Image: Unsplash
Image: Unsplash

The secret to long-distance friendships

When I first moved away from London, the friendships that I had from primary school were maintained by daily emails. From random forwards to details from back home, my best friends and I shared our day to day lives in ramblings, multi-coloured chat rooms and endless messages. As we got older, these emails evolved to writing on each other’s Facebook walls, sending Snapchats and commenting on each other’s Instagram pictures. We were lucky enough to remain close friends, to the point where my long-distance best friend and I had a sense of relief when we realised we were going to the same university. After almost 17 years of friendship, we are able to understand the best ways to maintain communication. Through the time we spent apart, we became stronger friends.

Those few weeks away can create distance after spending 10 weeks attached at the hip

In such a daunting, new place like university, friendships are constantly tested. The holidays really can make or break a relationship with someone, particularly if you have the struggle of time-zones and poor internet connections. Those few weeks away can create distance after spending 10 weeks attached at the hip, and it is really important to keep up the communication over the breaks to remain as close as you were before the holidays began. If convenience (and your bank account) allow it, arranging a ‘meet-in-the-middle’ day trip (or mini break) can be ideal. That way, there is less awkwardness about only one person paying for a ticket, and you might have the opportunity to solidify a friendship in an exciting new place! If a few of you live in London, it can be worth planning a trip to Oxford or somewhere in the Midlands to ensure that you and your northern friends don’t have to pay extortionate train prices to see each other.

Don’t be alarmed if people find it difficult to maintain a long-distance friendship over summer

If you are hoping to keep up a very close friendship, communication is key. If you can try to plan a Skype session or phone call every once in a while, it gives you something to look forward to and means you don’t necessarily have to talk all the time whilst away. Since everyone is so busy with internships, holidays and work, it can be so refreshing to see a friendly face from university! If you can, perhaps try to arrange a consistent day that you can all speak as well. This works well if you have friends scattered abroad too! At the same time, don’t be alarmed if people find it difficult to maintain a long-distance friendship over summer. Between travel and jobs, you might find that things can your friendships will just reignite after the holidays. Many people still maintain the friendships they made in high school, so sometimes it can be difficult to balance home friendships and keeping in contact with friendships made at university.

If you can maintain a friendship over what can feel like an endless summer, it can often make your relationships stronger

Whilst it is difficult to maintain the levels of communication you might have had in term time, it is important to make sure you aren’t constantly on your phone. It is important to balance time between spending time talking to your new university friends, your family and old friends. During term time, it might seem difficult to keep up a good balance, but if you are spending time at home, it is nice to meet up with old friends and catch-up on things that you might not have been able to talk about online. If you can maintain a friendship over what can feel like an endless summer, it can often make your relationships stronger. Now that my friends from school and I have spent so many years apart, every time we get the opportunity, we try to meet up or talk. You slowly have the ability to just pick up where you left off, without any awkwardness. If you can do that, it might be possible to your best friends as long-distance ones.

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