A friend is someone who knows all about you and still loves you – Elbert Hubbard.
Friends are those pieces of magic that keep you sane and make you laugh until you spit out your wine because your belly hurts from giggling too much. They are the ones you turn to in time of need, when you want to go out dancing and when you need good, honest advice, or a little pick-me-up. They are the people you come to know as family, but don’t need the same blood type to prove it, and you’d do anything for them, like they’d do anything for you. Friends come in all shapes and sizes; they are your best friend since the age of five, the girl you clicked with in high school, your cousin, your parent, the new girl at work that you turn to in a crisis, the ones you bond with over a topic that you never thought the other would like, let alone be obsessed with. Friendships can last as long as a lifetime and as short as a week. The trouble with friendships, as you grow older, is that life gets in the way of the easiest of things like a sixty second phone call or a simple message to see if they are okay. It shouldn’t take as long as it does to get together for that long overdue catch up, but – like most things – it gets shoved to the bottom of the pile as other daily activities get in the way.
In your twenties, it feels like a completely different ball game. Gone are the days of seeing your friends every day, enjoying the freedom of youth (even though we feel imprisoned by the taunts of teenage life like school, exams, first loves and above all, wanting to fit in); now, even though we’re not old, we don’t enjoy the freedom that we should feel every day. Instead, we are working harder to play even harder, and even that, on occasion, takes up too much energy for it to be fun. The time that we make for our friends has to be planned in advance with multiple messages and a blocked-out calendar date with the time underlined at least twice so that we don’t forget. Not that we would forget because catching up with friends fast becomes one of the absolute highlights of the month, let alone the week.
Throw long distance into the mix and keep on stirring until you think you have it mastered. In actual fact, you’ll be plodding along and hoping, praying, for the best. People talk about long distance relationships all the time – how difficult it is to not see the person you love every single day, to not have them at most twenty minutes by car rather than two-plus hours down the motorway. I, myself, have talked about it a lot over the years. However, what people don’t talk about as often is what happens when you and your best friend(s) enter into a new stage of friendship, an unknown abyss of lengthy messages and miscommunications, of you-should-have-been-theres and crying into your pillow because all you want (and all you need) is a talk with your best friend with a bottle of wine, to put the world to rights and to just moan.
The worst thing is when you begin to check in with each other every now and again. The messages dwindle. It’s neither one of your faults. It’s that funny old excuse of life gets in the way because that is the truth. The hard, sad, heart-breaking truth. All of a sudden, you are caught in a web of messages missed and hours of last seens, constantly missing each other in more ways than one because you are both on a different time scale when it comes to every day working life, even if you both work nine-to-five. When it comes to the evenings, it is the routine of getting home, having tea, doing odd jobs around the house, fitting in passions and hobbies, catching up with your partner or roomie, texting your mum. We play catch up every single day and it never stops, so remember that message that you read and forgot to reply to? It has a person waiting on the other end to see if you’re okay.
Sometimes long-distance friendships don’t work out. They’re as hard work as any other relationship. You have to put in the effort to reap the goodness. Your best of best friends are always going to be there no matter what, but the friends you make along the way – travel friends, work mates, uni people, all those incredible human beings that impacted your life in one way or another – become a whisper of your past, a smile on a photograph and a memory that lights up your face. It is impossible to keep up with every single friend in your life, but let this be a small reminder that they came into your life for a reason, and for whatever reason, they should definitely remain there… unless the two of you have a massive falling out and don’t speak because you can’t stand the sight of each other. That doesn’t count.
Friendships in your twenties can be harder than in your teens. When you are younger, you have more people around you of your own age. If you fall out with one person, you can hang out with another. Sometimes it isn’t as simple as that, but you are more susceptible to fitting in with a crowd at that age. As you get older, you tend to stick with the people who have become your own tribe – the people you can’t live without – who you don’t have to change for, even when you are a complete and utter weirdo who snorts, who laughs at everything, rolls her eyes at people of authority and sneezes far too loud so that it echoes. Distance should never change that bond you have with a friend, especially your best mate. It is hard and it sometimes makes you feel sick, but long-distance friendship is worth it when you finally see their faces, get a hug and – the best bit – catch up as if there was never any time spent apart.
Are you in a long-distance friendship? What are your tips on keeping it together when you miss your closest friends?
Love, Faye xo