By: Magdalene G. Jones
Ah, habibi, I am back! I hope you have been well since our last visit. If you remember, I told you some of my stories and talked about the importance of setting Jesus as the center of your identity (I specifically spoke in regards to friendship, but obviously, this lesson applies to everything). Today, I want to dive into friendship again. Just because Jesus needs to come first does not mean you should stop focusing on your friends. Loving Jesus better means loving your friends better, too, even those who live farther away.
Again, I live in Africa, and my best friends are scattered all over the world. I have three best friends in America, three in Africa (but only one lives in my city), and one in Asia. I will focus on my girl in Asia, Rachel, because our story is pretty remarkable.
Rachel and I met at a large TCK (Third Culture Kid) group in Greece two years ago. We immediately thought, “Wow, that person is way too cool for me,” and only had a few conversations over two weeks. But in the following months, we FaceTime-ed with our group. It was not long before we started calling on our own, bonding over boys, TCK life, and the awesome experience we had in Greece. The years continued. We are both in long-distance relationships, and she is one of the few friends who truly understand my life. We have theological debates, Bible study together, talk almost daily, and I can not imagine life without her.
I have not met with her, in person, in two years.
So how on earth does this work?
Here are my tips for staying in touch with long-distance, or quarantined currently, best friends.
FaceTime is your friend. Truly, it’s easy. Call and chat like you normally would. You might find it awkward if you have never relied on calling each other, but you will get the hang of it. There is no reason why your friendship should not grow, even while you are apart.
Find fun things to do together. Rachel and I will have study sessions. We pack or do fashion shoots or make coffee. Some of my other friends and I will organize our routines. There are plenty of activities you can do, even if you aren’t in the same place.
Send each other video updates. This has been crucial for many of my friends. If I am ever thinking of them, but know we can’t call, I shoot them a video message. Rachel and I have about five conversations going on across WhatsApp, Messages, and multiple Instagram accounts.
Keep each other accountable. Again, your friendship should be growing. Make it a goal to discuss what you are learning or struggling with each other. Go through a book of the Bible or pray together. It doesn’t have to be every time, but you can be close and growing.
Respect their space. There are a lot of things that can come up, and some times, the last thing we want is to talk for hours. Just respect when that happens. If you are close, you will be calling frequently in a few weeks.
Make it meaningful. Obviously, you love your best friend, but it is also awesome when you remind her! Tell her reasons why you love her. Post about how awesome she is on social media. Send her birthday and Christmas presents. Regardless of how far away, friends influence our lives, so make sure you thank her for it!
Plan when you will meet! Rachel and I have a grand plan for our food tour of the world. We have decided that we will go across Asia on our college summer vacations. This will probably never happen, but hey, we are just excited to plan for when we see each other! And FINALLY, get to be best friends in person.
These are very general tips, but that’s because it isn’t that hard to keep up a long-distance friendship. If you are close, you can grow closer. If you aren’t close, you may end up as life-long best friends. Some of my favorite memories are over FaceTime, which is a marvel of the modern world, and I am so grateful.
So have fun, habibi! Enjoy your friends, and please, please keep in touch with them. It means so much.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Magdalene G. Jones is the teen author of The Scarlet Archer, the Miss-Trilogy, and the Concrai Records. She is the oldest of five siblings who are frequently threatened with the deaths of their favorite characters. She possesses the remarkable ability to trip over air and still land spectacularly on her face. She is socially awkward, has social anxiety, and is glad to have the title of 'author' to reassure herself that normal is an insult. She travels the world, hoping to find the stories in sidewalk cracks and in skyscrapers.
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