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5 things to remember when in a long distance friendship

Updated: Aug 25, 2020

Since coronavirus is in the business of separating people, I thought i'd share my experiences with long distance friendships that may relate to this global situation.

You'll be surprised but sometimes you'll live in the same city as your friends but feel like it's a long distance relationship.

At 16 years old, my family moved to Buenos Aires, Argentina for 2 years and my friends went from being 4 stops away on the train, to being 14 hours away on a plane. Suddenly, things changed and my first instinct was to work hard to keep in the loop of what was happening at home in London.

Honestly, the advice from the school guidance counsellor, that 'it's harder for the Argentine students to be friends with you, because they have to deal with people constantly leaving' didn't help either. It made me clutch onto the idea that I had to make it work with my friends from London.

But after my first visit home since the move, my friendships had fallen into two groups; the ones who would Skype and text me regularly or the ones who wanted to meet up only when I was back in the city and it was convenient.

After my experience in Argentina, in the back of my mind I always considered which group my friendships would fall into. But sometimes this meant I didn't put in the effort, especially when the distance or time changed the relationship.

So I've broken down 5 things that have stuck with me, even after almost 10 years since that first move to Argentina.

1. Solitude isn't the enemy, it can be therapeutic.

Firstly before thinking of being there for others, you must be there for yourself.

Whether it is because of the coronavirus quarantine, or taking a chance to live abroad, or moving a little further away in the same country, you will face solitude.

But don't fear it and fill it with just anything, use it to learn about what you actually like without anyone's influence.

2. Keep doing what you like to do together, or at least make the effort.

Honestly, there are so many things you can do together using technology. Watch a movie together, cook, eat and drink together, workout together, or start a new hobby together.

You can even send voice notes everyday to each other.

It seems simple, but remembering to keep doing what you like to do can be clouded by just trying to make time for it.

Always be honest of how you feel, you may not always want to do something just because it's available to you virtually.

3. Remember you have a life, they have a life, everybody is going through things.

I know, I know, we often have our phone in our hands, so we assume we should get an instant response. But sometimes we open a message, read it and then do something else and forget to come back to it until later.

Just as you have to balance, work, family, hobbies, so do they. But this is when putting in effort makes all the difference.

If you find yourself feeling as though you have more time to give, even after understanding they are busy, you may need to remember point 1. Learn to prioritise your needs and your commitments first.

4. Share more than usual - the boring things, the things you don't think they'll understand.

Communication becomes key, when distance is in the middle. You don't have to talk all day everyday, but talk more when you are happy, frustrated, excited or angry.

They don't see your day to day, so they won't always remember whose on your team or what you were working towards, so take the time to just catch up on it all and listen.

Don't beat around the bush - if it feels like it's draining, talk to them and see what you both can change.

5. Sometimes friendships only work because of proximity.

There are friends you know you will only go to *blank* together or because you see them regularly at work and you only talk about work. THAT'S OK, it's important to understand the difference.

Sometimes, the distance or time apart can change the nature of the relationship. It may be a stronger relationship when you are in the same place and can talk about the things you experience together.

One of my closest friends lives in Malaysia, which is an 8 hour time difference, we both work full time jobs but we always make the effort to check in on each other. It really can be that simple.

Don't let the distance stop you from trying, a true friend will show up for you the best way they can.

If you know what it's like? or are feeling it now with Coronavirus.

Share your tips.

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