Long distance friendships

Grant Hutchinson via Compfight

I just got off the phone with one of my college friends.

We now live on opposite coasts.  We have completely different schedules and jobs.  The circumstantial bonds that once brought us together no longer exist.  Our phases of life aren’t even the same, as I have been married for more than four years and she’s recently engaged.

Yet neither of us were lacking for words throughout our 45 minute conversation that ended only out of necessity, not boredom.

How have we maintained this connection from a distance?  The same way that anyone does: by investing in one another.  I have other friendships that have faded for various reasons- perhaps our bonds truly were based only on our shared circumstances, as Anne of Modern Mrs Darcy wrote recently, or perhaps we just didn’t make the effort.

I moved out of state as soon as I graduated from college, so I clung to the phone calls and emails exchanged with my former world.  Most of my friends’ lives stayed the same, at least until they graduated, while mine changed dramatically.  I didn’t quite understand my new world yet, and while I embraced married life, I also grasped for something familiar.  I feared that my friends would forget me, or think I no longer related to them, but they didn’t.

The truest of friendships find their basis in something deeper than shared circumstances.  As I’ve maintained friendships with single women and mothers, I’ve learned so much from these women in different phases of life.

It’s refreshing to hear about a world that I don’t experience everyday for the same reason novels are compelling.  Don’t our most beloved characters live in different worlds, but their humanity rings true to our own experience?

Some friendships naturally fade over time, and that’s not necessarily something to mourn.  Apparently our friendships change at about the same rate as our taste buds.

Carlin Flora’s book Friendfluence tells us:

“What’s more, our friend networks are remarkably unstable themselves. A study by a Dutch sociologist who tracked about a thousand people of all ages found that on average, we lose half of our close network members every seven years. To think that half of the people currently on your ‘most dialed’ list will fade out of your life in less than a decade is frightening indeed.”  (Quote discovered and taken from the wonderful MWF Seeking BFF.)

Why invest deeply in friendships that probably won’t be as close in your next stage of life?  Because some will be, and because relationships forever change us.  We can deeply impact each other’s futures, even if we don’t share them.  While friendships look different as we pursue marriage and family, our hearts still long for them.

One thought on “Long distance friendships

  1. Shared humanity – I like that, a lot! We are so much more than our marriage status, education or the work we do. People come in and out of our lives and the best part is just appreciating them for the moments we have them.

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