How to survive the long-distance friendships with your friends on their years abroad
It’s the quality of time spent together, not quantity
Everyone talks about long distance relationships; the trials and tribulations of staying together in first year, the inevitable infidelities, and the second year break ups.
However, long distance friendships are just as difficult to maintain, whether it's staying close with your friends from home, or friends that go abroad in third year, and like all relationships, they need love and care to maintain them.
So, here's a handy guide of how to keep your nearest and dearest close to you, even when it feels like they're a million miles away.
Accept that things are going to change
It really doesn't matter if someone is in a different continent or a different city, things are different when you don't see someone regularly, and you need to learn how to be friends with someone outside of being hungover and watching Gilmore Girls together. Realistically, it's pretty difficult to be as close with someone when they aren't in the same country, and the quicker you accept that, the better, because there's a difference between friendships changing and dying altogether. You need to recognise that it's equally difficult to be the person who is leaving, as it is to be the person staying behind.
I mean, this one's pretty self-explanatory. Listening and feeling like you're being listened to is the heart of every healthy relationship, but it gets more difficult when people are really far away.
It's all too easy to word vomit about each and every detail of your life that you want your bestie to know about, but you have to give them their chance to be heard too. You might not really give a shit about how dull Dave is, and you might think you're literally going to die if you hear one more time how much more culturally complex Copenhagen is, but bear with. You have to take an interest in each other. Remember the name of that guy they like, wish them luck on the important days, and show them that you care.
Make time for each other
Set aside some time for a phone call, wait until you have proper time to reply to the lengthy message they've sent you, don't just glance at it. Make each other feel valued. Also, ensure you plan things for the times you are together. It's about the quality of time that you spend together, not the quantity.
Don't guilt trip each other
Right, I'm not going to pretend it doesn't suck for your closest friends to be really far away, but don't make them feel shit about it. Banging on about how much you miss them and how you feel really lonely is just a bit shit, even if it comes from a good place. Let them know you miss them, without making them feel like a bad person for not being able to be there 24/7. Also, just because they're making new friends, it doesn't mean they don't love you.
Voice notes are your new best friend
Literally, a godsend. Who has time for lengthy phone calls and writing long ass paragraphs? And what's better than waking up to hysterical voice notes from your friend who's studying in Boston, detailing each and every drama of their night out? Nothing.
So, remember that your friends love you, and even if you can't be there physically, it doesn't mean you can't be there for all the important moments. Don't grow apart from the people that you love just because you don't get to see them that often. Listen and empathise and you'll be just fine.