The vast majority of the time we choose to make friends out of proximity.
We become friends with the people who we live near, go to school with, or work with. The relationships we cultivate with our friends becomes strong and sustainable because we are able to see these other people often and regularly. The proximity to our friends and loved ones is something I believe most people take for granted.
But what happens when that proximity is taken away?
It is a huge adjustment from having the guarantee of seeing a friend on a regular basis to not having that security net in place. When we change schools, move to new places, get a new job, or leave any place the relationships that were formed because of that place are forced to evolve.
At a point of change relationships are tested to see if they are merely relationships of convenience due to proximity or if they are true friendships that will last and stand the test of not having regular occasions to see each other.
Some relationships will fade away and appear to be friendships that existed primarily due the proximity. But other relationships will hold strong and remain important.
Finding those friendships that remain strong despite some distance isn't easy. It takes work. You have to commit yourself to maintaining the relationship, to check in with the people who are most important.
I know sometimes when I do this sometimes I feel overbearing and worried that I may come across as though I need attention. But I want my friends to know they are important to me and that I am there for them, as I hope they will be there for me. Thankfully, with technology it is getting easier to keep in touch with friends who are not near. A text just saying hello, a snapchat of something funny that happened, or better yet, taking dedicated time to call or FaceTime to check in.
However, despite technology lending a hand in maintaining relationships, there is nothing better than spending time in person, face to face with friends who you no longer get to see all that often. But that face to face time makes you appreciate those friendships so much more.
Recently one of my closest friends from high school came home for a week and even though we only got to spend a matter of hours with each other I savored each one of them because being together after four months apart was something I was so grateful for.
Having friendships that are there because of proximity are great, but in my opinion it is the relationships that are able to stay strong despite long periods of separation that are the best.
It says a lot about a person if you are able to pick right up where you left off after spending time apart, it shows that they are committed. Having a friend who you can call out of the blue and know they'll pick up is a gift.
Distance and irregularity can make a friendship really special and meaningful. So, when you find yourself at a point when a friendship will not be one of proximity any more, take time to hold on to it and maintain it. Do not let it slip away because the routine of seeing someone consistently is gone. Fight for it, let the other person know you're still out there. When possible, make the journey to see the other person and take time out of your schedule to have in person time together.
Don't turn a proximity friendship into a digital one, make it into a lasting friendship than transcends any distance of physical space or time.