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Long-distance friendships

People apart kept together.

 

Something that has become a lot more personal to me in recent years are long-distance friendships. Whether it is an age related phenomenon, a product of modernity or my own individual characteristics and life journey, I’m not entirely sure, but I’m guessing it’s a combination of all three. In general, I’ve been wondering why is it so difficult to keep friends as well as find new friends in the current climate without resorting to the “some work, some don’t”, which despite being true doesn’t really explain anything.

 

Of my three closest friends all are long-distance; one is in the nearest capital city, another is on the other side of the country, and the other is in a different country altogether…and no, the irony is not lost on me. I’m very much my own person, I like my own space, I don’t need to be around people all the time, so, probably it’s not a surprise I’ve developed friendships with people who aren’t near me.

 

“Are long-distance friendships about keeping people at a distance, but still wanting a connection?”

 

The thing is, however, I wouldn’t view it as a bad thing if I was around these people more often. I want to cultivate deep friendships we people, and most of the people you come across are not capable of that nor will they hang around in your life for that – which I’ve written about here. I still feel that working for myself, no longer playing sport, and the pandemic are also contributing factors for having more intimate long-distance friendships. I’m certainly not afraid of intimacy nor anti-social. The derangement of the modern human doesn’t make it easy nor does past events of childhood trauma greatly affecting my trust levels in other people.

 

I think it also largely depends on where and when the friendship originated, although I’m living proof that long-distance friendships can work a multitude of ways. One, I met over a decade ago when I was acting, and although we’re both no longer in that industry our friendship has remained rock solid and we still catch up a couple of times a year. Another, I only met once on a basketball tour of the US nearly 10 years ago, and we’ve been friends ever since despite not being in each other’s presence since then. And the other, I’ve never met in person, but struck up a great friendship over like interests. The key factor across all these friendships is that I’m in contact with them multiple times a week – I’m talking to and interacting with them regularly, even if I don’t see them.

 

Communication is the key, and technology has made it easier to have long-distance friends – or even to substitute the need to belong to those in close proximity to you (which it seems a lot of people are struggling with or whom simply opt out of altogether). If a friendship can survive over distance it makes it stronger – so many friendships/interactions depend on proximity to survive, you take it away and suddenly the friendship completely stops and has you question whether it was a friendship at all or merely a convenience.

 

“Sometimes I can’t help but feel that in trying to combat loneliness we’ve actually made ourselves more alone.”

 

I’m guilty of knowing more about someone I’ve never met from another country (possibly not even knowing their real name – internet alias) than people in my own neighbourhood, community, town or area. Friendship is ideally about doing things together and collectively sharing moments, so, without the internet I’m sure these long-distance friendships would suffer greatly – I know mine would!

 

As human beings we are social animals, we like regular close contact, but sadly this is not always possible. I would love it for my three aforementioned friends to be a lot closer to me; to be able to talk philosophy and politics over a coffee or catch a game or shoot some hoops or whatever, but it’s not the case, so I manage the best way I can.

 

In a very ironic sense, the people who were physically closer have become more distant, and those further away have become more closer to me.  



 

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With so much communication devices at the ready, I feel we are more alone than ever before. Some of us choose being alone and others, no matter how hard they try just seem unable to connect on any means with people.


I for one, have seen the absolute benefits of above mentioned long distance friendships that you have made Martyn, and you are so much better in yourself with the regular contact you have with these lovely people and I think they are just as happy to have you in their lives as well, such positivity knows no bounds :-) Long distance relationships/friendships do work as long as both parties are equally pursuing this and I would rather have o…


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Martyn Foster
Martyn Foster
05 de jul.
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Thanks Mum xo ❤️ Haha well I hope they're just as happy 😂 Always good for a jab at social media 😉

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