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The University of Pittsburgh's Daily Student Newspaper

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The University of Pittsburgh's Daily Student Newspaper

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The University of Pittsburgh's Daily Student Newspaper

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Column | Caitlin Clark adapts to life in the WNBA
Column | Caitlin Clark adapts to life in the WNBA
By James Carter, Staff Writer • June 20, 2024
Opinion | NHL needs to bring specialty jerseys back
By Jameson Keebler, Senior Staff Columnist • June 19, 2024

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Column | Caitlin Clark adapts to life in the WNBA
Column | Caitlin Clark adapts to life in the WNBA
By James Carter, Staff Writer • June 20, 2024
Opinion | NHL needs to bring specialty jerseys back
By Jameson Keebler, Senior Staff Columnist • June 19, 2024

Opinion | Long-distance friendships are possible

Opinion+%7C+Long-distance+friendships+are+possible
Carrington Bryan | Visual Editor

At this current moment in time, I can confidently say I am a Pittsburgh resident. While my driver’s license may be from my home state of Illinois, I spend nearly nine months of the year in our beloved steel city. This is the first time I will be spending the whole summer here, and I am excited to explore the city, get to know the neighborhoods better and spend time with the friends who have stuck around for the warmer, lantern-fly-filled months.

However, this does not mean I am able to neglect my relationships back home. I call my parents almost every day and my brother every few weeks. They’re easy, though. It is really the friendships that need the most effort put into them. They’re busy, I’m busy. They are not obligated to pick up the phone like my mom is, and that is where things can get tricky.

Fortunately, as someone who has maintained several long-distance friendships over the last three years, I can confidently say it is possible. With all the advice swimming around the internet geared towards long-distance relationships, what do you do when phone sex and dirty talk aren’t a fulfilling way to keep your bestie around?

I am no expert, and the truth is that you must be ready to potentially lose a few relationships when you move away. But with effort on both your part and your friends’, friendships can be just as easily maintained as if they were still living right down the street from you.

  1. Don’t force yourself to text.

As a massive introvert who also hates texting, I am incredibly prone to leaving people on delivered for days on end. While there are people I make sure to text back as timely as possible — my parents, grandparents and partner being the only winners of such titles — I simply do not have the mental capacity nor social energy to be texting people constantly. Establishing early on in your long-distance friendship that not texting every second of every day is perfectly normal can really fortify your bond and keep you from burning out and feeling like every spare second must be devoted to keeping your friend updated on your life.

I have been friends with my best friend Hannah since pre-school. We’re one of the few lucky pairs to make it out of elementary school fights and middle school drama. Even years ago, when we weren’t going to the same school but still lived less than a 10-minute walk from each other, we felt no obligation to constantly text each other. To this day, after her worldly travels and my jam-packed collegiate schedule in which we have been no less than 300 miles from each other outside of holidays and summer vacation, we still feel no obligation to text constantly. We can go hours and sometimes even days without speaking, but that doesn’t make her any less my best friend. It just affords us the energy to talk about more interesting things. Having an agreement that this communication style works for us saves us from burnout and keeps us in constant contact, even at our busiest. 

  1. Plan your in-person activities.

As a college student, I have the assurance that I will always be back in Illinois around holidays. When we get older and friends start to move across the country, if not the world, that one can be more challenging. However, regardless of whether or not you have a date picked out or an exact moment you know you are going to be together again, it is always good to plan your activities and time together for when you are actually together in person.

Another one of my long-distance friends and I text even less frequently than Hannah and I do. However, I know every time I am home, Veda and I will always make at least one date to get together and watch the classic Barbie movies together. I am not talking about the Greta Gerwig movie, I am talking about “Barbie in Princess and the Pauper,” “Barbie and the 12 Dancing Princesses” and “Barbie and the Three Musketeers.” I know that no matter what is going on or how frequently I go back home, Veda and I will always make this plan and will always follow through. It gives us something to talk about during the months I am away and gives us the perfect opportunity to catch up and chat before we hit play on my 15-year-old CDs. If we didn’t have this longstanding tradition and make these plans while we are away at school, who knows if Veda and I would still be as close as we are today.

  1. Take advantage of silly apps and memes.

When I say that sending memes and TikTok videos has kept me in touch with various friends from back home, I really truly mean it. Sometimes it is just too difficult to make plans, go and visit each other or maintain a steady stream of conversation through texts. However, when you end up mindlessly scrolling through Instagram, TikTok or some other kind of app, it takes five seconds to send something to a friend you are trying to stay in contact with. It shows them that you are thinking about them and gives you something to talk about, even if it is just a few messages back and forth.

I hate to admit that a majority of my childhood friendships are maintained this way, but truly, if it weren’t for a few shared interests and the variety the TikTok for your page shows us, I doubt I would have any contact with many people from back home. A funny meme about “Bridgerton,” a thirst trap of a beloved Marvel superhero or a video of Taylor Swift singing our favorite songs is all it takes for my friends and me to slide into each others’ direct messages. While we may not see each other every time we are back in our hometown, this form of communication has kept us in contact and gives us lots to talk about when we do see each other.

  1. Recognize that friendships change.

I think a big part about maintaining a long-distance friendship is to not force anything, but to also realize that relationships change and shift throughout our lives. Maintaining a long-distance friendship as if neither of you left is possible, but it takes a lot of work and a lot of time. But a majority of the time, you cannot force it to be the same no matter how hard you try.

Friendships will evolve alongside you, and at the end of the day, people deserve relationships where effort is reciprocal. While we cannot expect all our friends to be at 100% all of the time, we should hold ourselves and our friends to a higher standard. If you are putting in an amount of effort you are happy with and they are not reciprocating with what you need or think is adequate, it is probably best to recognize that at this time in your life, you just are not as close as you used to be. Maybe the friendship will devolve into a once-a-year coffee brunch when you are visiting your hometown or maybe just a simple like and comment on their Instagram posts, but forcing the relationship to be what it was will only lead to resentment. You can still love someone and wish the best for them even if you are not as close as you once were.

Growing up is hard, and leaving your friends seems to be one of the hardest parts. As long as all parties put in the effort, maintaining long-distance friendships is not as difficult as it might seem. Sure, your closeness may ebb and flow over time, but if you still care about the person, putting in the work to maintain that relationship shouldn’t feel like work to begin with.

Livia LaMarca is the assistant editor of the opinions desk who misses using the Oxford comma. She mostly writes about American political discourse, US pop culture and social movements. Write to her at [email protected] to share your own opinions!

About the Contributor
Livia LaMarca
Livia LaMarca, Assistant 51ӰԺ Editor
Livia LaMarca is a junior political science and sociology student from outside of Chicago. You can often find her studying for the LSAT and drinking copious amounts of coffee. Her hobbies include singing, crocheting & knitting, Marvel movies, and hanging with her dog Leo (who she misses very much). She enjoys writing about American political discourse and U.S. pop culture with a particular passion for social justice and equitable social programs. Livia's email —  — is always open if you'd like to share your own opinions or respond to an opinion column of hers.