As you might remember, I spent a few days in Ireland last November, visiting a place I used to live in, and a person I love very much. Limerick, and the University of Limerick, where a huge part in me growing up and becoming the person I am today; it was the place I decided to start this blog, and the place I truly started to understand who I was as a person.
Limerick was also the place I met Ciara.
Ciara and I met by chance my first day on campus – she was friends with a friend, and we hit it off. We lived across each other in the same student village – she lived in Block 4, while I lived in Block 6. We spent a lot of time together, and things went from being casual friends to realizing that we’re platonic soulmates. Ciara is everything in a friend one could ever wish for: supportive, dramatic, fun, compassionate, and a wonderful cuddler. She understands me on a level that not a lot of people do, and has been there for me time and time again, even when there’s an entire continent lying between us.
That’s the downside of this practically perfect friendship: while Ciara continues to live in Ireland, I had to move back to Malta. Since I’ve moved away, we’ve seen each other a grand total of four times: three times when I went back to Ireland myself, and once when she came to Malta. We’re lucky if we get to see each other once a year, if at all.
So here I’d like to talk to you about the highs and lows, and dos and don’ts of being best friends with someone who lives in another country.
♫ She’s so hiiiiiiiiiiigh~~
One of the definite advantages of a long distance BFF is that when you do see each other after 6-12 months, it’s one of the best reunions in the world. It involves a lot of hugging, a lot of screaming, a lot of ‘OH MY GOD LOOK AT YOU YOU LOOK AMAZING’ and a lot of good feelings all around. And while you’ve kept in touch through every form of social media imaginable, nothing compares to sitting down and just saying ‘Tell me EVERYTHING’, and just listening while they indulge in every tiny minute detail they didn’t go into when you were Skyping three weeks before.
Another is that you never seem to run out of things to say. Not seeing each other regularly means that sometimes, details escape you. It’s not the first time that Ciara or I would say ‘Oh, remember that thing I told you about?’ and one of us would just lowly exclaim ‘Noooooooooo’ and wait for the story to unfold. While you revel in telling each other about every single detail of the life the other has missed out on, you still always find something new to say.
I also find that being in a long distance friendship means that you have the perfect excuse to travel every few months. While I love Ireland, I also love Ciara more, and I visit at this point purely to see her. It’s quite a nice excuse, if I do say so myself.
♫ Shawty got low low low low
Sometimes, I get scared that the distance will become too much for us and we’ll start to drift apart. That hasn’t happened yet, but sometimes, it’s a thought that creeps in. There’s always a chance that life will happen to you a bit too quickly for your liking, and you’ll not tell each other anymore about important things, or maybe just stop making plans to meet up.
Sometimes I’m afraid that we’ll stop being able to see each other – one of us will move to a place that’s too far away to visit for the other. Or maybe that we’ll fight. Or maybe that we’ll just stop having anything interesting to say to each other.
But sometimes, all you need is faith.
What can you do?
Be present – tell your bestie about anything that happens when they ask, and be the one asking sometimes. Ask about life, about work, school, friends, partners, anything. Sometimes even just a ‘Hi I hope you’re doing OK’ is enough to show them that you still care.
Make plans – this can be hard, but it’s also something that shows that you really do care about them and want to see them soon. Even if the plans are something small like ‘Let’s Skype’ this weekend, it’s still a solid plan that helps you keep in touch.
Remember things – this is something that I find is super simple to do, but also really important. Remember things that the other says, like about this person or that place they’ve been to. It makes for more exciting conversation when you’re in the same place again.
What should you not?
Impose yourself – life gets in the way sometimes, and it’s hard to stay in constant touch when you’re both living hectic lives. So, you should always make an effort to remember that sometimes, if you text them and they don’t text back right away, it’s not coz they don’t want to talk to you; it’s coz they’re living their own life.
I’ve never really written one of these posts before, but I had fun writing it, and I hope you guys enjoy reading it and that it maybe resonates with some of you guys in a long distance friendship!