Long Distance Friendships
Are they worth the effort it takes to keep them up?
I moved across the country ten years ago. I've kept in touch with old (mostly college) friends via facebook and the occasional pub night when I'm in town visiting my family. It's been fine but things and lives have changed. And I'm not sure I need to see most of them anymore. We've all changed and moved on with our lives.
Those who want to be in my life have made an effort to do so. The rest wait for me to visit and arrange everything.
|by Anonymous||reply 39||09/30/2013|
I once read that friendships can be like your wardrobe. You once wore an item of clothing often and enjoyed wearing it. But as time changed you no longer wore that item of clothing. Friendships can be the same. Your life changes and your clothes no longer fit your current life. The item of clothing goes to the back of your closet and you eventually no longer wear it at all. Same with friends. Your old friends do not fit in with your current life. Move on. Neither good nor bad. It just is.
|by Anonymous||reply 1||09/30/2013|
[quote]Those who want to be in my life have made an effort to do so. The rest wait for me to visit and arrange everything.
Yet, it sounds like you're not making much of an effort as well. You only see them when you happen to be in town visiting your family. You're not making a special trip to just see your friends. Why should they make an extra effort when you are not?
|by Anonymous||reply 2||09/30/2013|
I have a straight friend who moved away to go to grad school. He stayed there and has since started working in his profession, and he got married over the summer.
We've talked once since the wedding, because I wanted to send him some CDs I thought he'd like. At that time, I told him I didn't expect much in the way of contact, mostly because he works 80 hours a week, and he has lived up to my expectation.
It's no big deal, really, though I miss him. I like his wife, at least.
|by Anonymous||reply 3||09/30/2013|
[quote] Yet, it sounds like you're not making much of an effort as well. You only see them when you happen to be in town visiting your family. You're not making a special trip to just see your friends. Why should they make an extra effort when you are not?
It's a 4 hour flight and then a 3 hour drive. The trip usually costs around $1,000, just in travel expenses. Flight and rental car. Then there's gas, food, hotel, etc.
I make the trip at least twice a year. Unless there's a death or a wedding I'm not going to make the trip any more often than that. I'm there, I make myself free to see friends at least once per visit.
And once my parents (who are elderly) have passed away there's no reason for me to visit anymore at all.
No. They can make the effort to visit me once in a while. And a few do.
|by Anonymous||reply 4||09/30/2013|
[quote] I once read that friendships can be like your wardrobe. You once wore an item of clothing often and enjoyed wearing it. But as time changed you no longer wore that item of clothing.
That sounds a bit flip and very self-centered. I agree with your basic point, but friendships aren't a fucking shirt.
As for OP: I've moved a lot and most of my core group of friends are the ones I met in my college years.
My motto is "water the flowers that grow." If you have friends where there's still mutual respect and love, and they spend time with you when you're home, invite you, etc. then keep those going.
If you are doing all the heavy lifting in a relationship, and there's no interest on their part, let it go. It will smart for a bit, but ultimately, you shouldn't waste your time "making" a friendship happen.
You should also not feel an obligation to maintain old friendships just because. I tried at first to keep in touch with a lot more people, but as nice as they were at their core, they always wanted to live in the past. And after ten minutes of "remember when?" you run out of things to say. Let them go with love.
Sometimes with old friends it's a matter of scheduling. I learned a long time ago to make one event and invite everyone to it, so they understood that if they wanted to see me when I was in town, they could come to THIS place at this time. One close friend still lives in town and shares many of the same friends, so we usually have a small party at his house and people bring things so no one is dropping $50 at a bar or restaurants. It's lovely. And if someone can't or doesn't show, that's about them, not me.
|by Anonymous||reply 5||09/30/2013|
I had a long distance friend once. And then she died.
|by Anonymous||reply 6||09/30/2013|
Do you have to ask someone if you should wipe after you shit?
|by Anonymous||reply 7||09/30/2013|
All my best friendships are long-distance friendships.
