You had this idea in your head that you and your BFF would go to the same school, take the same classes and be roommates (#liveinbffs) for more than four years—for forever, really. But for some reason life got in the way and that didn’t happen. You and your best friend went to two different colleges. And you have been apart for some time now. But that’s okay, we can find ways to make those matching friendship bracelets stand the test of time.
Here are some things to remember when struggling through a long distance friendship.
1. Feeling Left Behind Is Normal
In high school, everything was simple. You had a group of friends that you were your everything. You went to football games, had sleepovers and got dressed for prom together. And you probably talked about going to the same college, being roommates and creating a life together. But when your BFF finds new people to check her teeth for food or to lend a straightener before a night out and you can’t keep track of which crush is which without seeing them on the daily too, you can start to feel your long distance friendship slipping.
2. And So Is Starting Over
The moment when you step onto campus in August, you feel instantly smaller. You begin to worry that you won’t find a place to fit in or your friendships don’t click like your other ones do. “[When making new friends, you ask,] what are they going to be like compared to your friends at home and you wonder if you are going to be able to find a good support system at your new school,” University of Tennessee, Chattanooga senior Emily Larocque said. But even when you do find new friends that somehow jumped through your friendship hoops, you still remember the long distance friendship you left behind. “Luckily I’ve had the same friends since eighth grade or freshman year so I don’t have to worry about us drifting. I know if I need anything I can always call. And when we are together, we make the most of it,” Larocque said.
3. Your Phone is Your Best Friend Literally
Your phone is the one tool that you can take advantage of to keep in touch with your friends. “I try to keep in contact with them as best as I can through text and social media. It’s hard because you don’t get to see them every day and hang out with them. You do your best to chat every once and a while but you sit and listen about their life without you and it’s kind of upsetting,” Cal Poly Pomona sophomore Gabriella Martin said. Lindsay Walters from Loyola Marymount in Chicago felt similarly. “I’m not really into texting so honestly I just keep up with my friends on social media. If something big happens, I’ll let them know but other than that I just pick up where I left off when I go home.”
4. You have to make the most of your Time together
At home or on the phone, time spent with friends becomes super important. Of course, you have to make time for school work and become a powerful woman like Blair did when she and Serena weren’t in school together. But you also have to make space for friends. Blair and Serena are unbreakable and so are you. “A lot of people didn’t think my relationship would last. But if you really care about someone and love them, it’s worth the wait. Seeing them means a lot more when your time is limited,”UTC senior Grace Gordon said. Long distance, in some cases, can even strengthen relationships and friendships. Your long distance friendship takes the ultimate test. When it passes, you know you have the real thing.
5. You Realize That You Can’t Hang Out Like You Used To
When you go in two different directions, you realize that the nature of your friendship has to change. You can’t see them every day at lunch or wave in the hallway as you go in opposite directions to class. You can’t hang out at her place after school anymore because you are miles (*cough* states) apart. So, most of your friendships turn to phone-friendships. And this is a new obstacle you have to conquer.
6. You’re On An Emotional Rollercoaster
“There are many ups and downs. Especially being long distance for so long that it’s starting to take its toll. I miss being able to see him every night and just share how our day went and do simple things like watch TV together or cook dinner. We have days where we communicate everyday but it’s usually through texting,” Ackerman said. Personally, I keep up with my high school friends on Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, text and even phone calls every now and then. Watching them grow and change online rather than in person becomes a substitute for the real thing. Because of this, I was not able to be there for the big moments and sometimes that really hurt. TBH, the loneliness hit hard for some of us (and still does).
8. Sometimes you have to Move On
“You talk about taking trips to see each other and sometimes it doesn’t happen. Sometimes, it’s just talk,” University of California, Berkeley junior Lauren Asher said. In some cases, the friendship that you thought was unsinkable like the Titanic is, in fact, sinkable. This kind of long distance friendship fizzles out and fades to the bottom of the sea. In those cases, we have to be okay with that. Sometimes we outgrow those people who we thought would stick with us forever. It takes time to put together your broken pieces and move on. The moving on has to happen to open yourself up to billions of people in the world that you could potentially call your next best friend.
8. You Can Always Make New Friends
Joining clubs, going out and talking to people in your classes expose you to new potential besties. I can say that I have found some of my best friends in college and I know they will never leave me.
9. Remember That Nothing Has to Change
Nothing has to change that much; a long distance friendship has all the same love and promises as it did before the distance. “I’ve never been in a long-distance relationship, but I think it’s important to put effort into long distance friendships. They are hard to keep up, but it takes a special connection to have the friendship feel as if nothing ever changed. I think as long as both parties are willing to make thing work there shouldn’t be a lot of challenges,” Brenda Lira said. That commitment to keeping up with one another while far away can really prove just how good of a friend someone is.
10. Friends Live Forever
Whether you drift apart or not, the experiences you shared with your friend remain. They happened, you shared a lot of life and love together, and even if your friendship did not stand the test of time, your memories will.