It’s the end of winter break and everyone is coming back to campus. Personally, I think about all the friendly faces I hope to see around campus and in my classes. I am always looking forward to catching up since I last saw some of my favorite people from all corners of the world. Most of my friends traveled back home to see their families and friends from their hometown, leaving us separated until the grind of the semester comes to unite us again. The separation during winter break, no matter how fleeting, made me think about the long-distance relationships I have made over the years and how being in college has affected them in different ways.
Over the years, I have gained a few long-distance relationships, ranging from amazing friendships to romantic relationships. No matter how distance comes into the picture, distance is always hard. It is always an adjustment, but it doesn’t have to spell out disaster. Kindred spirits seem to be spread far and wide, yet never close enough to each other.
Personally, I have more than a few long-distance relationships of different kinds, all of which are thriving. No matter if it’s 60 miles or 2,000 miles, distance is distance and it will get you down if you don’t learn how to counteract it. There are three major ways I have found to help combat the long-distance blues. Number one is to make sure to catch up often, maybe at least once a week. A longer phone or video call is hard to fit into a busy schedule, but letting exciting events pile up in the past makes being and feeling connected harder for everyone.
College can make carving out the time for video calls hard to do when there never seem to be enough hours in the day. When you are short on time, try recycling the time you spend doing monotonous tasks like doing laundry, exercising or grocery shopping. Sometimes the extra time you need to be able to talk is just hidden in plain sight.
Number two is to try to check in as often as you can. Being in person with friends is something that sustains the friendship more than you realize, so when it comes to the long-distance relationships you must find ways to compensate for the deficit. Friends who live nearby run the chance of bumping into each other from time to time while out shopping or at dinner. When you are separated by distance it is easy to feel like the everyday life with the people who live close by is drowning out thoughts of your distant friend or significant other. I have found that short messages and texts throughout the day, in the little moments between class and work, help make up for the lack of actual face time and help everyone feel more connected.
Number three, which is the last and most obvious tip, is to take trips to see each other as often as you can. Be careful not to push yourself too much and visit at the expense of sleep and school work. Visiting with your friend or significant other should always be a relaxing and fun time for each of you. Going for a visit when you are tired and stressed is a recipe for disaster that could otherwise be avoided. When it comes down to the bottom line, where there is love and a fondness for each other, there is nothing you both can’t overcome together.