What no one tells you about long-distance friendships

Honkech World
4 min readNov 27, 2022

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This song should be the new anthem of long-distance friendships, I dedicate it to all my friends abroad…

Don’t you wish that you had a time machine? With the click of a button, you can travel back and revisit those moments when you thought your friendship with someone was unbreakable. If you are a decent human being with a reasonable amount of luck, you should have developed friendships with people around you. Bonds that make you feel like you have an army behind whenever you are in need, memories that you love to scroll through in pictures and funny videos, feelings that allow you to grow and mature, and most importantly a warm sensation from a strong support system.

In a perfectly imperfect world, we would pick the joyful time of our life and reside in it forever. Why not? Weren’t you at your happiest in life? Wouldn’t it be nice to get stuck there? Fortunately, time is on our side. Needless to say, we can only appreciate a happy moment because it contrasts with a sad experience. Trust me when I tell you that eternal life in heaven would bore you to death (If you don’t believe me, watch “The Good Place”). While I was blessed with the most amazing and loving group of friends in my adult life, I was also cursed with endless goodbyes. My least favorite experience in the world, I’d rather go and get another wisdom tooth removed than have to say goodbye to another friend… What’s even more annoying is that my friends choose to be all around the world… I keep telling myself that they’re not doing it on purpose. They are in Lebanon, Egypt, Italy, Singapore, Morocco, Belgium, Germany, Nepal, the UK, France, Libya, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, the Netherlands, and the United States. Is anyone else trying to count how many time zones is that? Sometimes, if you want to catch up with a friend in Singapore, you will need to arrange for a weekend call that is either too late for you or too early for them (assuming both of you have no weekend plans).

Simply put, I love the fact that my friends are all around the world. Whether it’s my fellow Tunisians whom I’m so proud of for pursuing their professional and academic dreams abroad or my international friends whom I met in my travels; I’m extremely happy that I made so many special and unique connections. They made me the person I am today. I miss every one of them and wish I could teleport to give them a tight hug. With endless tears at each goodbye, I want to thank them for being in my life in different ways be it a phone call every month, yearly birthday messages, or a memory engraved in my brain forever.

While most realists believe that distance can weaken friendship, there is something magical about the people you see after years of distance and feel like nothing changed. You can hug and start sharing silly stories from your daily life. These moments make you realize that some of these bonds are unbreakable. The nature of your friendship respects that you are both growing up in different contexts and that no one can fully understand what the other person is going through. All they can offer is faith and understanding. Faith that the love that this friendship is built on is genuine and understanding that adult life is messy so it’s not always possible to pick up the phone and call someone if your day drained you of any will to socialize.

Nevertheless, there will always be some unavoidable rough patches that can take different shapes and forms. The most common catchlines are the following “why don’t you check up on me?”, “why am I the first one to always text?” or the infamous “Did you forget about me?”. While some of these thoughts could be justified, most of them aren’t. The most basic, and possibly untold, truth about long-distance friendships, is that it requires an update of expectations. If your 4-year college roommate with whom you’ve shared endless memories expects you to be as present after graduation, they might get disappointed. However, if you both adjust expectations by understanding the difficulties of being far from each other while taking into consideration how difficult it is to navigate adulthood, you might never get disappointed. You will cherish your memories while feeling grateful for any calls or messages you will eventually exchange. I know that this approach sounds utopic, not everyone has the necessary emotional control to adjust expectations.

The first challenge of any long-distance friendship would be the denial that the relationship will change. It’s part of any grief process. We refuse to believe that something can affect a strong friendship. At the same time, most humans hate change, they always see it as negative. But with the right communication mechanism and an honest approach, you can make the best out of that change while maintaining those friendships full of love and respect. So instead of letting your feelings get bottled up, you can choose to express them without any filters to your friend. If that friendship is genuine, it will always lead to mutual understanding.

I want to conclude with a message to all my friends across the globe. While I managed to stay closely in touch with some of you, I lost touch with a few others. However, I hope you know that I cherish every single moment I experienced with you. The good and sad moments that we shared together made me the person I am today. You all give me the strength to be a better person, you inspire me with amazing accomplishments, and you honor me with the title of your friend. I am eternally grateful for that, and I love you from the bottom of my heart. I am positive that the next time that our paths cross, we will unpause from the last moment we spent together. But in the meantime, stay awesome. ❤

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Honkech World

I solemnly swear that I am up to no good... using writing as therapy for the bottled up trauma... anything from love, friendships and hope... (most times)