It’s common knowledge that long distance relationships are difficult and most likely doomed. However, when you find yourself at one end of a very distant Skype connection, it’s not so clear if the same goes for your best friend as it does for your boyfriend.
Some people peak early when it comes to making friends, myself included. Most of the friends I hold dear today are ones that I made in middle school or before. For better or worse, we all see grade school acquaintances plastered all over our Facebook walls, but fewer and fewer women I meet maintain childhood friendships with the same intensity with which they began. That’s how I would describe my best friendship: intense.
Our friendship is intense in the way that we both seem unwilling or unable to lose track of one another. I’m in no way bragging about my BFF being better than yours. Rather, there is a heartbreaking side to this kind of friendship. An honest and adult best-friendship can challenge you in ways for which you can never prepare. Like most friendships, the biggest hurdle in ours is being apart.
You’d like to think that when you meet the other half of your soul (the Shaggy to your Scooby, the Wayne to your Garth, the Thelma to your Louise), you’re done. You’d like to think that once you have the Bestie to end all Besties you can say, “That’s it! I’m good, thank you. No more life experience for me, I’m set.” That will never be the case. Sadly, when fate sends you your best friend before you ever get to experience the world, you can’t just stop growing. What’s harder is that you can’t always bring your best friend along for the ride, especially when you have differing ideas of what’s in store for your futures. Sometimes you have to make the very sober decision to leave her side and venture on. This can be scary because it not only gets harder and harder to make true friends as the years pass, but we start to realize that not everyone is a long distance kind of friend. Unfortunately, some people have to be right there next to you for them to keep things going.
Like many people, I’ve had to make the decision between a path of certainty and a path of the unknown and I chose the unknown. Even though I’m content with the decision I made and the road it’s taking me down, if I’d known back then that it would take me so far from the best friend I’ve ever had, I’m still not certain I would do it all again. In a way, being apart has made our connection stronger. It was hard when we were separated for the first time by college (a shortly lived experiment after which we ended up transferring to the same school), but when we went our separate ways to find careers and lives of our own, we found that no distance could ever take away the home base that is our friendship.
Choosing to leave my best friend has been one of the hardest decision I’ve ever had to make. It’s exactly like getting lost in the woods, even though you know the way home, and I feel stupid for it everyday. Yes, if it were possible for both of us to get what we wanted out of life in the same place that is what I would choose, just as I’m sure she would too. Then again, it’s because we’re best friends that we have the courage to support each other through this. We just have to trust that we’re both where we need to be right now. In that way, true friendship is as selfless as any kind of love that exists.
The best friend connection isn’t based on where life’s journey takes us or what our ideas about the future might be. It’s about having a link to the sanest, most honest version of yourself and challenging yourself to never lose it, no matter how far away it may seem.
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