I keep in electronic contact with them on a nearly daily basis (chat, text, facebook, twitter), and we visit each other once a year when we can or every other year at the outside (they are VERY long-distant friendships).
|by Anonymous||reply 8||09/30/2013|
R4 You managed to avoid answering the question. If you are not making an effort to visit them and doing it only when its convenient for you, why should they do anything differently?
|by Anonymous||reply 9||09/30/2013|
OP, most people have one or two friends they keep for a lifetime. Those are the ones you go out of your way to visit. Ive learned that with other friendships, most people are perfectly fine with an online and phone relationship, just so they can share major life events with you and know that you are ok. There is no need to discard a friend because you don't see each other physically. There are so many alternatives to that today.
|by Anonymous||reply 10||09/30/2013|
"I had a long distance friend once. And then she died."
What was on her ipad?
|by Anonymous||reply 11||09/30/2013|
[quote] You managed to avoid answering the question.. If you are not making an effort to visit them and doing it only when its convenient for you, why should they do anything differently?
Are you for real? I do make an effort to visit them. I don't have limitless amounts of money and time. I thought I already answered the question when I described how long, expensive and arduous the twice yearly trips are. I'm there twice a year and I make a point of being available to my friends for a visit, which I plan and arrange. I think that's more than sufficient.
Especially considering I'm not sure I even what to do that much anymore.
What kind of strange world do you live in?
|by Anonymous||reply 12||09/30/2013|
In this day and age it takes relatively very little effort to keep up long distance relationships. Email, social networking, skype, cheap long distance (you can talk as long as you want and aren't charged huge amounts for it) are all relatively recent conveniences.
|by Anonymous||reply 13||09/30/2013|
I moved from NYC to Nashville about 20 years. I had some incredibly close friends in NYC. A few of them are still closer to me than any friends I have here. The nature of the friendship changes. We don't go for dinner or movies, obviously, but they're still in my heart, we exchange texts or emails every so often, and, if I ever needed help or advice or a shoulder, they'd be there for me. I don't live anywhere near them, so we don't have the same sort of relationship, but they still mean a great deal to me.
|by Anonymous||reply 14||09/30/2013|
I think if you have to ask whether maintaining long distance friendships is worth it, it probably is not.
Of course it is worth it! Maybe not everyone friend you ever had- but certainly those who you love dearly and love you too.
I am going to CA Thurs (from NYC) to attend the wedding of one of one such friend, staying with another such friend, and well, would not want it any other way. These guys are my brothers, my support, and tied to my life for as long as we live. Both have spouses as well. I don't keep score with either of them. And they certainly do not with me.
Friends are about as important to me as anything in my life- both local and distant friends. That said, I have not maintained life-long relationships with every friend I have had in my life, either local or long distance.
|by Anonymous||reply 15||09/30/2013|
OP you are not making an effort to visit them. You are squeezing in a visit to them in between seeing your family. An effort would be if went to see them and ONLY them. Right now, all you're doing is killing two birds with one stone. If it wasnt for the fact your family is there, you wouldnt go to see your friends at all. You say so yourself.
|by Anonymous||reply 16||09/30/2013|
OP, pay no attention to R2 and R9.
You're the one going home -- your friends don't spend money to come out where you live.
Friendships are difficult; it's been said if people really want to make time for you (one) then they will.
It's frustrating for me when people I make time for don't make time for me because I like them.
|by Anonymous||reply 18||09/30/2013|
Tell you what R16, when OP's pals visit THEIR family in OP's new town then they can squeeze him in?
