How to Survive a Long-Distance Best Friendship
Having a best friend is kind of like wrapping yourself in the fuzziest blanket on the coldest day. It’s like when your favorite song comes on when you hadn’t even queued it up. It’s the first sip of lemonade on a hot summer afternoon. I could keep listing clichés, but I think you get the point.
My best friendship began in September 2006. It was the very first day of kindergarten. Before we even had the chance to walk into our classroom, my soon-to-be best friend’s dad squished the two of us together to snap a photo. From that point on, a best friendship was born.
In elementary school, we spent afternoons building pillow forts for our secret spy society and making cringe-worthy iMovies. We eventually made it to sixth grade, which meant changes—we had to decide where to go to high school. I picked an all-girls school 45 minutes from home. She followed in her brother’s footsteps and went to a co-ed school 15 minutes away. It was a bittersweet goodbye, but we knew our friendship was strong enough that it wouldn’t be farewell forever.
Whether you’re an hour apart (like me) or separated by a whole continent, having a long-distance best friendship isn’t easy. My situation didn’t start taking its toll until recently. It’d been a few weeks since we’d seen each other in person; our texts had been sparse; and overall, I’d been feeling a little lost. The reality is that I just missed her—a lot. After navigating some pretty rocky friendship territory, I created a few self-imposed guidelines that really helped me get through this rough time, and made me a better friend in the end.
Give her space. It may feel like the burden of a friendship falls solely on you, and it’s constantly your move to initiate something. But prodding only adds to the pressure. Your friend may need a second to breathe, so put the phone down and give her the space she deserves.
Don’t fall into the rabbit hole of despair. Life can get crazy busy, and sometimes it’s best to just let things go instead of micro-analyzing the amount of time it takes for her to get back to you. Don’t trap yourself in the idea that the friendship is over if she doesn’t answer your text.
Stay cool. When you do meet up IRL, don’t try to convince yourself that every second of this rare face-to-face moment must be perfect. Embrace this time you have together, and don’t let anything—especially not self-imposed pressure—stop you from having fun.
One of the many beautiful things about a best friendship is that it’s an unbreakable bond. Not seeing or talking to your best friend for a long time can really suck, but at the back of your mind, you know that it’ll all work out eventually. There are tons of little ways to stay close. Sometimes I send my BFF Snapchats only she could appreciate, links to songs I think she’ll like, or even, if the timing feels right, a simple, “Hi I love/miss you” text. When that’s all it takes to stick together, that’s when you know your best friendship was made to last.
By Emma Kopelowicz, 17