Communal Study 008: Long Distance Friendships

“i think you are suffering from a lack of vitamin 🥰ME🥰”

When we brainstormed the first set of topics we’d cover on The Communal Study, we knew long distance friendships were something that we would want to write about. When it came down to it, we were struggling to put any unique thoughts together. We found that we didn’t actually have much to say on the topic. We hadn’t really thought a ton about it. What we decided to do, instead of researching & thinking more, was to ask our community. 

This newsletter hasn’t really been the kind of thing where we pick a topic, research a ton about it and synthesize the research. It revolves around what we have discovered in our own communal study, individually & with each other. We reflect on the experience of our friendship and the experience of our other friendships. We try to extract some things that are specific enough to appeal to the unique circumstances we find ourselves in but also general enough to appeal to the wide variety of people who may read. 

We asked three questions & got a large amount of responses. What we decided to do was list every single one of them below. You don’t have to read all of them if you don’t want. They are each interesting, but it’s even more interesting when you take the sum of them & try to pull out a conclusion. There isn’t any one response that takes the cake. No one response will provide a template, remedy or solution for long distance friends. What you will find though is a simple culmination of thoughts. Some are similar and some are very different. After all the responses, we’ll include a short conclusion that hopefully ties a nice bow around all of the responses.

“What thoughts come up when you think about long distance friendship?”

“It feels like a breakup kind of. It sucks but you love em so you’re happy for them”

“I feel like there are 2 types of long distance friendships. One where both people put in effort to make the relationship work and another where neither of them put in effort but it still works. My best friend (Dan Navid) lives in Fort Worth and we don't talk much unless over text every now and then. But I know he always is there for me if I need him and I'm always there for him. There's something kinda comforting in a long distance friend where you don't need to keep up with them consistently”

“nostalgia for the time when i lived in the same place as those friends!”

“Dedication and reciprocation.”

“Camp Rock”

“One of the most rewarding types of friendships that only comes by work from both sides”

“The hardest part is finding a rhythm of intentionality that works for both people.”


“why can't i pick up the phone and just call them?”

“Being able to pick it up after a few years as if no time passed. Maybe not a best friend but a tr”

“Tough and often on different pages of life. Worth maintaining though, and it's important 2 call”

“I know there will always be people who love all of me: make me feel content and confident”

“That the people in front of me today are the ones I need to prioritize!”

“random check in's like random ass pictures sent or voice memos”


“having to have planned intentional time”

“most of my most important people are long distance friends”

“going years w/o seeing each other but once you meet again the vibes are immaculate”

“sad mostly…but makes me 1000x more grateful for time w ppl irl”

“That’s why we all just gotta start a commune”


“Near impossible but can be done with mutual sacrificial mindsets”

“i miss my friends but like all the more reason to hit the road & travel”

“Hard, need to be intentional”

“So difficult but the reunions make it all worth it!”

“sadddd bc i am a big quality time person & it makes me feel less close to them”

“Hard to keep up with them”

“Understanding that regardless of how long it's been since we've talked, we're still”

“new adventures to share together, more creative ways to connect”

“sadness, nostalgia, but also like peace of mind knowing they are committed to being my friend”

“i miss them so much it hurts”

“it can make it feel more genuine apposed to when you hang super often in the same city you ask how they are as a courtesy, but at a distance you ask out of genuine curiosity. The ones that last are those where the ground work was made when the time together living closeby was well spent ”

“Meeting in the middle (in terms of communication - can't be only one reaching out)”

“effort and intentionality”

“It is harder than long distance relationships!”

“Miss them. Wish I lived near them still. Talk to them as often as our schedules allow”

“So hard but telling about who is a friend out of convenience and who is a friend be they rlly care”

“It's sooooo sad thinking about how in college, l used to live all my experiences with my best friends so they knew about them in real time because they were there. Now I tell friends and hear about my friend's lives after the fact. For example, in college, a friend's going on a date? We help her get ready, know all her emotions beforehand, send her off, wait for her to get home to discuss every detail, etc. But now it's like weeks later when you both finally have time to catch up and you're just now hearing about their date. Makes me miss living a few blocks or less from all my people”

“If you have long distance friends, do you feel suited for it? Why or why not?”

