Long Distance Friendships Don't Have To Be Hard, They Just Have To Be Worth It

Long Distance Friendships Don't Have To Be Hard, They Just Have To Be Worth It

Some people are in your life for a season, and others for a reason.
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“Some people are in your life for a season, and others for a reason”

The quote above holds a lot of truth in my mind. In my 19 years on this planet, I’ve interacted with hundreds of people. The friends that I have acquired and lost throughout the years have all impacted my life in some way. While they were in my life, my naive mind thought they would stay with me forever. As I grew up, changed, and moved away from places, I realized that some people simply are not meant to stay in your life. Everyone changes and has to part ways eventually; everyone except those who are willing to stay in your life and actually make the effort to stay in touch, even when you are 1,000 miles from each other.

After 8th grade, I moved away from the sunny state of Florida, to the chilly garden state of New Jersey. At first, I stayed in contact with my friends back home, but after my Freshman year in high school, those connections fizzled out. This experience made think that the distance was to blame for the end of these friendships.

Three years went by in Jersey. I became friends with so many incredible people and immersed myself our Mock Trial team, easily becoming close to my teammates. My school was a safe haven from the rest of the world because I had amazing friends; friends who I could tell actually cared and wanted the best for me. My theory was proven at the end of my Junior year, when I announced that I was moving back to South Florida that summer, after my mother told me she had found a great job back home.

My friends, who had gone from being my acquaintances, to being the best friends I had ever had, showed me unconditional support, even though they were saddened by the news. They all knew how much I loved Florida and how much I yearned to return. I’ll be honest, when the car parked in that New Jersey street for the first time, I wanted a one way flight back, but when I looked at my friends three years later as I told them the news, I wanted to stay right where I was.

The school year ended and it was time to say goodbye. I don’t think anything has hurt me more than parting ways with the girls who had shaped my high school experience and had grown with me throughout the turbulent years. Each goodbye was different but they all had some things in common: tears were shed and words of love and appreciation were shared.

One of my friends came over to my house and handed me an envelope. When I opened it, I found a piece of green nylon and a picture of my friend and I. The item had come from a parachute that we had each cut a piece from during a school assembly. A veteran had spoken to us about how he had been packing parachutes for soldiers, and one day, years later, he met a man whose parachute he had packed.

He told us that we all have someone who packs our parachute; someone who does all they can to hold us up and keep us from crashing to the ground. At the assembly, I remember my friend saying, “I know exactly who to give this to.”

I figured she would give it to her mom or dad, having no idea she felt that I had done so much for her. That was the moment where I learned that people change people and that some people are in your life for a reason. Some help you, some need your help, and some give as much as they take. My friends definitely fit into the last category. We were always there for each other and continue to be there. They changed my life for the better.

These girls were not only in my life for the time that I lived in Jersey. Two years have passed and we continue to text each other everyday, call when we’re running errands, and facetime when we have things to say to each other that cannot be expressed through words on a screen.

Sometimes we are extremely busy with our different schedules, but that has never stopped any of us from communicating with each other every so often. Now that we are all in college, we are all split up in some way. We check up on one another to make sure we are doing well, and send memes and words of encouragement on our group chat as many times as we can.

This experience showed me that distance does not matter if a friendship is strong enough. If there is a foundation that was built properly and if people are willing to make the effort to talk, friendships won’t end all of a sudden.

Distance is annoying, but it is not as limiting as people seem to think, especially with all the technology available to us. Friends who want to stay in your life will find a way to stay, and after this, you will understand the reason why they remain there.

Cover Image Credit: Unsplash

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I'm The Girl Without A 'Friend Group'

And here's why I'm OK with it

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Little things remind me all the time.

For example, I'll be sitting in the lounge with the people on my floor, just talking about how everyone's days went. Someone will turn to someone else and ask something along the lines of, "When are we going to so-and-so's place tonight?" Sometimes it'll even be, "Are you ready to go to so-and-so's place now? Okay, we'll see you later, Taylor!"

It's little things like that, little things that remind me I don't have a "friend group." And it's been like that forever. I don't have the same people to keep me company 24 hours of the day, the same people to do absolutely everything with, and the same people to cling to like glue. I don't have a whole cast of characters to entertain me and care for me and support me. Sometimes, especially when it feels obvious to me, not having a "friend group" makes me feel like a waste of space. If I don't have more friends than I can count, what's the point in trying to make friends at all?

I can tell you that there is a point. As a matter of fact, just because I don't have a close-knit clique doesn't mean I don't have any friends. The friends I have come from all different walks of life, some are from my town back home and some are from across the country. I've known some of my friends for years, and others I've only known for a few months. It doesn't really matter where they come from, though. What matters is that the friends I have all entertain me, care for me, and support me. Just because I'm not in that "friend group" with all of them together doesn't mean that we can't be friends to each other.

Still, I hate avoiding sticking myself in a box, and I'm not afraid to seek out friendships. I've noticed that a lot of the people I see who consider themselves to be in a "friend group" don't really venture outside the pack very often. I've never had a pack to venture outside of, so I don't mind reaching out to new people whenever.

I'm not going to lie, when I hear people talking about all the fun they're going to have with their "friend group" over the weekend, part of me wishes I could be included in something like that. I do sometimes want to have the personality type that allows me to mesh perfectly into a clique. I couldn't tell you what it is about me, but there is some part of me that just happens to function better one-on-one with people.

I hated it all my life up until very recently, and that's because I've finally learned that not having a "friend group" is never going to be the same as not having friends.

SEE ALSO: To The Girls Who Float Between Friend Groups

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Don't Feel Bad For Me When I Say I'm In A Long-Distance Relationship

There's no need for anyone to say, "oh, that sucks" or "that's annoying" or "I don't know how you do it" because I really do love my relationship.

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When I first went out with my boyfriend, I wasn't expecting anything to come from it. He was in the Marines, stationed in South Carolina, and it was just a stupid Tinder date because I was bored and I thought he was funny and cute over Snapchat. Not only did he live an eight-hour drive away, but he was also heading out of the country for Christmas. I never thought I would ever hear from him again after I got into my car and drove back home.

But, I did, and a year and a half later, going on that coffee date was one of the best decisions I've ever made.

Right from the start, I knew if he and I were going to date, we would have to face a long-distance relationship for roughly two to three years- whether I finished school first or he got out of the military was up to fate. For us, being apart is normal. We're so used to talking through FaceTime rather than face to face and not seeing each other for weeks on end is more familiar than hugging. We've probably blown more kisses through the phone than having had real kisses.

Would I love to be just a minutes drive away from him?

Absolutely.

Would I trade my relationship for anything else?

Never.

There's no reason for you to feel bad for me when I tell you I'm in a long distance relationship.

There's no need for anyone to say, "oh, that sucks' or "that's annoying" or "I don't know how you do it" because I really do love my relationship.

Being away from each other is just something we do. It lets us be independent, focus on work and school, but still allows us to support each other. Sure, long-distance relationships aren't for everyone, but couples make them work. No relationship is normal and like every other relationship, it takes patience, learning, and commitment. The only difference between a 'normal' relationship and a long-distance relationship is is that our 'date nights' consist of eating dinner together over FaceTime instead.

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