Connected (How to maintain long-distance friendships?)
In the past few months I was present online very sporadically. I spent a lot of time in enjoying personal interactions with my friends and family and it has been quite energising.
As an expat working for big international or intergovernmental organisations, I have been changing locations several times. After arriving to a new place, job, office, I struggled through the process of building my social network again from the scratch. The people who moved places will surely understand this struggle. Those who have not and plan to move in the future, I would strongly recommend to add this to your decision tree.
In a retrospect, I have realised that I did not invest as much of myself in these relationships as I used to or as I wanted to. It was not because I did not care. During these past few years I was so focused on my career, the tasks that needed to get done, places that would be nice to visit, etc.. But maybe more importantly knowing that my stay is not permanent and to save me from a future pain of saying good byes to friendships I have created a bubble around myself.
Yet, I have developed meaningful relationships and have a circle of international friends (I am not sure it was because of the compatibility, likeness, similar way of style or their perseverance, but I am intensely grateful to all my friends for not giving up on me). And on every departure I faced the dreaded good-byes. And in situations like these, two questions always arise. The first one – when will we meet again?
The world is small. I speak from my own experience. I have met many people again in the most unusual and unexpected places. Some of them alerted me in advance that we will be in the same place and the same time. But I did not want to rely only on fate or higher institution to bring us together and I have decided to help the invisible hand. So instead of traveling to places on my “to discover” bucket list as originally planned, I have done something else. I have traveled either to well-known places that I used to call my home for some time and spent quality time with friends that still lived in those places. Or I have set off on a trip with my friends living already elsewhere and spent nice time discovering the bucket list places together.
Why am I back online now? You can spend time like this only with a limited amount of friends. So, I am settling down, again abroad, for the next 3 months. But this time I am back in Abu Dhabi, the place I lived in the past two years and it is just in time to enjoy the life with good old friends again before we all go separate ways. And that brings the second question to light – how can one keep in touch with so many friends in so many places and timezone to keep the relationship on track? The answer I found is the online presence.
So feel free to write me a message anytime you feel like it. I will be happy to hear from you. 🙂