1. Time together is so special.
We see one another so rarely that any time together is a gift. There is no room for small spats or any kind of conflict because every minute that goes by is another minute till we have to say goodbye again. Every second counts. We are so cautious never to waste time on anything but loving, supporting and listening to one another.
2. We’re really comfortable with the fact that we have other friends.
I have had friends in the past who need constant reassurance that I like them best of all. I have been that friend a lot, too, in some of my friendships, but never with any of my faraway friends. When you’re in a long-distance friendship, you can’t expect that from somebody. Of course we have other friends. Thank god you have other friends. There’s no need to constantly confirm our definitive friend ranking because we know that long-distance friends are on a different list altogether.
3. There is a bigger freedom for growth.
When I met my best friend, we both had braces and bad taste in music. A year later, when we saw each other next, we were knee-deep in our first relationships. Every time we see each other, something changes. Every time we see each other, there’s something new going on in each of our lives. We use new words and our opinions have changed about foods we used to like and we listen to different music. Every time we see each other we have grown- but somehow it doesn’t change anything about our friendship.
I so often hear people talk about how they’ve “grown apart” from friends throughout their lives and I wonder why being miles away from each other means we have stood the test of time. Perhaps being so removed from all the things in her life that shape her means I feel no responsibility to control who she becomes. I am content with the fact that I knew her at thirteen with braces, and I know her now as she takes her twenties by storm, and I will know her through every chapter of her changing story. It doesn’t scare me at all. This is out of my control. All the consistency I need is her kindness, loyalty and courage- the qualities I see most clearly with each new version of her that I meet.
4. It is easier to be honest.
Having a long-distance best friend is like having this secret vault into which I can spill with no consequence or judgment. I can tell her how I am actually feeling, as opposed to how I should be feeling or what I want to be feeling. Secret’s safe with her.
5. Long-distance friends take your side.
Everything she knows about my life goes through me. I can articulate how I felt and where I stand and suddenly here is this person that is able to just listen, just understand, and not have to play devil’s advocate. It’s necessary to have friends who challenge you but it’s so nice to have someone who’s seeing things from your perspective.
6. They’re strangely more reliable.
There is a common understanding in most of my long-distance friendships that we lead very full lives. I don’t expect anyone to sit by the phone each night waiting for my call. We can go days, weeks without talking, and my confidence never waivers. Our friendship will survive these moments of silence. I am not offended when our messages are broken up by seasons. We each lead, separate full lives, and we choose to celebrate that. I know, even in these moments of silence, she is only a few clicks away. I know, even in these long droughts, that she will be there when it counts. Somehow the physical distance cancels out any version of “drifting apart”, and I can rely on this friendship even after so many moments of silence.
7. Long-distance means long-term.
If we can survive inter-continentality, we can survive anything. If we can accept the ways in which we change year after year, if we are never threatened by outside factors, if we are always honest, if we can be forgiving, if we are always there even when we’re not, what’s going to break us?