Long distance friendships
Friendships come and go – that is the inevitable truth of the world we live in.
Think high school friends that stray away from each other once their uniforms have been retired and graduation caps have been tossed. It is not easy to maintain friendships when you’re within each other’s reach let alone when everyone is scattered all around the sphere doing their own thing. It’s even harder to interact like we used to when it's not as frequent anymore.
Much like its romantic counterpart – the long distance relationship – long distance friendships also demand large amounts of effort and genuine care for one another for them to survive. As an international student whose closest friends are in Malaysia and Pakistan, I try extra hard to (virtually) catch-up with my friends in a way that enables us to interact with one another as though we aren’t oceans away. Texting just doesn’t convey certain emotions effectively sometimes. So here are some of the fun ways to maintain your long distance friendship (LDF) and no, I won’t remind you to text your friends or wish them happy birthday!
Themed Video Calls
Who says that theme parties are reserved for face-to-face interactions? Ditch your jammies and rock up as Harry Styles or a grandma instead for your next FaceTime call. My friends and I would find any excuse to dress up, especially since some of us are still in lockdown and to make it even better, I have my friends stay in character during the call while one person (the selected host which can be rotated among the group) remains as themselves. We pretend as though we’re on the Tonight Show which always makes the call even more entertaining! We did 24 stars once and of course, I had to show up as my true love, Timothee Chalamet. Some interesting theme ideas include the MET Gala, rock star bf and model gf (ie: Jesse Rutherford and Devon Lee Carlson, etc), and your top Spotify artist.
We all know that one friend we could never look at when presenting in front of the class because the moment we make eye contact, all laughter will break loose. If you’ve been a victim to that, here’s an idea to redeem yourself though I can’t guarantee you’ll be able to take this seriously either. Each friend makes a PowerPoint presentation on any topic of their choice (the more absurd and wackier it is, the better). Each topic remains a secret. Then, each member will randomly draw out a presentation for themselves (if your party only consists of wo people, then swap them) and the topic will only be revealed to the presenter at right before their presentation. Spontaneous and hilarious, what’s not to love? My friends and I have not tried this one out yet but we’ve sent each other countless TikTok videos of people doing this, so if you’re reading this, my friends, let’s give it a shot.
Heart to Heart Sesh
If you have been on Instagram for a while, you might have stumbled upon an account called @wearenotreallystrangers. They created the emotional card game of the same name. It’s a great game to get deeper with your friends and learn about where they are now, emotionally and mentally. I learnt once in my college’s Psychology class that a bond is strengthened when members of the group experience and share similar hardships or emotional situations. My close friendships are built upon mutual trust, and the ability for each of us to wear our hearts on our sleeve and be vulnerable to each other.
Warning: Tears and heartaches might be summoned – have a tissue on hand and remember, the University’s Counselling Support is always there to help.
Sometimes, distance is merely another barrier in your friendship that you can overcome if you put your heart into it. In some ways, we’re lucky to be living in the golden age of the internet which makes LDFs a little easier. For me, true friends will stay with you no matter how far you are or how little you are able to communicate with each other.