected with your friends. A handwritten letter is so special, especially for a sentimental person like me. A letter feels much more personal and it really shows how much you care when you take the time to hand write something. I find that rereading letters from friends is comforting and can really cheer you up when you’re missing them.

Time and money can make visiting each other pretty tough, but if you have the opportunity to visit your friend, take it! I’ve been able to visit Ana in Mexico several times and last summer, I visited her in Australia while she was studying abroad and these trips have definitely made us closer. The thing about true friendship is that even when you haven’t seen each other for long periods of time, you’re still able to talk like you were never apart. And that’s honestly the best feeling in the world.

Recently, I have been forcing my friends to take derpy selfies everywhere we go just for the memories. They hate it (but secretly love it). I’ve been getting so emotional because these people have been there for me through the most difficult times, the sad times, the good times and the wild times. I don’t want to be away from them! So, I’ve been trying to embrace the time I have left and spend as much of it with them as possible.

Distance truly tests a friendship. But I know that the people I am closest to will be there through it all. As my undergraduate experience nears the end, I find myself doing a lot of reflection over the past four years and I want to thank all of my friends who have made this time in my life, the best years thus far.

Thank you to my friends who make plans to study together so that we can simply be in each other’s presence.

Thank you to my friends who leave me extremely long voice memos over text to update me on their lives and internal dilemmas.

Thank you to my friends who listen to all of the rants and drama of my life. You are true heroes.

And thank you, Ana, for teaching me what it means to be a good friend and that these kinds of friendships are worth the effort.

I feel so full of love being surrounded by the most caring and inspiring people of my life. And I know that wherever I end up, these people will be there to support me through it all - despite the distance. So remember that as you, too, move on to new places and things, the friendships you have now are worth holding on to.