How to do long distance friendships

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I’ve known one of my best friend, Zoe, for about 5 years now. Every single day, the distance between us becomes less painful and more endurable. Maybe it’s because we’ve had this obvious distance between us for such a long amount of time and we’ve become immune to it? Or maybe it’s because over the years we’ve just become stronger human beings and we make it work? I’ve listed some of the things that Zoe and I do to make our friendship work. Personally for us, these things work and in the last years, I’ve sensed us becoming closer and closer, and we’re at the point in our friendship where we’re inseparable.

  1. Text. “Oh Gloria, that’s such an obvious one,” yes yes I hear you but seriously, texting texting texting.  It helps. It has helped me and Zoe so much during our years of friendship. Before the days of iMessage, Zoe and I could only really talk through Tumblr posts and then it moved to Skype, and now, it’s texting and it’s great because I can text her from anywhere. As cheesy as it sounds, texting her makes me feel as though she is right here with me. Despite the distance, it’s Zoe that’s always been there and it’s her that I share my stories with and it’s her that’s always constantly there for me. I feel like texting has that effect: the effect of always having your friend there via text.
  2. Work around the time difference. The time difference between Sydney and Waikato isn’t the big (Zoe is 2 hours ahead of me) but it still does have an effect. If your friend doesn’t reply ASAP, don’t jump to conclusions and just remember that time difference will impact your friendship. I feel like Zoe and I aren’t always going “hey hey why didn’t you reply to my message? Are you ignoring me?” but rather we have come to a mutual understanding -we understand that sometimes we’re busy and sometimes the time difference gets in the way. We have a mutual understanding that I’m a full-time student and she’s a full-time worker who has crazy work hours so sometimes our replies are delayed but at the end of the day, we are always there for each other. 
  3. Do things together. “How does that even work, Gloria? It’s a long distance friendship -we’re not near each other to do things together.” Oh, but that’s where you’re wrong. Since there is that inevitable distance between you and your friend, you have to do things together because then it feels like you’re together. This is going to sound super cheesy but hey, it works for Zoe and I and we don’t need people judging our friendship. But, Zoe and I recently started reading some of the same books together. Zoe and I both have an undying love for reading and we recently started reading the same books and we gave each other some allocated time to finishing chapters. We usually aim to read 5 chapters a day and when we have done that, we talk about the chapters that we’ve read. This is something we recently started so we’re still getting the hang of it (Zoe works full time and I work and have uni), so there are days when we can’t read all the chapters so it always ends up with us waiting on each other. But that’s the fun of it!
  4. Send. This is just another element of how Zoe and I make things work and this isn’t necessarily something that you need to do. This is just another fun element to our friendship but we like to send each other gifts every now and then. Apart from the birthday and Christmas gifts, sometimes we send each other little surprises. I remember one time I was feeling pretty down and I was texting Zoe about it and then 3 weeks letter I received something in the mail. I remember being so confused and thinking, “I swear I didn’t buy anything online” and then I told Zoe about it and she was like, “it’s from me! I sent it to you because you were feeling a bit down the other week and I wanted to cheer you up.” That moment, I remember thinking, oh my gosh I have the most amazing best friend in the world. It’s not the fact that she sent me a gift but it’s the fact that even with the growing distance between us, she never fails to make me happy. Even with the distance between us, she does everything she can to make me feel better and to remind me that she’s always there for me.
  5. Skype. To be honest, Zoe and I don’t have many opportunities to skype because we have different schedules but in the earlier years of our friendship, we used to talk on skype a lot and we would voice call (in a group) and I remember sitting in bed with my friends, talking for hours and hours on Skype. It’s fun and it makes you forget that you don’t live in the same country as your friend.

This is a list that will continue to grow because I don’t see my friendship with Zoe ending at all and there will always be ways that Zoe and I will do to make our friendship work. I know, long distance friendships are painful because they’re there but not really. It’s painful because sometimes saying, “I wish I could give you a hug” doesn’t comfort you or your friend in any way, but it becomes a constant reminder that you’re not in the same country. But I truly think that making it work even with the distance is what makes a friendship stronger. If you survive the long distance then nothing can break the friendship. It only gets better from here.

(Love you, Zoe).

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