Making friends can be easy but keeping them is the true testament of a friendship.
Take Natasha and I, for instance.
Natasha was a free spirit, and her energy was evident. We met while I was attending summer classes at the UO. When I walked into my Spanish class, I sat next to her. Curious, I began asking her questions to gauge her interest level, and, immediately, our conversations started to flow. From talking about Spanish to traveling abroad, we instantly clicked.
After that summer, she graduated. And even though she lives in the same state, I hardly see her. However, we talk on the phone every week, and these sessions helped ease the pain of proximity and convenience. They’ve taught me something valuable: Friendship is a commitment — one that requires trust.
I told her that you know you have a true friend when, no matter the distance, you can pick up your friendship right where you left off.
Many of us have experienced or will experience friends moving away, traveling to other parts of the world or just changing in general.
So how do we keep those friendships?
Patience and effort. Over the past year, I have realized that if you truly care about someone, you will make a commitment and put in the effort to keep the relationship alive and thriving. Some of my best friends who I’ve known for 12 years built that trust with me. I cherish each of those friendships dearly, but it took time to get to a point where we knew we trusted each other.
Time helps to unveil hidden secrets about a person, time persuades acceptance, time helps to increase compassion and love. All are values that people seek. To me, these are the most important things to obtain in a lifetime. It’s something so important and intangible. Trust is having faith and believing in something you cannot see but feel.
When we move, change cities, graduate or relocate, a friendship’s worth isn’t measured by extravagant trips or the amount of money spent on gifts. It’s measured by trust and commitment. You are trusting another human to make the effort to see you and communicate with you.
You’re trusting that friend to keep the connection alive through distance and time — a connection that only grows stronger when reciprocated.
All of my best friends are scattered throughout the United States, but I have taken numerous trips to see all of them. They trusted me to go the extra mile, and I know they would do the same for me.
Like my friend Malena. She left Oregon about five years ago and ended up graduating from a prestigious university, got engaged and found a career to help start her path. Last year, I saw her walk across the stage as she accepted her diploma. I was proud of her.
I’ve known her for 12 years and sharing that moment with her was unbelievable. Sharing life goals and milestones are important in long-term friendships because they help solidify meaning and love.
Then there’s Amanda, who I met during my sophomore year of high school. We stayed up late (a normal thing for us) and wrote each other letters — promising each other that we would keep them and read them when we were older.
I’m 23 now, and I can say that I still talk to her almost daily. And that wouldn’t happen if we both didn’t put in the effort.
But here’s the beautiful thing: When friendship truly means something to you, it doesn’t feel like effort at all. It feels like love.