A Friend Beyond Distance

Living a few provinces away from your closest friends brings a lot of emotions. My best friend and I have known each other for about nine years now and we’ve been inseparable since the day we met. She moved from Toronto to Winnipeg about three  years ago, so three years is how long we’ve been living away from one another. Adapting to having your friend move further away, or being the friend that moves away from other friends and family carries emotional difficulties. Relocating to another environment, the individual that is moving has to re-adjust to their surroundings and re-socialize themselves within a new community.

 

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Having a multitude of changes to adapt to in such a short period of time, these stressors can bring on a lot of struggles for the mover, especially with further distances between one’s old home and one’s new home. This may or may not be an added difficulty for the individual that is moving, but it can add hardships to the friendship. The further an individual moves from their friend, the harder it’s going to be for them to reunite.

 

The specific situation that the moving friend is experiencing can be a factor that determines the level of difficulty that the relationship faces. If they have decided to move to a place that’s far away and they don’t know anyone in the area they are moving to, the added difficulties for the mover include figuring out how to navigate themselves and finding new people to connect with in this new environment.

 

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There are also individual factors such as how confident and secure they feel regarding being on their own or away from their old home. These personal stressors that the mover is facing can create some challenges within the friendship. There may be feelings of resentment if the mover was forced to relocate, or bitterness towards the mover as it may seem like they are abandoning their friend.

 

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The distance can make it difficult to physically be there for each other and connect. Each individual’s adjusting lifestyles may not have time to accommodate regular communication. Ultimately, these are additional hurdles that could be used for your friendship to prove its strength and define its new form. The ways in which a friend expresses their support and care must be adaptive to the changing circumstances if those involved want their friendship to stand its ground against the challenges of long distance. It is a challenge because the distance has created a barrier for your friendship, and you must now explore new avenues to express support and care for your friend.

 

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The friends will most likely develop altered and evolved identities for themselves within their individualized environments that can seem drastically different from who they were before. Willingness to continuously accept these differences and find opportunities to connect the aspects of their lives will create a new context for connections to be made. The new form that your friendship takes is actually an ongoing process that requires you to now build a new common ground for you to relate and connect with each other.

 

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This is challenging for multiple reasons, a prominent reason being that the time spent communicating together may become less frequent. Although finding the time to express thoughts and emotions with your friend may prove to be difficult, sharing the intimate details of our experiences with the people we cherish allows for our bonds to grow by giving us the opportunity to relate and understand. Although specific circumstances differ for friends who move away from each other, there is one commonality between all long-distance friendships.

 

When you become extremely close and connected to an individual, you can begin to depend on them and trust that they will be there to support you. In those moments where you expect that relying on them is an option because they have always been there for you before, after one friend has moved, you are now alone. Calling your best friend and having them come over right away is no longer a possibility. All that can be done is adapt to these ongoing changes or continue thinking about them, dwelling on the fact that they are no longer near, which can make yourself suffer deeply.

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That’s the harsh truth about long distance friendships. Adapting is essential because people naturally change and evolve; your best friend will inevitably be altered from the person you knew them as before. When two people consistently interact, it supports the expectations one has about the other, causing them to behave in ways that confirm these expectations. This is a cyclical process of expecting and behaving in response to those expectations. But after time has passed between time spent with your best friend, you may notice some things have changed while others will always remain the same.

 

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You will have to adapt to the changing personality of the individual you once knew and still love. But there is an understanding, support and trust that exceeds the distance of time and space. Feeling comfortable around them and caring for them is something that will most likely never change. But the way to show these feelings must be adaptive in order to eliminate the possibility of any animosity developing within the friendship. You don’t know the context of their life as intimately as you once did. Giving and receiving support, showing your friend that you still care about them and that you want to be there for them is the most meaningful way to maintain circumstances of long-distance friendships.

 

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