Long-distance friendships vs long-distance relationships

Gemma Powell discusses the similarities and differences between long distance friendships and relationships

Gemma Powell
14th October 2020
Image: Dollar Gill (Unsplash)
When first starting university, most students move hundreds, if not thousands of miles away from home. Friends are often left behind in your hometown and seeing them is a rare treat. As your time goes by at uni, many friends leave and eventually you will leave new ones behind.

Many of my friends from home and those that I made in my first year are now miles away from me and that can be tough, especially in current circumstances. But in my final and busiest year of study, long-distance friendships are exactly what I need.

With friends that live close, I find it increasingly awkward to tell them that I am too busy to see them. Juggling friends around the rest of your life can be quite a challenge but with long-distance friends that you only meet up with every few months, you make time for them on a specific occasion and then don’t think about them again for a while.

"I feel the exact same amount of platonic love for my closest school friends as I did when I saw them every day."

Long distance-friendships feel much more mature. Is it not the height of maturity to not see your friends for a while, know they have made plenty of other new friends and then not feel an ounce of jealousy? I feel the exact same amount of platonic love for my closest school friends as I did when I saw them every day. Nothing has changed.

Long-distance relationships on the other hand are much harder. I’m nearly 21 and my boyfriend is 23 and we met in my first and his final year of uni. We have now had more time in separate cities in the UK than together in the same and somehow this makes me feel very immature. Peers from my hometown are beginning to settle down, get married and start a family. If I return back home, I stand out as ‘still a university student’ because I haven’t had the opportunity to think about serious commitment yet.

The distance between my boyfriend and I is not massive but every time another lockdown looms over the North, it’s a frantic rush to pack and get one of us on a train, just so we don’t have to be separated for months on end.

Long-distance relationships are tough, but they are possible and do work just as well as long-distance friendships if you want them to.

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