Long-distance friendship survival guide

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A person reaching through a laptop screen to shake hands with the person sitting at the laptop. pixabay

Maintaining a healthy relationship from 964km away             

by reese estwick & gillian massie, staff writer & web writer

Long distance relationships are hard, especially when you live 964km away from your best friend. The drastic change from seeing each other every day to not seeing each other for a year has been really hard on our relationship as best friends. For both Reese and I, we have been eternally online this entire year both working and learning from home. While still trying to balance family, work, school, and well…life in general, it has been a challenge to maintain our friendship this past year. By outlining our own experiences, we hope that you can take our five-step friendship survival guide and apply it to your own friendships.

  • Set aside time to talk/connect

Although profs seem to believe that online learning has given students more time, that’s just not true. Since moving home, I have begun working full-time and volunteering on top of my heavy course load. This makes it hard to answer the phone whenever Gillian calls. We have had to set aside time to connect by literally scheduling it in the calendar. Making time for my bestie will always be a priority, even when it imposes upon my 9 p.m. bedtime.

  • Make plans for when you’re together as something to look forward to

Now is the prime time to plan and scope out new activities for when you can visit your best friend. Currently, Reese and I have looked into winery tours on trips when she comes to visit me. There are also museums and music festivals we both want to see and experience with one another.

  • You have to get creative (ways of communication without actual communication)

Sometimes calling and texting just won’t do it, and you need a funky fresh way to communicate. So far, we have sent letters back and forth, which are wonderful keepsakes that will be held forever in my treasure box. Email them Calendar events on Google Meet and send them cringey spam memes. We are both in the same book club on Facebook and we are doing a Survivor Running Challenge later this month. While we live in separate provinces now, we still find ways to be involved with one another like we were last year.

  • Make time to see each other IRL

A world where you can just drive into another province and hug your best friend 8 hours later seems like both a distant memory and a dream. The last time I saw Gill was when she backed into a phoneline poll in my backyard, almost a year ago. The last time I hugged my favourite person was a year ago – wow. COVID permitting, make time to hold your bestie in your arms, cry like babies, and (again) take no pictures because you are having so much fun.

  • Adjusting to a new normal

We’ve all spent a year normalizing the unimaginable and adjusting to a new way of living. If someone would have asked me a year and a half ago what the worst possible thing would be, I would have said being 8 hours away from Gilly – yet here we are, and there is no end in sight, and I will not be coming back to the U of R. Gill and I are learning how to survive a permanent long-distance friendship, and I can verify that it sucks – but for the right bestie, it’s so worth it.

Gillian Massie

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