There are plenty of cards and movies on the joyful bonds connected to friendship, but so much of those focus on ease. These best friends have a house you can walk or drive to, will go with you to any event and will come over after a life catastrophe just to put a smile on your face. Overall, both of you are always on standby for the other.
However, this definition hinges on the lack of distance. It is not that difficult to be there for someone when you can physically be there whenever they need you. When you’re separated more than that, whether it be a few hours or a few countries, things change even if the label doesn’t. Moving away from your best friend doesn’t mean they are out of your life for good, it just means you have to be friends differently. It is not easy, but it is not impossible to preserve that friendship if you put in the work.
One major thing that happens when two people becomes best friends is the creation of memories. You spend a lot of time together, and even when they’re not with you physically, you know what they are up to. Maybe you’ve hung out with their other friends, or third-wheeled a date with their significant other. Maybe you’ve cheered them on at a soccer game or poetry reading, or been a guest at one of their work parties. The point is, you’ve been a firsthand witness to all the other pieces of their life outside of your relationship.
However, if you are separated long term, that point of view shrinks. Suddenly, you don’t know every aspect of their lives, only the part that includes you. The key is to make sure the other one knows you’re still invested. For example, make sure your conversations don’t just include a laundry list of stuff you’re “supposed to ask/say”. You have to move forward and continue to strengthen the friendship.
In other words, find new ways to have what you’ve always had. For example, I visit my best friend three times a year and vice versa. We make new memories instead of hashing on the old ones we miss so much.
Even if you and your friend are the kind of duo who fell into mutual platonic love at first sight, keeping the friendship alive across so many miles won’t be nearly so effortless as getting it started. Also, no matter how many ways you communicate technologically, nothing beats seeing them face-to-face. Yes, it is more expensive and more of a hassle than Facetime, but it is worth it in the long run.
Lastly, always make sure your best friend knows they are important to you. In some ways, treat it like a long distance romantic relationship. Text them in the morning, tell them you love them and keep them informed on your life.
I have experienced this pain personally. My best friend decided to further her life in New York, and it truly broke my heart. I decided to make the effort to keep this strong friendship alive, however. There are Facetime calls every day, and she never fails to continue to give me advice. I also plan on going to New York to see her over Thanksgiving and Christmas. I am begging every student on this campus that has gone through this experience to not let these people fade from your life. The hard work is so worth it.
Long distance may be one of the hardest things I and many others have faced, but it is possible. Don’t lose your soulmate of a best friend over a few miles.
Dedicated to Haley Tompkins.
Written by Savannah Oliver, Campus Life Editor. Photo Courtesy of Pixabay.
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