Bethany Rose
May 30, 2015 7:00 am

“Don’t talk to strangers on the Internet!” The advice — nay, rule — was drilled into my young brain. I wasn’t alone. My brother got the same lectures, and so did, I’m guessing, just about every kid whose family had Internet access at home in the early 2000’s. In fact, this basic Internet wisdom is still being passed down today — and for good reason. The Internet can be a dangerous place and you can meet dangerous people who seem totally not dangerous at the time.

But then, sometimes, you meet someone on the Internet and it’s life-changing in the  best way possible, which I guess is why rules are made to be bent… and eventually broken? My LDBF (Long-Distance Best Friend) and I met in 2012 on Reddit. She made a post about something I could empathize with, I commented on it, and we hit it off from there.

We started off just private messaging, as we were both weary of how little we knew about each other; all we had really was this common ground on Reddit, but we both immediately felt that ‘oooooo friendship’ pang, when you just know. As soon as Snapchat became a thing, we stopped e-mailing and saw each other’s faces for the first time — I think it’s safe to say that girlish screams were had by all.

We’d had almost identical life experiences. We had the same sense of humor. Everything about our budding friendship screamed “Maid of Honor at my wedding.” There was just one tiny flaw in this wonderful friendship – I live in England and she lives in America. Since we can’t exactly swim the Atlantic and visit each other whenever we want, we’ve had to learn to maintain a best friendship across great distance. And, over the last few years, I’ve noticed some major differences between a long distance best friend and the local ones who you share an accent with.

Bonding = late, late nights. 

My LDBF friend lives on the east coast of America, which means she’s five hours behind me. There’s nothing more infuriating than having something huge happen at 9 in the morning and then furiously twiddling your thumbs waiting for it to be a semi-decent time to start spam-messaging her to tell her EVERYTHING. On the flip side, when you finally decide, “enough Netflix, bed time,” and then BAM a message comes through from LDBF and it’s already getting late and you have to be up early and promise yourself that it’s “just a few messages,” suddenly you realize it’s 3 a.m. and you don’t even care because you’re talking to your bestie. 

You start seriously thinking about trying one of those crazy money-making schemes — just so you can afford a trip to visit. 

Those flights… they’re so expensive. There’s so much to talk about, so many films to watch, and so many hugs to be had, but your LDBF is so far away! As much as I wish i could hop on a flight and visit, it’s not that easy. After paying for trains, driving lessons, food and general life I have… oh right. Nothing. Then you get to thinking, “Maybe I can sell EVERYTHING. Flights are only what? £1,500.”

And then you enter the catch-22. Everyone has one. For me, it’s the age old driving catch. I need to get driving lessons to get a better job, to afford driving lessons, to get a better job to save up to go and see my one heart’s desire. I envy the characters in films and books that can book last minute flights and not become bankrupt for the next million years.

Long distance best friendships come with extra communication problems. 

When you and your best friend live in two different countries, you’re bound to have that, “I know we’re having a super-important conversation here, but you’re going to have to explain that word you just said” moment. Sometimes, these are the most hilarious and you playfully make fun of each other’s dialects and explain just how nonsensical your respective countries are. But this is also a super cool thing too, and at times can also feel like you have your own language. Getting to mix slang with your LDBF will make you feel like you’re speaking in a code that your local friends just can’t understand.

You find yourself laughing about inside jokes that no one around you understands. 

A clear sign of being best friends is having those private jokes, the ones that are hilarious to the two of you, but completely baffling to everyone on the outside. A clear sign of being long distance best friends is having those private jokes and being in fits about those jokes in front of your “home” friends — and them really not getting it. Cue the apologies and “sorry, I guess you had to be there” explanations.

You play the accent game.

As soon as my LDBF and I found a way of video chatting, we immediately gave it a try. On our first call, she gave me something typically American to say in an American accent, and I gave her something typically English to say in and English accent and, oh man, Americans trying to be English is just the most wonderfully hilarious thing. Sometimes the accent is super amazing, and other times, it’s that, “jus about t’ sweep up thu’ chimmm-ney gun’va” voice and it NEVER gets old.

The care packages are the best. 

One of the most fun things to do these days in a world that’s become so digitalized is *drum roll* PARCELS! I’m currently accumulating a “Box of Britishness” to send to ‘Murica, filled with tea bags and scone recipes, and my LDBF is doing the same thing (but with American things to send me). When we both have the money to send them across the big blue, we’re going to drop them in the mail and I just can’t wait to send mine.

You spend hours imagining in-person hangouts. 

You know when you have an argument with someone, and then the next day you keep replaying the exchange in your head, wishing you’d said the perfect thing in the moment? Well, when your best friend lives on the other side of the Atlantic, you do the same scene replaying, but this time you’re fantasizing about how much better everything would have been with your bestie physically by your side. If your very best friend lives far away, you definitely spend lots of time thinking about all the ways you would be there for each other in your times of need if only there weren’t OCEANS between you.

The moments of big drama will have you wishing for nothing in the world more than a plane ticket. 

The new significant other, that time someone said something mean to your LFBF and you wanted to jump into best-friend-action, that time they made tea without you… Okay, so basically this feeling hits whenever anything happens, but when all these super important things happen in life and you’re not there, your thumbs have never typed so fast.

Somehow, the distance actually helps you have NO emotional barriers whatsoever. 

The ways in which you articulate your unwavering love for one another can make you feel like Shakespeare reincarnate. Such intricate metaphors and similes, your bond is unparalleled. But occasionally you do just send each other the standard, “You’re just great” text, which is sometimes actually even nicer.

You KNOW they’ll always be there for you — even if they can’t be THERE for you. 

Even though phone calls are a massive no-no due to hideously expensive phone lines, social media is a blessing and a curse. You get to see everything about your bestie’s life at home,but you don’t get to be part of it. But, distance can’t hurt your bond 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 and first check their phone and see your SOS signal text, they will ALWAYS send something back. Even if it’s a quick reassurance and an apology for not being around because they have school or work or something else, they’re the friend that you can rely on completely and utterly because if your friendship wasn’t as close as it is, it wouldn’t be able to survive the oceans.

Long distance best friends are awesome. They give you a wonderful insight into how the other side of the world lives, and they offer a rare bond that should be cherished and will always be important.

(Images via , , , , here.)

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