A Tale of Two Cities.

One of the reasons I love the blogosphere is the inspiration you can find day-to-day. There’s a world at your fingertips filled with stories, dreams, hopes, lessons, and ideas. It is simply beautiful.

The other day I was scrolling through my blog reader and stumbled across a post from Meg at Rivers + Roads talking about how she met her best friend. The blog post encouraged my heart to retrace the steps of my own best friendship, and the ways in which we’ve grown over the years.

{Update: Back in October, I wrote about facing the unknown with my best friend, Elizabeth, after she received a diagnosis for a rare cancer. After a transplant and chemotherapy throughout the beginning of 2014, I can happily say she is now back home and getting her heal on.}

Atlantic City Collage / from TheSirensTale.com

Elizabeth and I first met through work while we were living in Baltimore in 2009. After an impromptu weekend trip to Atlantic City, we became instant close friends, sharing stories of homesickness, work laughter, and trouble in love.

Shortly afterwards, we both left the city and returned to our home towns. I returned to the East Coast (Massachusetts) and Elizabeth returned to the Midwest (Indiana), putting one thousand miles in between us. That was the start of a long distance friendship that has grown stronger every year despite the miles.

First Reunion / from TheSirensTale.com
After moving back home and having far too many miles in between us, we began having annual reunions. Our first reunion took place in Massachusetts’ historical cities, Boston and Salem. Behind all the tourist attractions and photo opportunities, our friendship was thickening, weaving experiences and secrets throughout the days.

Second Reunion / from TheSirensTale.com
For our second reunion, we met halfway between our home states, landing us in Western New York on the border of Michigan. This reunion we brought our new boyfriends in tow, but stayed focused on one another. I’ll never forget the nights filled with fire pits, marshmallows, ghost stories, and hysterical laughter.

Despite having annual reunions since 2010, it’s difficult having a long distance friendship. When you’re having a bad day, you can’t turn to your best friend for a hug or a shoulder to cry on. When you’re nervous about the present or future, you can’t spend the night in jammies talking it out over take-out and bad television shows. When the good times roll in, you’re not able to jump up and down together or have impromptu dance parties as a celebration.

Fourth Reunion / from TheSirensTale.com

Hands down, Elizabeth is the guru in our duo when it comes to strengthening a long distance bond. Despite the miles and months in between our lives, she works hard at making our friendship feel as though we live in the same town. Add this to the uncountable list of reasons why she’s not only my best friend, but a role model for me.

Through the years, I’ve picked up a few lessons from Elizabeth on strengthening a friendship, no matter how many miles lie in between.

Long Distance Friendships / from TheSirensTale.com

1. Share life’s bigs and littles.
Don’t forget to share your moments, big and small. Whether it’s a quick text message to say how idiotic your work day has been, or a long phone conversation catching up on all the big things that have happened in your life lately… stay connected!

2. Send care packages.
Let your best friend know they’re on your mind whether you’re together or apart. Elizabeth and I send each other care packages of little trinkets that we find day-to-day that make us think of one another. Besides, who doesn’t love snail mail?

3. Lean on social media.
Sure, I have some issues with the negative side of social media, but that doesn’t stop me from relying on every available avenue to stay connected with my best friend. We use several forms of social media to say everything from ‘I’m thinking of you‘ to ‘Get a load of what’s up in my life right now‘.

4. Visit as much as possible.
Depending on your friendship and the distance between, you may be able to visit monthly, yearly, or every few years. No matter what, see each other as much as possible.

5. Pretend they live next door.
Remove the barrier of distance and play a little make-believe. Some of the things we share daily are insignificant in the big picture of life, whether it be a nail color she found or a book I noticed. By pretending your best friend lives next door, you’re not choosing between good/bad or big/little items to share; you’re simply sharing communication, your lives, and strengthening your bond.

Do you have any long distance friendships?
How do you support your friendships?

27 responses to “A Tale of Two Cities.

  1. This is so sweet. My best friend lives just 15 minutes away from me but so often I let the busy-ness of my life keep me from regularly talking to her. Your post made me realize how many times I take our friendship for granted, Thank you.

    • Thanks for your kind words! I think it’s easy to take friendships for granted, whether they are local or long distance. But it’s so important to remember the importance of the friendship and let that person know. That’s awesome your best friend lives so nearby!

