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Does Long Distance Friendship Work?

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I switched countries in my early childhood. Athenian olive groves for rainy London suburbia. At the age of five I had to say goodbye to people I cared about and start afresh with a whole new bunch of friends. I got on with it but it left a residual feeling of rejection and abandonment.

Now as an adult, goodbyes are hideous. I even cry at the airport when other people say goodbye, let alone me. Forget about the scenes in The Kid or Titanic.

I haven't made things easy for myself either. Living in France in early 20s and then Oz in mid 30s and now Paris again has meant creating a new life and inevitably leaving it behind.

Definitely my worst ever goodbye was the last one I said to my Dad. It broke my heart and I am only just recovering. But it taught me one thing. Despite never seeing him I feel closer than ever to him. It is an eternal relationship.

I have had some real friendship tests recently. In Paris you meet many expats who then go back home. Perhaps I am calling into my life these wandering minstrels to teach me to deal with change or I am attracted to foreign cultures. Either way it has been a learning curve.

Recently a very very good friend went back home to Asia. We went from being total BFFs to strangers, miscommunicating via email. I felt as though I was freefalling. Angry that the contact wasn't the same intensity and upset that the value of the friendship seemed higher for me.
I have another friend who I rarely see now but through bbm and the odd long and deep call we seem to keep our friendship fresh and alive.

One of my best friends is in Sydney and we both adore each other. We always remember birthdays, important moments and somehow we tune in when the other person is in need. When we talk it's as if I'd seen her yesterday. We cackle and cry at the same thing.

My sister is in London and Facetime-ing her little sons has been a brilliant way of seeing them regularly - in fact I'm sure my two-year-old nephew thinks I'm a virtual superhero as he also watches Sporticus on the iPhone.

For me the biggest lesson is that it is all about the connection. If it is strong it will survive any gap in time or space. The friendship pull will make it work. If the link is too fragile it will unravel fast.

In a way distance is the greatest test of friendship. It is ever so easy to be thick as thieves when someone lives around the corner. In fact I have discovered sometimes proximity gives you a false sense of closeness.

The heart connection with another being is what truly counts. From this everything is possible - love across the waves, advice when things go sour and laughter for no reason at all.

They say most people can count their true friends on one hand. I say that is a good thing. I'd now rather a few real friends than lots of maybes. We think we need lots of people in our lives. Actually we don't. No man is an island but these days we tend to fill our world with too many people especially through false popularity of social networks. We end up losing ourselves and giving too much of our energy away without necessarily getting any back.

The ultimate question is if you had four spare spaces in a shuttle to the moon, who would you take? Really and honestly. The first snap answers will show who is really important to you.

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