‘Obviously, a long-distance relationship is hard. But, like anything worth having, you make it work’ – Leona Lewis
Growing up on an Army base means that the majority of my friendships as a child were fleeting; we all moved around every 3 years or so, so if they didn’t bugger off to another country halfway through our friendship, I did. A few I became pen pals with and have since reconnected with on Facebook but for the most part, no real solid friendships were made.
Don’t get me wrong, I had a charmed childhood; great weather, 10 week long summer holidays, average class sizes of around 10 but I get green with envy when I hear people talk about someone they’ve known since they were kids. I also feel we missed out with loads of family time as I only ever saw my grandparents, cousins, aunties and uncles once a year if that. All of our relationships, apart from the four of us, were long distance.
Helen & Meagan
I met Meagan when I was 15, on the internet in a Backstreet Boys chat room. It seemed my allocated hour of internet usage on a Sunday morning coincided with her allocated hour on a Saturday night and we quickly became close. We then became email pen pals, in contact almost on a daily basis and in 2001 we finally met in London when she was over in the UK studying in Oxford (after spending what felt like 6 months convincing my parents it was ok to let their 19 year old daughter travel to London to meet someone off the internet!)
Since then we’ve grabbed every opportunity to see each other wherever we may be. I visited her in college in 2002 in Nebraska, she was studying in Spain in 2004 and flew to see me in Cramlington. In 2006 Dave and I were on holiday in Orlando and she flew down to spend a few days together and loads of other times since then. Most importantly, she flew to England for what was essentially a long weekend to come to my wedding in 2013. I love how we’ve integrated into each other lives even though we’re miles apart; her friends and family have become my friends and family and vice versa. I love how her and my dad banter about baseball and politics over twitter or how she will wish my friends happy birthday over Facebook, because any friend of mine is also a friend of hers.
Of course it gets difficult sometimes. There’s days when I may be struggling with something or see a piece of super exciting boyband news and I want to go to the pub with her to have a full debrief of the situation but I can’t. Whatsapp and Facebook have made things loads easier but it’s not the same as being in the same room as someone. I know she’s always at the other end of the phone or email though if i ever need her. It sucks we don’t get to do normal friends things like go to the pictures together or meet after work for a drink; but we do get to have amazing adventures together instead which is a happy compromise.
Sam & Jo
My best friend Jo who I met when I started middle school at age 10 has lived apart from me since we were 18 when she left Cramlington to start uni in York (she now lives in Manchester). It is mad to think that now we are 32 we have spent more years apart than together but between the ages of 10-18 we forged a super strong bond that I think is unbreakable.
We don’t chat on the phone/on Facebook as Jo is super busy with a demanding job and I am busy at home with three kids and work and we only see each other two-four times a year (we always make the effort to spend the day together around Christmas time and at some other point through the year) but when we do that bond is instantly back and we just pick up our conversation where we left off. We can tell each other anything even if it has been 12 months since our last meet up and I think that’s pretty special.
Holli & Laura
We met back in 2009 on our first day at Teesside University, where we were allocated the same grubby little student house along with eight other girls. As student life goes, we ended up getting drunk together for two weeks straight during Fresher’s after which we felt like we’d known each other our whole lives.
In 2012 when we graduated and it was time for us to move back home and get ‘proper’ jobs, Laura headed home to Lytham St Anne’s in the North West whereas I decided to make a go of it in Newcastle in the North East with my boyfriend who I’d also met at university. Since then, we’ve relied on WhatsApp, Snapchat or speaking on Facebook Chat to keep in touch. As is a best friend’s duty, we’re still on hand to give each other fashion advice, albeit not from the changing rooms, but we’ll Snapchat each other photos of outfits we’re considering to get the other’s honest opinion. When there’s something really big we need to talk about (like Laura’s recent engagement eeeek) we’ll have a phone call where minutes seem to turn into hours without us realising.
Of course, like any long distance friendship, life can sometimes get in the way and you feel like you’ve drifted apart, but the great thing about my friendship with Laura is, no matter how many days, weeks or months its been since we’ve spoke, as soon as we pick up that phone to have a catch up it feels like we’ve never been apart. We’ve sort of got this unspoken understanding that no matter how long its been, we’ll be there for each other as soon as we’re needed. It doesn’t matter if we don’t speak every day, because we know that when we do we’ll have loads to catch up on.
Fast forward to 2016 and we’ve even started a blog together (https://shesaidshesaid.co.uk/) as a way to keep in touch and share what we’ve been up to! We’ll write about our own little adventures and send drafts to each other to edit. Who’d have thought we’d find a hobby we can share together whilst 150 miles apart!