You love spending time with them. You’ve accumulated great memories together. You’re sad when they decide to move on. You promise to stay in touch (and mean it).
And you hardly ever talk to them again.
It’s hard to admit, but it’s true nonetheless: most of us are bad at long-distance relationships of any sort. We prioritize the people we can see regularly and see in person, and we implicitly understand that our friends and loved ones who move on to new places are going to feel the same way. So we call a couple of times, maybe send a text or a postcard, and then we just sort of fade away.
Maybe we get the urge to call them up a few months later, but out of politeness we suppose they won’t want to hear from us anyway. And so a large number of our long-distance friendships go dormant or even die.
Even with technology, distance makes remote friendship more difficult and less rewarding than in-the-flesh friendship. But the new phenomenon of social distancing in this pandemic has changed all of that.
Now there aren’t “friends you see everyday” vs. “friends you have online.” Everyone is in the latter category, and the playing field is just about even between your friends who are close and your friends who are far away. You’re pretty much only going to see them on a video call, hear them on a phone call, or read their thoughts in a letter these days. So why not talk just as often to those friends in Nepal or Indiana as to the ones down the road in Charleston?
You have none of the excuses *not* to reach out (they aren’t busy, and they aren’t seeing anyone else right now) and you have plenty of reasons *to* reach out. You can find out how your friends are faring during the pandemic and shutdown of so much of society, and you can be a great source of comfort or at least entertainment to a lot of bored and lonely and scared people. If you were afraid of “imposing” on their time, understand that you may just be doing them a favor by reaching out.
In case you haven’t realized it yet, this is your golden opportunity to build your strongest community yet, to reignite those old friendships, to spark up some new love interests, and to be a leader for your family. No one is going to object if you want that video call or phone call. The road is open. Get in touch! The renaissance of long-distance relationships may be one of the few silver linings we get from this pandemic. Don’t waste it.