That fit with your logic?
|by Anonymous||reply 19||09/30/2013|
R17 and yet, my friends actually make an effort to visit me and not use the excuse, "well I was in town anyway, so, what the hell."
|by Anonymous||reply 20||09/30/2013|
I have found that many of my college friends, I have grown out of. They're either republicans, closeted or quickly moving into Frau territory. We spent our college days consumed with fun, drugs and alcohol. It no wonder really we didn't get to know each other very well. I just realized one of my best friends in college is a total manipulative sociopath. How is that possible over 20 years later? But, I still make an effort with the few that I know are good people. It's a challenge but worth it.
|by Anonymous||reply 21||09/30/2013|
R19 They would be doing nothing different than what he is doing, so sure, it sounds fair.
|by Anonymous||reply 22||09/30/2013|
I have not seen my very best friend for more than a year. And we live in the same big city. He has 3 kids and started a new business. From time to time I'll send an e-mail and he always respond saying how sorry he is for his silence, he misses me blah-blah-blah but he is so very busy blah-blah-blah. I've clearly been supportive and did not push, just sending good wishes and telling him that I treasure his friendship, I believe in him and all that positive stuff. Yet he does not contact me on his own, no news, no invites for a drink. Nothing. I've concluded that our friendship is pretty much dead. And I've been as sad about it as if it were the end of a love relationship. I feel that I've sent so many long e-mails about how I miss our times together that, at this point, it would be like begging for his friendship. That I refuse to do.
|by Anonymous||reply 23||09/30/2013|
Unless it was a unique, long and close friendship before distance was a factor, expect the friendship to fade much more quickly than you'd imagine. Even "best friends" relationships tend to wither and die without the nurturing only doing things together can provide; and those deaths are among the most surprising, frustrating, painful and bitter. It's best to say your goodbyes face to face, wish each other well and keep post-move contact as minimal as possible.
|by Anonymous||reply 24||09/30/2013|
r16 is correct. I had to read one of my best friends for trying to guilt trip me for not coming to visit her, when she only comes to see me when she has another friend in my city that is having a wedding or a baby. This would have been fine if she wasn't trying to kid herself into thinking that she was making some grand journey to see me, and I let her know it.
So yes, if OP has no intentions of visiting home when his parents kick the bucket, he is not really making an effort.
|by Anonymous||reply 25||09/30/2013|
OP, I have been in your shoes numerous times.
I've moved 5 different times in my life. Spent more than half my life in the area around my hometown. Went away to college and came back. My high school friends all disappeared when I came out of the closet. This was a long time ago.
When I moved away from home, I made an effort to stay in touch with friends I made in my college years. I'd try to see them when I went back to see my family. There was always some friction here. My family would get annoyed at me for wanting to spend time with friends. Friends wouldn't be available during the available window of time I could get away from the family. It was always a juggling act.
Over the years a number of friends ended up in the city I moved to after college. In fact around a half dozen of them came there after they finished school.
I left there after a number of years for a job and moved to a place that none of my friends would ever want to visit. During this time I'd visit my family and see people who were still there. I made the occasional trip to the place I lived before and spent time with friends there.
I moved again about 8 years ago. I had a flurry of visitors over the first few years since a lot of my friends saw it as an inexpensive opportunity to visit where I live. The visits have declined over the past several years. My parents both passed away in this time so I have less reason to visit "home." My last trip back was for my mother's funeral. There are only a couple of friends left back in my home town that I'd like to see again, but since I'm not visiting as often those friendships have faded.
To those who are getting on the OP form "squeezing" his friend in when he visits family are completely out of touch with reality. This is how it works. The majority of my time off from work is taken up by family obligations and doctor's visits etc. In this economy not everybody can afford to travel.
Keeping in touch via social media has made things a little easier. You can keep up with friends a lot easier this way.
See your friends when you can on your visits to your family. Don't expect anybody to make a special trip to come see you. If you are lucky enough to have landed in a place that people come to on vacation, you'll probably have a better chance of seeing old friends.
One of my friends visits me at least once a year if he can afford it. He loves the area where I'm living. The rest of my friends have no interest. My best friend who I have stayed in touch with for 30 years, has never visited. I have seen him on trips I have made. We've also met up in other places.
|by Anonymous||reply 26||09/30/2013|
OP, just ignore r16 /r20 /r22. He's clearly picking on you for no good reason--someone pissed in his cornflakes this morning and he's getting his aggression out on you.
|by Anonymous||reply 27||09/30/2013|
R27 yawn. You cant come up with any substantial or rational reason for why I am wrong, so you call names. Well played.
