Saturday, September 5, 2015

Far Away Friendships

How I deal with long distance friendships.

Some of my favorite people in the world do not live near me at all. One lives 24 hours away which is roughly 1,717 miles while another lives 45 hours away which is 3,152 miles. That is no hop, skip and a jump. Though I do have friends only 5 1/2 hours away or 342 miles and even closer friends 32 miles away which is a 40 minute drive if the highway through the mountains isn't at a snails pace. These are my closest and most trusted friends and I only get to see them in person maybe once every year or two. I will admit that it totally sucks! If I could buy a huge plot of land and have each of them put a house on it so we could be neighbors I would but that is unrealistic. So what I do is rely heavily on technology. 

Technology I have found useful:

Texting: I probably use this more than anything else. It is helpful because if they are busy or asleep I know eventually they will get my message. I can send pictures to them as well of funny things that remind me of them or of myself so they don't forget what I look like. It is an easy way to have prolonged conversations. Though the conversation is lacking dimension because you do not get to see or hear the other person which are my favorite parts of talking to my friends it is something you sacrifice to keep in touch. 

Instagram: I am constantly uploading new pictures of what I am doing onto Instagram because then my friends can be updated on my life whenever they feel like it since I can't really talk to everyone all the time. The little tidbits I share reflect what I would want to tell my friends about. Vice versa with my friends who have Instagram as well. I comment on their photos so they can see I am still thinking about them even if I don't have time to call.

Phone calls: I actually like talking on the phone but its harder to do than any of the others. Signal plays a huge factor on my phone call experience. Without good service its a static mess of what do I think they are saying since I only hear every other word. Because I don't want to risk the call dropping I use to get off work at ten at night and go sit in my locked car in the parking lot chatting away. Right now I am in a constant game of tag with one of my friends where I actually leave voice mails saying "tag your it" because we are always missing each other. But when I do get a hold of one of my friends we talk for hours if signal provides it. 

Video chat: I am giving this one a shot recently because I like that it uses wifi so I don't have to have a good signal. I have found though it is a bit weird to use. Trying to find something to lean your phone against with a normal angle so your friend isn't looking up your nose is key. What ends up happening after the conversation is had is that nobody really wants to hang up but there is nothing else to say so both parties just work on something in front of them and leave video chat open mostly so you can glance up at the other person with occasional small talk about what they are doing.

Technology I haven't found useful:

Facebook: There are to many news articles, quizzes, links to random sites, commercials, videos being shared I hardly see a normal status written by a human I know. Most of my long distance friends are hardly on their facebooks anyways because they are working or at school but also the fact that it is like being in the yahoo news section now I think a lot of my close friends are turned off by it. Occasionally I update my pictures so that various family members scattered around the states can get updates about what I am doing but nothing much else. I don't even go on other peoples pages that often because I don't feel like scrolling through all the shares they have going on.

Twitter: None of my friends use this or have kept up with this. It is to much effort to post what you are doing all the time and I am in no way clever enough to think of something witty to post on a daily basis. (Though I love reading random funny tweets from celebrities.)

I want to start writing letters to my friends. Hand written on paper sent through the post office messages. I think that receiving a letter could be amazing and that it would give my friends something tangible from me. In the digital age mail is more of a treat now unless it's bills. I want to do this so that if they miss me they can read the letter I have taken time to write instead of scrolling up in their phones to a text that might have made them smile. 

Long distance makes me sad sometimes. I don't get to participate in big moments anymore and worse not even small moments. A simple hug from each of my far away friends is something I crave. I miss them. I miss the smiles, laughs, jokes and advice they give me. Each person is so different and unique its amazing I found them all. So even though it is hard to be so far away and so conversationally disconnected the best part about loving all of these weirdos is that I know they love me too.  

I have not perfected the long distance friendship method and I frankly do not want to. I want to see my friends more than once every two years and talk to them more than just randomly but for now we are all apart but even though we don't keep up to date on everything I know they love me always. And as my 45 hours away gingery firecraker said "everyone's busy but the love never stops flowing".


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