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Dr. Irene S. Levine Headshot

Friendship Advice: The Road between Friends is Never Long -- Or Is It?

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Proximity can play an important role in making or breaking a friendship.

QUESTION

Hi Irene,

My friend and I used to be really close, however, I live at least an hour away and I can't drive. We've slowly drifted apart, she answers calls less, responds to messages less, and we talk a whole lot less.

Now it seems that she has a new best friend, one of my former friends who I also could never see because of distance. I get a little upset when I see how close they are, because I feel like distance played a major role in this one, seeing how we could never hang out.

I will be moving out near them both this summer. Do you think that will help with the issues? I don't feel like she dropped me, I feel like I'm never there and have no way to get there, so she never asks.

Thanks,

Wendy


ANSWER

Dear Wendy,

Proximity plays an important role in friendships. Living near someone or working with the individual gives you both something in common and also makes a friendship more convenient. That said, living near someone isn't sufficient to create an emotional bond between two people.

Conversely, living some distance from someone or moving away doesn't necessarily preclude two people from being best friends but the miles between you do make it more challenging.

It's natural to feel a bit hurt or jealous when a once-best friend of yours becomes more distant from you and closer to one of your former friends -- but if they both are part of each other's everyday worlds, it is also easy to see how that happened.

I'm not sure how your moving near both of them will play out. I think you need to be open to strengthening both friendships but not be too disappointed if one or both friends feel like they have moved on.

Hope this helps.

Best,

Irene

A few prior posts on The Friendship Blog about the long-distance friendships:

The sadness of moving and leaving a BFF behind

It's hard to say goodbye and end a 20-year friendship
The Traveling Journal talks to The Friendship Doctor about long-distance friendships
Moving and Friendship: Is moving a good way to make new friends?