McCray: Long-distance friendship

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In the world we live in, people are more likely to travel for education and jobs. It is important to know how to maintain friendships and relationships across the miles.

What can one learn from a long-distance friendship?

I’ve learned to trust, to keep commitment and have independence. I have communicated with a long-distance friend for the past seven years. I have personally experienced a roller coaster ride of emotions from having anxiety of not seeing them in years to realizing and enjoying the time to take care of myself.

I remember my mom telling me a quote by Elizabeth Gilbert when I was a child: “When it comes to women, get your life together first. Put on your own oxygen mask first. Figure out who you are. Mature. And then go find somebody to share that life with.”

This quote can apply universally.

Trust is a difficult thing for anyone to achieve, especially when you might not see that person regularly, because you are opening a door to areas of your life to another person. Being able to trust someone is rewarding when you both can talk about anything with each other, from the highlights to the low-lights of life. In building trust, you learn to let go of expectations and allow what will be to be. I’ve realized that I am only responsible for holding up my part of the friendship and the other person has to meet me half way.

We live in an age where technology has taken over our lives. A benefit to technology is that it gives one the capability to keep commitments in relationships by keeping in contact with one another. You are able to reach out regularly, at least once a week via text, email or instant message.

Technology aside, one can hand-make a gift to a friend. A great example is writing a physical letter every so often, which is a nice gesture from the heart. You can also send your friend a care package, with their favorite snacks, books, music, etc. I’ve personally sent written letters to my friend. I feel like I have put more of my own time and effort towards this friendship. I even included drawn pictures from time to time. I also sent cards on holidays and birthdays.

A benefit of a long distance friendship is that you learn to be independent, which is also known as having “me time.” Everyone needs a little bit of time for themselves, like developing new friendships, jobs and a social life.

Often in interpersonal relationships, one party will prioritize the interests of the other over their own. Make sure that you make time to take care of yourself. For me, “me time” can be relaxing with a cup of hot tea or practicing yoga and mediation.

All in all, a long-distance friend and relationships can be rich and rewarding when you approach with the right attitude.

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