It’s Okay if You Can’t Make a Long Distance Friendship Work

longdistance

I consider myself to be something of a nomad. In my 19 years of living, I’ve lived in 4 different homes and have been to 5 different schools. So while I’m not out there traveling for a living, I’ve definitely had more than my fair share of goodbyes.

It’s not all bad though. For the most part, I’ve stayed in touch with the people I most care about. In this digital age of texting and social media, it’s not that hard to stay friends with people. And I’d like to stay that I’m still the proud friend of my best friend since kindergarten.

My freshman year at college was probably me at my peak loneliness. I moved an entire island away for the college of my dreams, and it was the first time ever I’d live alone. I didn’t have any roommates, so I’d always go home to an empty dorm.

But more than anything, I did not have a single best friend. I didn’t have someone to hang out with outside of class, and my college was so big it was hard for me to recognize anyone in the hallways. I spent my weekends alone, ate lunch alone, stayed at the library in between classes alone, and I was just…really alone. I didn’t have anyone.

Everyone around me seemed to have a best friend. Why didn’t I?

And then, just as it seemed my sophomore year would have me suffer the same fate, an angel appeared. Let’s name him Erwin. Erwin was in my fiction class, and he was probably my favorite person in the entire university. He and I got along so well, and I never felt like I was bothering him. We had so much in common and I had so much fun being with him.

I had honestly forgotten what it felt like to have a best friend before he came along.

And then I dropped out of college.

Why? Well, that’s a story for another time, but long story short: I packed my bags and went back home. My sophomore year wasn’t even over yet – I had only made it one semester. But it was a decision I needed to make. I felt it in my gut.

Of course, with every big decision comes an equally big sacrifice. And unfortunately, mine was Erwin.

It’s not as if we didn’t try. We sent each other e-mails, texted each other, but our schedules never lined up. We even sent letters to each other at one point. But he had his other friends and college, and I had dropout things to do.

Erwin and I didn’t get to spend enough time together. We didn’t have a strong a bond needed to survive a long distance friendship. So I had to let it go.

I felt so guilty for thinking this, but I thought it: I was sick and tired of long distance friendships. It’s all I’ve ever had. I’m so, so tired of talking to a screen. I need to be in the same room with someone, hug them, actually talk to them instead of just typing what I want to say. It was driving me insane. I couldn’t handle another friendship with a screen.

When I first thought that, I felt extremely guilty. I didn’t hate Erwin. I didn’t hate my long distance friends. How could I think that? How could I possibly think that? Screens make it possible for me to stay friends with them. What was I thinking?

But…I don’t feel guilty about it anymore.

Because different people need different things, and I need someone to be there for me physically. I didn’t hate my friends. I hated that we were apart. But we had spent enough time together that the distance was just an obstacle. Erwin and I never got to spend enough time together. And I don’t think we ever will.

The chances of me and Ewin meeting again seem pretty low, but if fate has plans for us both to meet again I wouldn’t mind it. I am thankful for Erwin though. He made me see hope again. He made me realize that there are people like Erwin in this world. And he made realize that I’m going to meet another one. Because I’m someone worth loving.

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One thought on “It’s Okay if You Can’t Make a Long Distance Friendship Work

  1. This is such a lovely post, I’m glad I’ve come across it and it’s interesting to hear your take on long distance friendships. I really do get your frustration with talking to a screen and that not feeling like it’s enough sometimes. I have always been a lone wolf (hence the name) and like you in college, throughout secondary school, particularly in the last few years, I did everything alone and didn’t belong to any group of friends. This cycle has pretty much continued during university for various reasons. I made a friend in the volunteering that I do and since coming home for the summer I feel so detached from them – talking to a screen every now and then just feels so half-hearted, so lonely. Sometimes I feel like I spend so much time typing to people I’ve come across on mental health forums and online generally that I just can’t remember what it feels like to have a genuine, human connection.

    Liked by 1 person

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