I’ve already written a bit about my long-distance relationship with Andreas here, but let’s face it, that’s kind of old news. I wanted to talk about something a bit more current. My long-distance relationships with everyone else.
Moving away from your friends and family is hard. I was more than ready to jump ship and move to Denmark with Andreas (although I occasionally wonder if I would have looked forward to it so much if I could see how difficult it would be), and that was partly due to the fact that long-distance with Andreas worked really well. We didn’t necessarily Skype every day, we didn’t even get to talk every day (since by the time I was done with work/classes, he was asleep, and by the time he got up, I was asleep), but we would write messages before we would sleep, we wore matching bracelets, and I always knew he was there for me. People talk about trust as a factor in long-distance a lot. Trust was never an issue for us. I obviously trusted that he wasn’t creepin’ around with other girls over ther ein Denmark, but more than that, I trusted that he wouldn’t just up and “leave.” Long-distance makes breaking up a lot easier. Let’s face it, they’re not as ingrained into your routine as a regular partner would be, you don’t have to risk seeing them around campus after you’ve broken their heart, and it’s relatively easy to erase them from your life and try to move on. I never once thought Andreas would do this, but now that I’m trying to keep up long-distance relationships with all of my friends, I know that gut-wrenching panic that comes with realizing how quickly and cleanly you could be chopped out of their lives.
I don’t tell my friends things they probably don’t want to hear, because I know they could just…stop talking to me. If I do end up saying something maybe not-so-savory, a gush of liquid panic pools in my abdomen while I see their little “so-and-so is writing you a message” message until the words finally pop up. I fear offending or accidental feeling-hurting more than ever before. I re-state questions to try and make sure they don’t sound judgemental, even with my best friends. I try not to ask too many questions, in case I just seem nosy, and try not to volunteer too much information in case they’re busy, or in case they just don’t care.
Not everyone is good at keeping up long-distance relationships. With some friends, even if we weren’t close before, I feel perfectly at ease chatting with them over Facebook and I know what’s going on in their lives. I know what they had for dinner and when they have to work. With others, I sometimes feel like I have to pry information out of them, and feel largely left out of their lives. It’s hard to remind myself that their long-distance friendship style doesn’t define how close we are or how much we care about each other. It’s funny to see who I still feel close to, and who feels really, really far away.
There’s no “solution” to this “problem.” It’s just how people are, and how my life is at this point. All I can do is do my best to trust my friends, and try not to step on eggshells around them. Although, let’s face it, my default setting is eggshell-stepping. It’s only by accident or sudden radical (and more often than not, regrettable) actions that I cross or even come near any lines. But when I do, it’s scarier than ever, because I can’t make my friend talk to me. I can only say a weak “hello” on messenger, or send an email. It’s a bit scary to feel like you’re in such a powerless position, but I do my best to remember the trust I had for Andreas and apply it liberally to all long-distance relationships.
Now if only I could get all my friends and I to wear matching long-distance bracelets…