How to make a long distance friendship work

Being 20 and moving out on your own is scary. What’s scarier? Being 20 and moving 522 km away from your family and your best friend. For those of you who will be going to school or pursuing a career in another city, or country even, we understand. This is the story of how we held on and have become stronger ever since.

Dominique – I remember most of my friends telling me not to go, and how much they’d miss me. But those words never came out with Caroline. She always encouraged me to follow my dreams. I remember one summer day while we were driving to a little town near the city, we reached a stop light and she turned from the driver’s seat and said: “I’m really proud of you and you’re being so brave.” I had tears in my eyes. She genuinely wanted me to do well in life and she was pushing me towards my goal.

Even when I came back home on my emergency “I can’t do this anymore” trip, she clearly stated that she did not want to see me wandering the streets of Ottawa for another while. That I should really try and live the experience that I’d so determinedly wanted.

I’ve always admired her. To me, she’s always been invincible. She’s a strong, kind, creative, honest woman. And seeing that she was being strong when all I wanted was to crawl under my covers and hide, inspired me to continue with my journey. I couldn’t ask for a better person to tell my secrets to. So the fact that we have grown stronger and into different women and still have so much in common means a great deal.

Caroline – My closest ally, partner in crime and personal therapist moved to a different city, and I hated every minute of it.  Although proud to see that she was chasing her dreams and moving forward into adulthood, I was selfishly bitter that I was to be left behind to fend for myself. No longer a phone call and a short car ride away, we had to learn to make our situation work. 

Here’s what we did to minimize the distance pains:

Skype
C – Sometimes, a text conversation isn’t enough. You need face to face conversations, to be able to read facial expressions and just giggle together. We don’t do it very often, but when we need girl time, it’s the first thing we go to.

Snail Mail
C – We began sending each other letters a few months into our split. We still do it to this day, and on an irregular basis. Every time is a surprise. Some letters hold cries for help, well wishes, pictures, fun facts or encouraging words. There’s something magical about receiving a pretty envelope filled with delicate stationary and hand written love.

D – I remember being in a little town in Italy and finding some gorgeous stationary. I thought it was perfect to send to Caroline so of course I bought it. I find it heartwarming to receive something that’s homemade by mail. To know that that person loves and cares about you enough to take the time and make you something is reassuring.

Texting
C – We text. A lot. It’s nothing obsessive or overwhelming. However, when my best friend is in another city and my time is spent with boys and their toys, I want to text a woman who doesn’t make my ears bleed with computer facts and car parts. I share funny stories and embarrassing happenings regularly, it keeps us up to date and I find it important to share little things, that way our conversations aren’t always heavy.

D – To be honest, for me texting can sometimes be bitter sweet. I feel sad that I can’t physically be there to experience what she’s texting me about, but at the same time I feel happy that she’s keeping me posted about daily quirks and mishaps. And I do the same with her. It makes me feel like I’m not missing too much of her daily life.

Phone Calls
D – More often than not, I’ll use this method when I’m on the road and don’t have access to a computer and I know a text just won’t do what I’ve got to say justice. It’s always nice to hear an actual laugh instead of getting an “LOL”.

There are so many different ways to keep connected but this is what keeps us sane., and of course, there’s the odd visit, but we both understand that money is tight and we make do with what we’ve got.

How do you guys cope? Feel free to share your stories by commenting below or emailing lipsticklabels@gmail.com

As a bonus, here’s a ridiculous Halloween picture from highschool. We thought we were so cool…
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