When anyone says “long distance relationships”, it’s generally romantic relationships that come to mind. It’s true that distance does make romantic relationships a lot harder, but something that’s not acknowledged as frequently is that distance also separates you from your friends and family and you’re left alone, hanging on to the dangling ends of the thin threads of Skype.
–By the way, I’ve already filled my romantic LDR quota on this post by acknowledging it exists. If you want more, I recommend this blog, which has a lot of good content on long distance and cross-cultural relationships.–
So I did the math, and since we met, my best friend and I have been apart more than we’ve been together, and yet, we’re closer friends than we were at the beginning of the Great Separation, the day she left for college.
Our friendship was a high school friendship forged on fantastic taste in music and questionable taste in fashion and boys. It was innumerable trips together on the band bus; it was an innocent pre-movie Walmart snack run that ended in the destruction of a car that parked too close to a sixteen-year-old driver; it was her taking me as her prom date when I was a sophomore so I could go; it was surviving basketball off-season laps; it was graduating valedictorian of two consecutive classes and being glad we weren’t in the same year; it was telling the same story about an earring to her at least four times without realizing she was there when it happened; it was That 70s Show and “I love cake” and a million other moments that can only happen when you’re together almost everyday.
Then she went far away to college and I went even farther away the next year. Our times together became scarcer but more intense, each adventure standing out more and more as time went on and we slowly discovered no one was quite as epic* as each other.
*I use the word “epic”, which is a Mary-word, because I couldn’t find a good enough word of my own.
The kind of sad thing about having a best friend is that there is no guarantee you’ll ever be together. In a romantic long-distance relationship, at least there’s the hope that if you can just make it through these few weeks, months, years, you might get to live happily ever after in the same house as the person you love so much. With friendship, every passing day makes living near each other less likely. And thus, most friendships gradually disintegrate. In contrast to this, our friendship has grown stronger, and each day, instead of the memories gradually fading, the longing to see each other pushes itself more and more to the front of our minds.
The cool thing about us not being together is that as a pair, we have double the access to interesting places. Right now she lives in Austin, Texas and I live in Costa Rica. One of the best parts about both places is that we get to share them with each other. We both plan to live abroad in different parts of the world in the future, and no matter if she lives in Houston, Russia, or Japan, I’ll know there’s an ongoing adventure somewhere else that I can join anytime, and she knows the same is true with my adventure, whether I’m in Denton, Argentina, or Poland.
So how do we maintain our relationship between mutual adventures? Lots of facebook and Skype. Sometimes we’ll go for weeks talking to each other everyday on facebook, and sometimes we’ll go a while without talking. We never have to worry about being too needy or annoying each other, because that doesn’t happen. I also can’t remember a specific time we fought. We disagree like civil people–and we disagree on a lot. And even though we have different standard and morals, we keep each other in line and true to ourselves. I can’t imagine us lying to each other about anything because we know that our relationship is a judgement-free zone, unless of course we deserve the judgement for whatever stupid thing we’ve done, in which case we need the wake-up call anyway.
We can hang out in her apartment for days watching Lost and eating delivery pizza. And if showering seems like too much effort, who cares? We make a really cute couple when we go out in public, and do nothing to dispel the impression. After all, it’s kind of hard to tell which one of us got luckier. We have completely different taste in guys, but we know exactly what type is good for each other. We make good wingmen for each other since we never fall for the same guy and we know in an instant if the other needs an escape. I’m Catholic and she’s agnostic, but we don’t try to change each other. Instead, our conversations on religion help both of us grow and figure out what we truly believe.
We come from different families and context, with her living all over the world and me growing up in a small town, but yet, our fates somehow crossed and aligned to bring two completely distinct lives together.
So now I’m going to end this post with the first song we shared:
And in case you’re wondering, the feeling’s mutual.