My sophomore year of high school, I befriended a girl named Paulina who was a foreign exchange student from Germany. We met when we both tried out for the badminton team at our high school. Fortunately for me, there weren’t any cuts, and we both made the team. We became fast friends and despite our culture difference, we had a lot in common. We bonded over our love for the environment, shopping, "The Vampire Diaries," going to concerts and cooking.
When the school year was over, Paulina had to go home to Germany. We both cried and said our goodbyes. The hardest part was not knowing when we were going to see each other again. Being over 5,000 miles apart, having different school breaks and with the high expense of airline tickets, we knew it would be awhile before we saw each other again.
It has been three years now since Paulina has lived near me and two since I’ve seen her last (her and her family visited the summer after she left). Even though we spend so much time apart, I still consider her one of my best friends.
Our friendship has taught me a lot about myself and below I listed some things I have learned over these past few years.
It’s ok not to talk all of the time:
When you don’t see someone everyday, you might feel the need to communicate daily in order to maintain the friendship. I’ve realized that as long as each person still wants to be friends, there is no need to speak all of the time.
Paulina and I don’t talk every day; we don’t even talk every week. We are both busy with school and work so communicating everyday can be hard. Also, a nine-hour time difference doesn’t make things any easier. As long as we both genuinely want to know how each other are doing, our friendship won’t disappear. And when we do talk, it is like nothing has changed.
Friendships shouldn’t be forced:
When starting a new job or going to a new school, it might feel like you have to be friends with everyone. There is no way to force a long distance friendship; it’s one of those things that either happens or it doesn’t. I don’t feel the need to be best friends with every person I meet because I have realized that long-lasting friendships happen organically and over time.
The internet makes everything easier:
The internet makes communicating super easy. Paulina and I usually talk through the app WhatsApp. It only costs a $1 for the year and we can text as much as we like. We also snapchat and follow each other on social media platforms.
Social media, like Facebook and Instagram, is so nice because it provides us a way to peer in on each others lives without actually being there. In the past, we have also scheduled Skype dates. This is something we would do more but the time difference and our schedules make it hard to agree on a time to Skype.
It can be hard sometimes:
The hardest part of having a long distance friendship is not being able to have them there when something exciting happens in your life. You can tell them all about it through messages, but it’s never the same as having them there in person. Times like when it’s your birthday and you invite all of your friends to go out to dinner and you wish you could invite them too makes you realize how much you miss them.
Having a long distance friendship might be a bit of a challenge at times, but when you’re finally able to see each other again, you’ll realize everything was worth it. By going through the experience of a long distance friendship. you’ll gain a lifetime friend.
Editing Note: This article did not filter through the normal EmpowHER editing and fact checking process. It was checked for spelling and grammar.Read more in Being HER