Distance is hard on any type of relationship. Even if the distance between two people isn't monumental, it can still put a strain on their relationship. How do we make up for the distance? Phone calls, texts, video chats, occasional visits and surprise gifts in the mail are typically the ways we stay connected to those we can't spend time with whenever we want. What do you do when you want to do more than just talk, though? Sure, you could stream a movie together or talk about a show you've both been watching, but that isn't really a bonding experience for most people. For me, most of these things don't help me feel connected to the other person. While these are all fun and easy things to do with someone, they lack personality. Distance seems to prevent us from doing things we love and sharing a personal experience with others.
My boyfriend and I are currently in a long-distance relationship. We don't live several hours away from each other or live in different time zones. We aren't even in different states. We live just far enough away and have specific enough circumstances to prevent us from seeing each other whenever we'd like. So how do we deal with the distance? Obviously, we communicate on a daily basis, but we also spend time bonding over something we both love: video games. It may seem silly or insignificant, but it helps so much. Being able to spend time exploring a fictional world, making progress on something and being able to see the other person's character creates such a connection for me. Knowing that another person is controlling the other character makes the distance seem much smaller and bearable. Of course, talking to my boyfriend helps with that, too, but I absolutely love being able to do something that we both enjoy with him.
Video games have helped me with long-distance friendships, as well. After graduating college and having to leave my best friends, I struggled with ways to stay close to them and things we could do together even though we couldn't physically be together. Being able to play games online with everyone I miss helps so much.
Even if it's just a simple Facebook game or an app from the App Store, I strongly recommend games as a form of connection and bonding, distance or no distance. It's one thing to talk to someone and be able to see a familiar face looking back at you through a screen, but it's another thing entirely to be able to come together and play a game with someone who seems far away. Although being together physically isn't a possibility, being able to do the same thing at the same time while being apart makes the distance instantly seem irrelevant.