The Block Island Times

#TwentySomething: Long Distance

By Stephanie Turaj | Oct 19, 2013

One thing seems pretty common for us “20-somethings”: dealing with long-distance friendships. After high school, some of us left home, be it for school, or a job opportunity. And then, some of us left again after college, for a new job opportunity, or simply for a new adventure — and from there, it seems that those in our 20s seem to be continually on the move.

It’s an exciting experience at times, watching yourself and your close friends succeed and move through life. But at the same time, all this change can be unsettling; I personally have friends living all over, some of whom I never see anymore. One of my closest friends, from the fifth grade, has been volunteering in Jamaica for more than a year, and I haven’t seen her since she left.

And now my best friend Marie, who right now is a boat ride away (she lives in Narragansett), is thinking of moving to South Carolina. I just got used to seeing her at least once a month (she moved to Narragansett this summer), and now she’s leaving again.

Even friends that live close-by, in my Connecticut hometown or by my college campus in Newport, R.I., my location on Block Island makes planning to see them an ordeal (usually involving an hour boat ride, really complicated public transportation, “can someone please give me a ride,” and “I need a place to stay!”) so often I’m forced to rely on Facebook, texting, and occasionally a phone call or snail-mail card to stay in contact.

I know I’m not alone in a situation like this — as us 20-somethings begin to focus on building our own lives, we drift apart, and while sometimes we drift back again, sometimes we don’t. The tough thing can be to know which friends are worth the effort to stay in touch with, and which ones are going to drift away and not return.

But maybe, keeping friends over long distance isn’t that hard, it just requires you to care enough to think of your friend. What sparked this column idea was a “Skype date” with Marie, that is, a video chat over Skype one Saturday night — something we’ve never really done before — that was a refreshing half hour of laughter over old inside jokes and talking about boys.

In a world that’s often self-centered (at least mine is, with a full-time job and plenty of overdramatic 20-something-year-old’s woes) it doesn’t hurt to take a few moments to text an old friend: “Hey, what’s up?” or even send a postcard (because who doesn’t like getting mail?). Long-distance friendships are tough, but the good ones are worth keeping.

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