On Nurturing Friendships Over Time And Distance

Photo: Mercedes Bleth

There’s a certain feeling that my close friends give me: Serenity. Ease of mind. Peace. Days, weeks, maybe even months can go by and although I haven’t physically connected with them, I know our friendship is still strong.

This feeling of sureness sticks with me lately, having congratulated two of my closest friends on new endeavors that have moved them across the country from me. It’s a Band-Aid I had to rip off once I was living the reality that I couldn’t just drop in and physically be in the same space as them anymore. That when their hugs are needed I’ll have to Face Time instead of just run on over. Although it sucks to not physically have them in the same city as me, I still feel them close to my heart and mind. I think of them constantly, and am honestly so excited for their futures. There’s something mature about these new feelings I have surrounding my friendships and I’m welcoming them with open arms.

When I started college I lost a lot of “friends.” People I considered lifelong pals, girls I thought would be next to me on my wedding day, boys I felt were brother figures. These friendships never felt secure to me. Maybe my high school days were made for lighthearted friendships like these, friendships that instead of bending to the shifts of personalities and interests—time zones and placements—broke under the weight of our differences. I only have a handful of close friends left from high school and I generally talk to them on a week-to-week basis. Checking in now that they’re back from college. But I have always felt secure in these friendships; positive and loved in. That’s why they’ve thrived.

Coming to understand the toxicity of my past has had me understanding why I made the types of friendships I did when I was younger. Now I understand why they didn’t last and why it’s okay that they didn’t last. They weren’t meant to.

So many people come into our lives only to be temporary and the majority of people I considered close in high school were just that: temporary. A fix to fit in and feel wanted even if I did not feel secure or well-liked all the time. At the time, I don’t think I ever viewed the majority of my friendships like this, I honestly held on to them so tightly so I wouldn’t feel alone. But when I started undergrad and began to meet more people like myself, I began to mature emotionally and recognize the sign of toxic people and situations. That’s why those friendships didn’t last. They were toxic. I was toxic. They needed to end. And that is okay.

I’ve opened my life to so many new great friendships and people, experiences. I feel so loved and cared for by every single person in my life right now and it has kept me stable while I uncover past trauma and work through it.

Here I am. I’m in graduate school, have a great group of friends that I hold very close to my heart, I feel the most secure in my relationships with others than I have in my whole lifetime. Having a friend across the country doesn’t seem so life threatening to me anymore. It just seems like another motion of life that I’m prepared for and ready to adapt to.

Becky Harrison, OWTL Contributor
Becky Harrison : Certified klutz, free spirited, go-get-em goof ball. Loves writing poetry and the beach. Strong believer in bucket lists.