I realize distance makes things very tough for any kind of relationships. I didn’t necessarily have to be at a ‘distance’ to realize this of course. But, as a result of living practically away from my ‘home base’ for 6 months now, I have realized a few things about long distance friendships-
– The relationships that are typically affected are any that are brought together/helped by circumstance. (i.e. co-workers, football friends, housemates etc).
This is because the lack of a common ground means a lack of communication which brings me to my next realization.
– It is not easy to ‘pick up where you left of’. In my limited experience, it takes a bit of ‘alignment time’ and typically only comes with conversation. Often, with the distance, our minds conjure up perceptions of distance and difference when there might not be any.. or forgets that there actually might be some difference. And that can be a bit of a blow. The ‘pick up where you left of’ happens when the ‘awareness of small details’ checkbox is covered.
– The ‘small details’ are everything! When you are a few 1000 miles away, the only thing that makes you feel closer to someone are when you share the moments. Not the big ones.. but the small ones. That funny incident, that stroke of bad luck. This doesn’t take too long but it is vital that is done.
A friend of mine sends in a 10 minute power packed audio with his updates for the week in reply to my generally long emails. I call it power packed because it is typically packed with small details. And boy, does that make a difference! Because the next time we are on skype, I am sure going to begin with great joy laughing at some of the things he mentioned – it would be my way to ‘touch base’ and feel included.
– ‘Included’ brings me to the next point. I guess it comes from the basic human needs – to feel included, to feel appreciated, to be loved etc. This flows from the need to know the ‘small details’. I guess we like to know we are being thought of, being missed etc..
– There are 2 things that make long distance friendships work.
– Some kind of overlap. Typically, this is working on a fun project with each other. The excuse of ‘work’ ensures the ‘syncing’ and ‘aligning’ happens.
– Discipline. Lots of it. And on both sides. I realize this more and more as I get into the ‘new life’ at a place that it requires some proactive prioritization. And that’s where most long distance friendships don’t quite work out.
After that treatise on ‘long distance friendships’, here is a song for the week. This one reminds me of many good times.
Oh, and it always makes me feel like a rockstar when I scream along with the chorus. My ex-housemate in Oman always said it gave him nightmares, or something like that.. haha