June 1st my best friend had her first child. Back in May, I traveled to a small town in North Carolina to spend but a few hours with her for a baby shower. On my way home I began to think about the friendships in my life that compel me to travel, show up, and dedicate my time to their lives even though we live in different parts of the country. With the exception of a few, the majority of my closest friends live a minimum of six hours away from me. To maintain healthy relationships, I’ve had to learn how to invest in my long distance relationships. The benefits of them help keep me grounded with:
- Sense of Belonging
- Living in a city away from my family and friends can be hard at times. Investing in my friendships helps to ease the effects of loneliness that comes with being away from your family unit. Investing in my friendships provides us with a sense of belonging in the world around us. Friendships increase a sense of self-awareness, as well as strengthen our sense of who we are as a person. We define ourselves in part, by our relation to others. Investing in friendships helps root you in the world and community around you.
- Investing in friendships also gives accountability in your life. There have been times, almost like clockwork, my friends will call to ” check in” on life goals and things they know I need accountability for. They realized I have a tendency to let the routines of my life keep me from pursuing goals outside of that. They hold me accountable to things I should and shouldn’t be doing and check I to make sure I’m staying on track.
- When my life began to go through hard times, my friends showed up in tow. Having friends to support you when the unexpected comes, may help in times of life that don’t always happen when we need them to. Research has shown that when dealing with stress, social settings and support groups help decrease the risk for disease and anxiety. Investing in friendships pays off when you need the support of others while you go through hard times.
- Being able to celebrate with my friends is one of the highlights of my life. Traveling and getting to celebrate life’s accomplishments is the birthday cake of friendships. It’s in those moments I realize that investing in friendships pays off by getting to celebrate victories with them.