Monday, March 21, 2016

the LDF (the long distance friendship)

When I graduated from college six years ago, there was a naïve expectation that I'd stay just as close with the friends that I made in the four years on campus. While a lot of us stayed in Chicagoland like me, we changed addresses, jobs, and boyfriends countless times. We scattered, too: London, San Francisco, Cincinnati, Madison… if we’ve see each other again, it’s been in cyberspace.

When my friend Michelle first moved to Ann Arbor for grad school, worries over finding a place to live and the stress of finding a part-time job took precedence over finding a new circle of friends. Once settled, Michelle loved her new city, but wondered if she’d always be stuck in friendship limbo: drifting in and out of the lives of her old friends, while being accepted by the people she met in her grad school program. And since she moved for grad school, the temporary nature of her move brought up even more questions about the value of investing in new friendships.

Michelle did end up making friends (because she’s not a weird, poorly-adjusted hermit), but no matter how close or fun or lovable her new friends are, they can’t reminisce about waking up for 7am Saturday practices, doing lemon drop shots on barcrawls, and riding the TGV to Paris together.
 Moving to a new city can bring the freedom and liberation that comes with BLOWING OFF unwanted acquaintances, family drama, exes, and unpaid electricity bills, but it can also serve as a litmus test for friendship. If the bond manages to withstand the strain, then we know we have a lifelong pal. In fact, I think Michelle’s move has brought us to both appreciate each other even more.

We may not speak to long-distance friends every week (one of my friends and I have a semi-annual phone call) and trek two very different life paths, but when we are reunited and absolutely nothing has changed, we know it will always stay this way. We all need the friends we can call anytime, count on to be there for us and, if needed, give us a kick in the ass. Don’t BLOW OFF friends just because of a state, a country, or an ocean separate you.

Have any of your friendships been BLOWN OFF because of distance? Has distance made any of your friendships stronger? Comment below!

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