Distance makes the heart grow fonder…right? Most often people refer to this statement when talking about their “significant others,” but I believe this holds just as much truth, if not more, for friendships. The first time that I experienced the whole “long-distance friendship” thing was coming to college. Leaving home meant starting a new journey, but also leaving a past one behind. While I was ready to start a new chapter in my life, I couldn’t exactly close the last one because the people in it were pretty awesome. I knew the change was coming, but I didn’t exactly know how it would all pan out. Here is what I’ve learned:
Every friendship varies. You may have a friend that you talk to every day. You may have a friend you talk to once every few weeks. Or maybe you have the friend that you only reconnect with on holiday or summer breaks. Just know that because you have different frequencies with different friends, it doesn’t mean your relationship with them is of any less value to the both of you. Instead of comparing friendships, focus on the unique one at hand.
The more you put in into it, the more you get out. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to talk to them more, but rather focus on the main meaning of your friendship. So you don’t talk every day? That’s okay. Understand that your friendship is beyond that and stronger than that. Appreciate that after months apart, you can sit down talking for hours as if nothing has changed. The more you put into that time together, or in communicating, the more your friendship will grow and it will be that much stronger.
Remember to turn to them during the positive times in your life, too. Often times this is the hardest aspect of long-distance friendships. It is so easy and normal to call your friend when things get hard. When the tough stuff happens and you need comfort and support it’s so automatic to turn to them. Absolutely continue having them as your support system, but don’t forget to fill them in on the good. Call them when you get an A on your chemistry exam or text them when you feel excited about a boy. Remember to share the positives in your life too, because there’s nothing better than sharing your happiness and excitement with a friend.
Check in with them randomly. Sometimes it’s hard to find the time to go over every new detail in your life, and quite frankly, it’s impossible to explain it all over text. Know that you can have a quick, couple-message conversation with them. Sending a text as simple as “Thinking of you! Hope you have a wonderful day!” or writing a letter wishing them a good semester goes a lot further than you think. These simple and easy actions are great ways to reassure your love for them.
Value your time together. Though the time together may be limited and less frequent, it doesn’t make it any less valuable. Utilize your time together. Make sure you are truly engaging and involving yourself in their life. Ask questions about their life, share stories and do something fun together. Put your phone away and focus on the time together because it’s limited and so, so important in maintaining your friendship.
Long-distance friendships aren’t always easy and do take a great amount of work, but they are extremely worth it nonetheless. Looking at all of the people in my life, I realize that I am extremely blessed to have so many long-distance friends. After understanding and appreciating the new norm of my friendships, I’ve been assured that the friendships I maintain, no matter the distance, are the friendships I’ll have for life.
To my long-distance friends, I love you all!