Keep reading for tips on how to maintain a long distance friendship while you’re at UBC!
Understand that what makes friendships precious is that they won’t last forever. What makes them valuable is that they might.
From moving to a new city to attend UBC and a from a second new city to visit my parents (after considering one place home most of my life) the end of high school brought me to terms with the fact that my friendships would be permanently changed. To this day, I miss the route I would take to go to my friend’s house, the traffic light at that one left turn. I miss getting the texts of “I’m outside”, and running out to the Toyota Camry that, let’s face it, I spent more time in than my own room.
Most of my classmates went to similar universities where they could bring the security of high school bonds with them, while I had to adjust to two new environments. No matter the country or continent you’re on, you’re all tied together by the habits they’ve never judged you for, the interests only you two share, the secrets they’ve helped you keep, and the late-night memories. Here are some lessons I’ve learned about maintaining those long distance friendships.
1. Put in the effort even while you’re at UBC.
It sounds simple enough but not just one of you should be texting or asking to FaceTime, it takes two, and it shouldn’t have to feel like a chore. Long-distance interaction isn’t just liking their Instagram photo or leaving a cliché comment of affection on Facebook. It’s returning their missed phone call, remembering the small details, and asking how they’ve been and meaning it.
2. Use social media to your advantage.
With all of the different communication apps that exist today, we have more options than just the generic text message. I tend to use Facebook, WhatsApp, and Snapchat the most, though I prefer FaceTime above all. Sometimes change up how you communicate. On some nights, my friend and I will set up FaceTime next to Netflix and find something to watch simultaneously. Although texts are convenient and quick, all stories sound better through video chat and you’ll be reminded of your best friend’s laugh you hate to love.
3. Remember that all long distance friendships are different.
It all depends on your personality and the type of friendship you have. You might not need to update each other on every moment every week, but when you’re finally able to meet up, it’s like nothing changed. Or with other friends, you’ll be updating them on your moments while you’re having them. Remind yourself that not everyone thinks like you do. You might feel neglected while your friend has been radio silent on vacation for several weeks, but they might not think that anything’s wrong.
4. Don’t make promises you can’t keep.
We all know at least one person who is all talk. You run into each other and they enthusiastically talk about getting together soon but don’t act upon it. If we continuously flake or forget to make plans, soon enough our friends will stop asking.
5. Don’t neglect them if you’re not busy with your studies at UBC.
Let’s be honest, they’ll probably know if you’re avoiding them or putting off replying to their text. Our phones pretty much never leave our side. There’s only so many times we can use the excuse of saying our phone is dead or that it’s getting repaired. And if you ignore their text but update your Snapchat story, they’re bound to notice and your long distance friendships definitely won’t last.
6. It’s okay to have high expectations.
We tend to idealize long distance friendships and brush the things that annoy us under the rug just to avoid the stress that comes with confrontation. Only you know how you want to be treated. If we ignore what’s bothering us just for the sake of staying comfortable, we give others permission to walk all over us.
7. Not all friendships can endure long-distance.
Once I moved away to college, I realized who were meant to stay in my life despite the number of mileage we were apart. Some friendships grew closer while I realized that others only existed because it was convenient. We may make excuses to keep up with certain friendships just because we’ve had them for so long. But if you’ve really grown apart, your efforts become more forced and less genuine.
8. You’ve appreciate each other more now that you can’t see each other on a daily basis.
As we get comfortable, we’ve all at some point taken our friends for granted but time and distance apart reminds us how lucky we are to have the social circles we do.
Do you have any tips for making long distance friendships work at UBC? Comment below and share this article with a friend!
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Currently studying at the University of British Columbia, Tori aspires to major in Social Justice and International Relations. She is currently switching between the border, living in Vancouver and Seattle. When not writing, she is probably re-watching the Devil Wears Prada, expanding her stamp collection, or attempting to satiate her wanderlust.