I think we’ve had quite a good relationship so far, dear reader: we check in every few days; you know quite a lot about what I think, and we’re quite encouraging towards each other. But at this juncture in our relationship, it feels weird that there are very important people in my life that you are yet to meet. This is the kind of time that we would be taking a drive to meet parents, sharing birthday parties with old friends, and getting to know each others’ worlds.
Allow me to introduce you to my best friend. Her name is Claire – at age eight, I saw the new girl in the playground, and thought she looks like she could do with a friend – and sixteen years later, she can’t get rid of me. We’ve been through school, college, boys, parties, university, moving away, dramas, heartbreak, and everything in between – and she’s still my go-to friend when anything happens. When there’s good news, she’s the first person I want to tell, and when there’s bad news, I know that she would want that text. She’s the person that I would drive across the country for at a moment’s notice. She’s the one that I’ll want to spend birthdays, Christmas’, new years’ parties with until we’re old, and our kids are driving to see each other at university.
This is one of the side effects of growing up and growing out of the town that you grew up in: friends get further away, lives get better – I blinked, and now I’m almost 25 and living on the other side of the country from the girl that I used to share every day with.
But, over the years, I’ve discovered more and more the value of forever-friendships like this. They don’t remain the same way that they are at age eight, or twelve, or fifteen – but I’m glad of that. Keep your forever-friends close: they are i m p o r t a n t.
Here are some of the ways that we have found help us to keep a long-distance-BFF-ship strong:
Keep Each Other in the Loop –
That text is important, that quick phone call on the way to work, that little snippet of news that you can just ping across when you’ve got a moment. Don’t let them find out about the important things by seeing it on Facebook – they are worth more than that. Care about the little things as well as the big things.
Champion Each Other –
Knowing that you have a cheerleader is one of the most encouraging things. When we know that someone is on our side, it makes us feel stronger and more able to take on the world. So big them up – honour them, encourage, build up, remind them how great they are in the moments that they might forget. Get to know the things that they are doing, and make sure they know that they are needed there.
Facetime is a Gift –
Seriously, you need this in your life. Facetime dinner dates, Facetime coffees, Facetiming while you’re just pottering around the house – it makes it feel a little more like you’re doing life together. Sometimes just seeing a face is enough comfort.
Love their Friends –
The aim is not to be their only friend, and the aim is not for them to pine for you when you are not there. When they are busy with people they love, hanging out with people that they love to be with, they are thriving. Love that – celebrate that they are thriving, and they’ll thrive with you.
Speak to Who They Are –
Be honest, and be kind. You get the honour of being one of the people that knows them to their core – and your input has value. You have seen the best and the worst of them, you get how amazing they are and how big their lives are – remind them. Be kind.
Share in their Interests –
We grow up, and we become interested in different things. The best thing about being a long-term BFF is that we get to see the seasons change over the years – but don’t try to keep them in the time that they have been in. Get into what they are into, let them tell you about what they love.
Make New Memories –
I’ve had the privilage of knowing Claire since we were eight, and we had some great times when we were teenagers. But remembering the things that happened when we were teenagers won’t sustain a friendship forever; we’re not those people anymore, and our lives are bigger than a need to keep hold of the things of the past.
Take the time to love the person that they are now – go on adventures, travel, meet each other’s people, take a glimpse in each others’ worlds. Keep the photos out, and remember the person that they are, not the person that they were.
“No distance of place or lapse of time can lessen the friendship of those who are thoroughly persuaded of each other’s worth.”