It’s never easy to say goodbye to your friends. It’s hard enough keeping up with friends when they live in the same town as you, everyone has different schedules, different situations in life and problems they encounter now, try adding in miles and time changes to all of these different circumstances. It’s not an easy feat to keep up these relationships, but it’s also not impossible as long as you want it and so do they.
I feel I have to explain myself a little bit, why do I know so much about long distance relationships, why should anyone listen to me about this? Well, I’ll tell you why. These are my credentials:
Hi, my name is Lex. I’m a writing arts major at Rowan University
I’ve lived in three different states, for varying degrees of time.
New Jersey, California and Texas.
New Jersey has been the longest stint since my parents are both from NJ and I was born in NJ, I liked in NJ for a total of about 17 years. California was a little under 6 years, and Texas was just under 2.
These places are not only different from a geographical and time standpoint, but also from a cultural perspective. I’ve had to learn to connect with other people from different places with different ideologies and tendencies and speech patterns and somehow was still able to cultivate and grow friendships and romantic relationships with these people. This was a point of interest for some of my friends. “You’re the weird Joisey girl, do you know anyone in the mob? Is your life like the Sopranos? In fact, my mother is Italian, but that doesn’t mean we’re in the mob. No, my life is not an Italian Drama. These are icebreakers though, that helped me make friends, even if it was because these people initially thought I was weird. I liked to take their curiosity and spin it in a positive way. This became my theme wherever I moved, I gathered this “other” information that everyone thought was interesting. In Texas people asked me, “If I knew any famous people.” No. When I move back to New Jersey, people asked, “Is everyone in California Vegan/Vegetarian?” No, of course not. People would ask, “Is everyone in Texas religious? No, but there are A LOT of churches, mostly christian in denomination, there wasn’t a lot of variety, at least where I lived. This made for good conversations. Now, how does this help you guys? Well, without the introduction of technology into these relationships, I don’t think they would’ve lasted. How can someone keep up a relationship when there’s miles and miles between people?
1. Video Chat (in, Skype/Facetime)
This is probably the best way to talk to someone if you’re far away. This provides a personal connection, face to face contact and almost feels like the person on the other end is really there. This was my method to talk to my friend Johnny and my girlfriend, Stef when we did long distance. It’s a good way to talk about big life events or complicated problems without having to write out a long, email or text. It’s the feeling of “being there” or “being included” even if you’re thousands of miles away. It’s more direct, and feels more like hanging out than a phone call or texting. There’s less room for delay and distractions. There’s an immediacy that is important that the other mediums just don’t allow for as much. Skype requires time though, the ability to sit down for awhile and talk, that’s why the next tip is also just as important.
Texting and/or calling is good for basics, hi/how are you?, General Greetings, things like that. Daily happenings, but not huge events or problems that require more talking about. It’s obviously an option to discuss issues over text, but it’s not really preferred because of how long it takes to text and things can get lost in translation that might not have happened over in person or Skype calling. Texting is good if you’re on the move though, you’re at work, or a party or school and shooting a simple, “hey” or “what’s up” is easier than sitting down for a long call. There’s more practicality to it, an ease but it doesn’t always do the job when an huge life issues comes up and you’re fingers are cramping because of how fast you’re trying to type. I get it, I’ve been there. But sometimes that is the only option in the moment. Texting is so useful for keeping up with friends and partners because it keeps them in your day. They are apart of what happened and you guys can share your lives this way and it can keep people close as long as the parties are willing.
3. Facebook/Messenger/Other Apps
The first thing my California friends made me do before I left was make a Facebook. I was 16 a sophomore in high school, in an age where it seemed literally everyone had a Facebook and I didn’t. My grandma even made one before me, I find that pretty sad even today. Anyway,
It was a whole thing, my friend Audrey had a DSLR, we thought she was the absolute. shit. because of it (she kind of was, what 16 year old is that lucky?), and we went to a few locations and shot photos for my new profile picture like we were shooting a film or I was a model ((Link Picture))the picture still exists on Facebook today). I wasn’t ever too into Facebook then and truth be told while I do use it more now then I did then, it’s still not a huge part of my life. Social Media for me isn’t really something I need to do, it’s something I like to do, if I remember and have time. It did turn out though that Facebook helped me keep in contact with my friends, and that made all the difference. We still talk through texting and Skype but Facebook, made that transition easier at the beginning. It’s also a good way to talk in a group if everyone has messager, because often people will have all kinds of different phones, and this keeps everyone included in the conversations. Another App that is good for that is GroupMe, the app doesn’t discriminate according to phone in group chats. My friends and I have a GroupMe, just for posting memes.
The biggest and most obvious tip is just simply just communicate. Putting forth the effort though isn’t always easy, and everyone involved should know that, but it’s easy to have hurt feelings when there’s so much distance between. Make sure you know and they know that you appreciate them and care about them. They are important to you, so tell them. No one is going to be upset by you saying how much they mean to you. This step is the one that seems the simplest, but getting complacent is never a good thing. Great relationships go down the tubes when someone stops saying how much they appreciate someone.
Overall, it’s not a fun experience to be so far away from the people you care about, but I hope these tips make how you deal with the situation easier.