  2. I love this post. I have a friend in Chicago and we share a long distance friendship too. We stay in touch a lot through social media. I went to visit her about 2 years ago and she came to visit last year. Both amazing trips that I’ll always cherish. I have another friend who use to live in DC but moved to Las Vegas, so that’s been harder staying in touch. Your advice is wonderful, thank you 🙂

    • That’s so nice that you have some long distance friends sprinkled around the US 🙂 I’m glad the advice worked well for you! It’s a challenge, but the payoff of strengthening a long distance friendship is so positive 🙂

  3. a heartwarming story! Blessings on you and your friend and healing prayers!!

  4. I bet having a long distance friendship like that is hard. Most of my friends live around here but I don’t really have one best friend. I love that you continue to make your friendship a priority even when it’s not convenient.

  5. What I love the most about reading about you and your HLM is the pure JOY that radiates from you both. There is more proof to me that soulmates exist in the friends we find through our life’s journey than in love sometimes. Our friendship began on the internet and stayed stronger and lasted longer than some of those friendships I had with people physically around me. I’ll always be grateful for that. Beautiful tribute to LDR friendships, Cait!

  6. I think your annual visit sounds like an awesome tradition and a great way to keep a friendship blossoming! I have long-distance friendships but more like scattered in countries all over the world type friendships–Facebook helps a lot!!

    • Rachel, the reunions are so fun and we always jam-pack them with activities, chats, and sight-seeing! I can’t imagine having friendships scattered around the globe… that must be very hard. Thank goodness for Facebook and other social media, letting us all stay in contact despite the miles 🙂

  7. Very sweet. My beasties, plural, I have know since school days and another since grade 1. Those are a fee long friendships

  8. Elizabeth’s Granny has been my best friend for 60 years. I live in Arkansas and, as you know, she lives in Indiana. Circumstances have kept us from seeing each other in a long time but memories make it seem like yesterday! Such happy memories…..

  9. Looks like you guys are very close! Good tips for staying in touch. One of my best friends will be moving a couple hours north soon which isn’t too far, but still further than I’d like!

    • It’s definitely hard making the transition to a long distance friendship. It’s hard not having them close enough to spend time with, but it also pushes you to be creative in the ways you show you care. I hope you and your best friend adjust smoothly after she moves 🙂

  10. barbbamberrealty

    You are so fortunate to be living in a time of social media. My best friend from Gr 4 moved in Grade 11 to Grande Prairie, miles from Calgary. We visited, I drove the 11 hours to see her.. we kept in touch but time brought husbands and kids and we drifted. Snail mail was all we had and I wonder if there had been emails whether we could have stayed connected. It makes me sad that we don’t communicate. I’ve tried on facebook sending comments, etc, but they’ve been ignored. Maybe my perspective of our friendship is greater than her memories of it? Anyway, I love that you two are still great friends! xx

    • Such a great point about social media, Barbara! When I was younger and had a long distance friend, it was much more difficult to stay in contact. Surprisingly enough, when Facebook and other social media sites began to pop up, that childhood long distance friendship was rekindled!

      I can only imagine how much harder it would be when you couldn’t even send a simple email, and instead had to make an 11 hour drive. I’m sorry to hear how things came out over the years… some people and situations are such mysteries. I, too, have a friend from the past who I’ve reached out to several times on social media and have heard nothing back. I try to remind myself that maybe there’s a reason we were friends at one point, and no longer are.

  11. How fun, to go back and really think about how you met your bff and everything you’ve been through together. (And I’m so glad to hear Elizabeth is healing!!!!) I’ve known my bff since elementary school but we actually have spent more time living in different states than in the same one. Lots of texting, calls, emails, of course visits, but we like to send each other care packages too. Closeness has nothing to do with distance 🙂

    • Thank you for the kindness, Emily! You’ve known your best friend for such a long time! I have so much respect for long-term friendships like that. I’m still acquaintances with some of my elementary/middle school friends, but definitely not as close. And you’re so right… nothing even comes close to actually spending time together! I hope you get to see your best friend soon 🙂

  12. Very interesting and sweet story about friends who have stuck together through the years. I like the way you told this and always enjoy photographs. I tend to tell my stories and leave the images in the reader’s minds. I hope that you will have a long friendship and that she continues to be in good health since her remission.

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  14. This was helpful, Caitlin. I’ve been missing a friend of mine who lives in the Midwest now – and I just found out a local friend is moving to Europe for two years. I’m appreciatin’ the pointers so I can catch up with the former and keep up with the latter. 🙂

    Best,
    eg

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