“Don’t talk to strangers on the Internet!”
My mother’s words from the 90’s respond clearly in my head everytime I log into Twitter, Facebook or Instagram. I wasn’t alone, you all copped it as well I’m sure. Just about every kid that had Internet access in the late 90s and early 2000s would have had the same lecture from their parents. The Internet was a scary place back then, and it seems to only have gotten worse.
But sometimes you meet someone on the Internet and it’s a life changing experience in the most beautiful way possible. My LDBF and I met on Twitter back in 2013, after bonding on a love of travel in general and Africa specifically, as well as an obsession with weird animals (namely giraffes.) I made a comment about something, it resonated with her and then all of a sudden we’re exchanging daily (hourly) emails.
I was wary of how little I knew of this girl who lived on the other side of the world, the only common ground we had after all was a love of exploring the globe. The more information about each other we exchanged though, the more I realised that she is exactly the same type of crazy that I am, and now we have a beautiful friendship that I wouldn’t be able to do without.
In the world of technology and communication we live in now, it’s fairly easy to maintain a friendship that spans continents, but there are still some trials that affect only long distance friendships, and those are the things you need to overcome if you want to make your friendship last.
BONDING = VERY LATE NIGHTS
My LDBF lives in London, and I’m based on the west coast of Australia, which in the Aussie winter is a 7 hour time difference. There is literally nothing more infuriating than having something huge happen at 10am and having to wait all day for her appropriately loud and squeal-y response to all of my spam messaging. On the flip side, when it’s bedtime for me Mrs Ayla is just starting her day of dreariness at her office. There have been many, many nights when I have stayed awake helping her overcome her boredom at work. And I don’t even care, because she is my squishy. ❤
YOU START SERIOUSLY CONSIDERING CRAZY MONEY MAKING SCHEMES SO YOU CAN AFFORD AIRFARE TO VISIT
I don’t know about you, but my least favourite thing is to sit on a plane for 25 hours (which is how long it takes for me to get to London.) However, I will happily sit through this torture for my LDBF, but man those flights are EXPENSIVE. If only you could just pop in for a cup of tea and a chocolate biscuit, but alas. Maybe I can just sell ALL MY POSSESSIONS.
LONG DISTANCE BEST FRIENDSHIPS COME WITH EXTRA COMMUNICATION PROBLEMS
This isn’t so much of a problem for me, given that I lived in London for a long time so the slang is normal for me now. But lets face it, Aussie slang is downright weird and I’m sure my LDBF has to turn to Google Translate sometimes. Most of the time these little trip ups are hilarious and you can have all sorts of fun taking the piss out of each others accents and weird vocabulary, but other times you’re sitting there all like “I know what you’re saying is super important, but you’re gonna have to explain that word you just said”
YOU FIND YOURSELF LAUGHING ABOUT INSIDE JOKES THAT NO ONE ELSE UNDERSTANDS
A clear sign of being BFFs is having those inside jokes, you know the ones. They’re only funny to the two of you – but they’ll have you in stitches each and every time. For me and my LDBF, it’s the time we got stuck in the Tube doors when I visited London. All we have to do is say “Remember the time we got stu-” and we’ll both be on the floor in fits of giggles. When I’ve brought this up in front of my home friends though, they just don’t get it. Cue apologies and “You had to be there” comments.
YOU PLAY THE ACCENT GAME
Now this isn’t something that we have tried, but I know of other LDBFs who have and with consistently hilarious results. Because anyone trying to do an Aussie accent is ALWAYS hilarious. Give each other something typical of your home country to say, and try it in each other’s accents. I promise laughter.
CARE PACKAGES ARE THE FUCKING BEST
Seriously you guys! Who loves a care package, EVERYONE. You don’t ever get anything fun in the mail, unless you’ve been hitting up Asos again, so sending your LDBF something special in the mail rocks. I try to limit to Christmas cards, because postage is sooo expensive, and as covered above I need all available dollars for flights. But I loved my care package that I received for Christmas on our first Christmas together. Proper English chocolate AND photos of my adopted niece, Effie the Hedgehog. Winning!
YOU SPEND HOURS IMAGING IN PERSON HANG-OUTS
Yes, I’m a bit of a sad act. Sometimes I’ll be doing something super cool at home (like binge watching Girls) and wish that my LDBF was there to share it with me. When your best friend lives far far away, you tend to spend a lot of time imagining what your lives would be like if you didn’t live oceans apart.
MOMENTS OF BIG DRAMA WILL HAVE YOU WISHING FOR NOTHING IN THE WORLD MORE THAN A PLANE TICKET
I have been pretty lucky, I’ve been to see my LDBF twice now, but I know that in the past year I’ve had some pretty momentous things happen to me – the biggest of which was the death of my mother. I know that if she could, she would have been here holding my hand and steadying me as I navigated the pain of the 12 months that have passed since. In those 12 months I have pushed her away, snapped in anger, cried for hours, and mostly hated on the distance between us that meant that she couldn’t be here during that time. Yes I have plenty of friends here, even my life long BFFs – but you can always use another person’s love when life is truly shit. On the flip side, it can be moments of greatness that make you want to instantly appear at your LDBF’s side. A new significant other, a payrise, a bloggers conference, your fave TV series starting a new season, the time she made tea without you…. OK it’s basically anything. But when the super important stuff happens, your thumbs have never texted so fast.
SOMEHOW THE DISTANCE HELPS YOU HAVE ZERO EMOTIONAL BARRIERS
Sometimes I feel like the ways in which my LBDF articulate our love for each other rivals Shakespeare, Keats and Byron. I mean, our love is real guys. Real. It can be the best thing when I’ve had a completely shitty day at work, and I get a “You’re great” text all the way from London. It can be the most uplifting part of my day, just knowing that my LDBF is thinking about me and letting me know I’m kicking ass at life.
YOU KNOW THEY’LL ALWAYS BE THERE FOR YOU, EVEN IF THEY CAN’T BE THERE FOR YOU
Even though phone calls are pretty much a no-no, because of hideous expense, social media is a blessing and a curse. You get to see everything about your LDBFs life at home; but you don’t get to be part of it. That said, your bond is built on distance, and missing the big moments in person doesn’t mean you’re any less there for each other. Even if they’re asleep in your hour of need, when they wake up you know the first thing they’ll do is check for messages from you and when they see the SOS HELP text, they will ALWAYS respond immediately. They’re the friend you can completely rely on because if you weren’t as close as you are, then you wouldn’t survive the oceans between you.
Long distance best friendships are awesome, but they’re also hard work. If you put in the effort, you’ll be rewarded with a wonderful insight into how the other side of the world lives, as well as free accommodations in other cities! 🙂 Seriously though, my LDBF gives me a rare bond that I will always cherish, and will always be important to me. No matter how far apart we are, no matter where in the world we reside.
This post is dedicated to my LDBF, Mrs Ayla, who head’s up travel blog Mrs Ayla’s Adventures. Check out her travels and adventures around London here.