I firmly believe that distance is only ever an inconvenience at most. It’s never a true obstacle to keep you from connecting with anyone. But for many (including ourselves) it can be a very convenient excuse.
When you have decided to move far away from where you started, you will sometimes use these excuses yourself and quite likely you will hear other people use the same excuses. This obviously depends how far away you have moved, as the excuses from both sides tends to grow the further that geographical distance is.
What excuses am I talking about? Well, they might sound something like this:
- It’s so hard to organise a phone chat with the time difference being so many hours.
- They’ll never come and visit me anyway, it’s too far away.
- I can’t afford to go see my friend, it’s too expensive for the flight and spending money.
- Well, now that he has his new life over there, he probably doesn’t care about what goes on back at home anymore.
- I don’t have enough days of leave this year to go and visit my friend.
- She just keeps going on about her travels and adventures, does she even care about me?
- It’s too hard to keep this connection going, we’ll just have to connect when we next meet and hope it’s all going to be fine.
What stands between these excuses and the connection between you and this person is never distance or time difference. It’s commitment!
Sometimes one person moving can be a natural end to a friendship or connection that you both have gradually outgrown, which can be a good thing. But sometimes it can also be very painful for one person that the other person is moving on with their life without them. That goes for both people who stay back home and the ones who move away.
Only you can know if this connection or friendship is important enough for you to nurture, even if you happen to be far apart. If you find that this is someone you really want to stay in touch with, check in with yourself to focus on the things that are within your influence.
- How can I connect with this person now that they are far away from me? (phone/email/Skype/sms/regular group email/Facebook/travel blog)
- How can I show them how important they are to me even if we can’t meet as often as we used to? (send gift/flowers/package on their birthday, show interest in what they are doing, support their development, listen)
- How often do we need to touch base for me to feel that our connection is important and alive?
- How do I feel about quality vs. quantity in our friendship/connection? (1 really long chat less frequently, many small messages/chats more often, mixture of telephone chat and written communication)
- For what purpose am I staying connected to this person? (long friendship history, lots in common, family bond, true understanding, habit, not ready to let them go yet)
- What do I gain from connecting with this person? (fun, understanding, balance, sense of belonging, learning new things)
It can sometimes be tricky to answer these questions, but they are very important. If you can answer them honestly, then it will be very clear to you why this person is in your life and what role they can resourcefully serve. Connecting with others is always a commitment, because it means you need to make a decision on how important this is for you.
So choose to focus on quality connections and friendships in your life, regardless if you’re on the move or not. Because quality connections will help you grow and explore.
How do you feel about distance and friendship?