“i don't feel suited, but i had to learn quickly how to be bc all of my close buddies are long distance”

“Not really because I do better when I can physically spend time with someone”

“I need my people to be with me day to day”

“Definitely! Living your own life and then reconnecting without missing a beat is sooo nice.”

“Yes! Marco Polo frw”

“I do! I think the back and forth of checking in on each other is really nice.”

“Makes you have a different perspective from people that live in the same city”

“It really just depends on what your expectations are”

“Yes, constant contact through socials and group texts. Find common interests”

“I do. Communication is simple these days and it's important to relish those core relationships”

“Obvi not pref, but I've found ways to make it work & keep up w them enuf to stay close.yes”

“Yes! I feel suited for some that give back the energy and time as I do”

“I think yes, the expectations of the friendships are just different.”

“Yes, most of my friends are long distance. It makes it more fun and special when you see them. Less time to get burnt out on your friends. Maybe I have unsustainable friendships”

“Not really, I prefer spontaneity with the ways I hang out, but long distance has to be planned”

“Yes and no. It's hard to share life (all of the small and beautiful moments) with someone thousands of miles away. I can make sure I schedule to call them and visit, but you still inevitably grow apart.”

“Love this. Mmm generally, no. I can't even remember to call my grandma enough!”

“si, because to me depth of connection doesn't always rely on in person time together, but it only works well w my friends that also feel this way and don't view our relationship too "statistically", if that makes sense. It becomes more emotional and spiritual”

“I'm not sure it's something you can feel suited for, certain traits help but it comes down to effort”

“I've learned both sides want the other to initiate but letting life pass by is also okay sometimes”

“Yes most of my friends are long distance. If the friendship is fed it can hold for decades”

“Sometimes, bc I feel it requires more effort on both ends. Depends on so many things”

“It's way EASIER to be non-long distance friends but some people are worthhhh itttt. Aka I don't know if anyone would prefer it or feels necessarily suited for it sadlyyy”

“What is the most difficult part of long distance friendships?”

“Not getting to be there for big life milestones”

“Jealousy over their new friends that you don't know”

“Feeling like they have a completely separate life you're not a part of”

“Keeping up with them & still prioritizing making new friends in the new chapter of your life!”

“not being able to share everyday moments and big milestones with them”

“not being able to feel fully present with them”

“Deepening it”

“I miss the mundane moments. like running to the grocery store or watching a late night movie”

“making the time to talk to each other over the phone/to see each other in person”

“feeling like an interruption / inconvenience and not asserting myself because of it!!”

“the fact that we aren't up to date on the little details of life when we were so used to that”

“We need to hang soon 😫”

“Idealizing the person and not growing with them but growing independently + having to catch up”

“Not getting to just sit on the couch and do nothing together & also you're always catching up instead of experiencing new things together:(“

“Feeling like you're not as close as you used to be or drifting apart”

“Feeling left behind if it's a hometown friend who moved away but you still live in hometown”


“not doing life with your besties and only giving each other updates 🥰🥰”

“the distance”

“that weird pressure of having to talk a certain amount for y'all to still be “close””

“the abrupt change from college to post grad (not feeling prepared for them to be LD)”

“missing out on little daily stories & small updates about life!”

“It's so hard to keep up with all the details of long distance friend's lives - especially when you can only call after work hours, it takes so much planning to keep up 💗 ily”

“Time zone differences make it hard to figure out the best time to call/connect”

“This is sad”

“missing the small everyday moments”

“Making time to connect.”

“staying in touch!”

Among the varied responses received about experiences with/handling long distance friendships, a throughline is present: putting effort into keeping real connections alive and acknowledging the ups and downs allow us to embrace the value in lasting friendships despite the distance.



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