Moving from New Jersey to North Carolina at the age of 14 was one of the hardest experiences of my life. Even harder was the challenge of maintaining all of my closest relationships now that there was a six hundred mile distance involved. I initially thought the process of keeping up with friends would be easy, and by wanting to continue the friendships I had made, I convinced myself long-distance relationships would be. Throughout the past seven years, I’ve learned just how wrong I was. Considering college is a time and place where many are forced into long-distance friendships, here are some tips and tricks from someone who is versed in the realm of media-based communication due to distance issues.

Don’t stress if your communication is varied. When I first moved, I constantly panicked when friends and I went a day without talking. I was convinced that this meant our relationship was completely doomed and texting would never resume. I have always been wrong. Those who have wanted to maintain relationships just as much as I have always reach out again. I eventually learned it simply meant my friends were busy adjusting, just as I was.

If you miss a long-distance pal, reach out and let them know. This may seem obvious, but I’ve often talked myself out of sending texts like these in fear of seeming overbearing and too clingy. It took me a while to understand that I’d be excited to receive a text like this from a long-distance pal, so why wouldn’t they feel the same when getting one from me? I have never once sent a text expressing my wishes to see/talk to someone and regretted it. I always feel reassured that my friends feel the same way, even if the disconnect prevents me from constantly feeling that way.

Find a way to connect despite the distance. I have found this to be the most helpful in up-keeping my long-distance friendships. It’s difficult to find things to discuss with someone you’re far away from. They can’t relate to the people around you because they don’t know them. This is especially true for college students because, typically, friends may be unable to relate to or understand your particular college experience. For this reason, finding companionship in a television series, movie franchise, etc., is a great way to outlet conversation. My friends and I were forced to rebuild conversation topics after I moved, and we were able to do that through our similar music tastes and interests in bands.

Make the most out of the time you do spend together. Long-distance relationships give you an excuse to go on vacation! Going to visit your friend’s campus on a long weekend or even spending time together over school breaks seems so much more rewarding when your time with them is restricted. Due to its rarity, time spent with my New Jersey friends is always entertaining. Every time I visit, we pay tribute to our musical-based connection and go to local concert shows. Visits are seemingly an opportunity to make up for lost time, but once reunited, you realize time was never really lost. It was merely hidden behind six-hundred miles of distance.

Long-distance friendships can be hard. Missing a friend is super difficult, but it is not unmanageable. I’m evidence of that, as I’ve struggled with my long-distance double life for seven years now. All of these pieces of advice have helped me manage, though some of the lessons took me a long time to learn. Hopefully some of this information can prove to be helpful and simultaneously save you from some of the troubles I endured. With all of this in mind, remember that distance makes the heart grow fonder.

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