As soon as OP's parents kick it, he has no intention of ever visiting these friends again. They just are not worth the effort. In fact, they are not even worth the effort now. Poor guy, lets all feel sorry for him. Just because he is indifferent about the friendship doesn't mean they should be too, right?
|by Anonymous||reply 28||09/30/2013|
To satisfy R16, 20, R22 what you will need to do is fly to see your parents and MAKE NO ATTEMPT to see any old friends.
Then, again to satisfy the nut case above, you must call your friends ON A SEPARATE TRIP and DO NOT CALL your parents.
These two groups of loved ones MUST be kept separate!
This is the ONLY WAY of showing your true commitment to your old friends.
|by Anonymous||reply 29||09/30/2013|
Most long-distance friendships fail considerably over time unless both parties make a real effort.
Friendship has a lot to do with what two people have in common. Once you can no longer do things together every month, that cuts down on a lot of it. Most old college friendships or high school friendships wind up with the two of you talking over the past together--which is fun for about an hour.
|by Anonymous||reply 30||09/30/2013|
You've proven my point yet again, r28.
You keep posting the same thing over and over again just because you want to be mean to the OP. You have nothing new at all to add to your point or to the conversation.
|by Anonymous||reply 31||09/30/2013|
R28 is still living in his mother's basement.
|by Anonymous||reply 32||09/30/2013|
r27, he is not picking on OP. But OP cannot pretend in his mind like he is making a trip to see his friends, when really it's a trip to see his parents that he can conveniently see his friends during. People do this all the time. There is nothing wrong with it, until they start to have delusions about their friends not caring them just because they don't have the same convenient arrangement to visit their parents and friends on the same dime.
|by Anonymous||reply 33||09/30/2013|
[quote][R27], he is not picking on OP.
And I am the queen of Rumania.
|by Anonymous||reply 34||09/30/2013|
R31 maybe I keep posting the same thing over and over again because idiots cant seem to wrap their heads around the facts. Fact: OP only visits his friends when its convenient FOR HIM. Fact: OP has no intention of visiting these alleged friends once he has no reason to visit their town because it's its just not worth the effort. Those are the facts, as stated by OP. All I did was point out how these facts seem to indicate he really is not making the same effort he expects his friends to make. He expects from his friends something he is not willing to do himself. You can call me names all you like, but it doesn't change the facts.
|by Anonymous||reply 35||09/30/2013|
If the friends who the OP see when he visits home are making special trips to see him, then it is an issue. Friendships go two ways. If the friends have never made the effort to visit the OP, then the friendship is going to fade.
Why would the OP continue to visit after his parents are gone, if these friends make no effort on their part?
|by Anonymous||reply 36||09/30/2013|
R21, I'm the same way. My college friends were once fun and open-minded, but as the years have gone by, their politics, viewpoints and personality changed as well.
That's ok, because we all change and adapt. I'm certainly not the same person I was when I was in college, in grad school, or even 5 years ago. Some things are more or less important now as they were back then. Family obligations, career/work and moving change you and others about what is and what is not important to you anymore, and that is ok.
I have to add though - if you took 20 years to see your best friend from college as a manipulative sociopath as you say they are then you are really dense, co-dependent or very needy/emotional. Or perhaps you were trying too hard to "get" with your friend. Just my 2 cents.
|by Anonymous||reply 37||09/30/2013|
I haven't seen my closest friend in more than ten years but we talk every week for at least an hour.
|by Anonymous||reply 38||09/30/2013|
Both of my best friends live on the opposite ends of the country. One is in Cali, the other in Florida. I'm in Texas.
I make it a point to see them and they come see me when we all have the time and funds to do so. Though not daily, we talk pretty regularly through phone, e-mail and chats online. One I have known since college and the other I suffered through grad school with.
Our lives are vastly different than they used to be, but I keep them close and they do the same with me because we all make the effort to nurture and maintain the friendship. You make time for the people you love
|by Anonymous||reply 39||09/30/2013|