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There are many people who say long distance never works and if you meet someone
faraway its not worth pursuing because it’s too difficult. I agreed with this until recently when I made a few online friends and it has completely changed my view. So my project is called Emotions of Long Distance, the emotions that come with maintaining friendships with people who are online or long distance, to show people that it is possible to make things work! I researched, and it seems that they found a lot of the negativity about long distance is all just speculation. When they actually tracked the data, those in an in person relationship were no better off than a long distance relationship. It was also noted that the relationship was rated to have higher satisfaction if the participants talked on the phone.
I’ve realized I have rather intense emotions regarding online friendships because there is so much I don’t know about the person or their environment that my imagination takes over and it’s like I’m constantly bouncing between two different lives, there’s an entire narrative going on in my head that’s romanticizing what it would be like to meet of visit that person’s country. I have a friend that travels and she’ll message me from hostels, so naturally, my first thought is to imagine her traipsing through an amazon rainforest or rowing a kayak in a river of bioluminescent fish, when i reality, it probably isn’t as exciting. As I escape into these worlds, from the outside it’s just me sitting in a room with my phone. My imagination is kind of like a form of escapism for me, but I have realized I do need to be careful. Not everything is as it seems on the internet, people can shape their content to portray a certain lifestyle, when it may not be like that in real life. So, this project shows a mix between reality and the going ons of my internal world as I create and maintain friendships from around the globe.
Illusion of Perfection
"Different people serve different roles in your life – don’t rely on one person to be your everything." -Andrew, New Jersey
When there are unknowns our brains tend to fill in the gaps, which can lead to false perceptions of who a person is, especially when it’s high off of meeting someone you connect with. No one is 100% good or 100% bad. You may think someone is an abnormally fantabulous angelic human being but do you want the ugly truth? none of us are perfect. The good news? None of us are so it gives you permission to embrace those imperfections and love the parts of you that are imperfectly perfect. Part of long distance is eventually discovering each other’s monsters after the idealization phase has passed, which can easily destroy the relationship if someone had too many expectations built up involving how the other person is supposed to act, think, or feel. You can never really know someone you’ve recently met online, and first impressions are not always accurate. Take it slow, think of learning all the ends and outs of the other as a fun learning process, and don’t insist that the other person shows up in any specific way. Accept their monsters or leave, never try to change someone. It’s okay if you don’t always show your good side - real is better than the illusion of perfection.
"I couldn’t tell you how many times I’ve imagined meeting her and spending time with her."
I get attached to people quickly and want to meet them, so naturally my brain jumps to the rainbow and ponies version of what that would be like. I hope to meet my friends one day, in the meantime I will gaze wistfully up at all the airplanes that fly over my house.
Heart to Heart
“I don’t have that worry of having to look or act a certain way for her to like and accept me.”
Without the physical element, we rely on emotional bonds only, long distance friendships allow us to bond with people whom we wouldn't normally give a second glance should we walk by them on the street. I love that! I’ve become friends with so many personalities. I know for a lot of introverts and for me because I’m more reserved you’ll see our hearts in their truest form through written communication. There aren’t as many social filters or fear of judgement like there is in face to face meetups. Meeting potential friends online is easier because it’s easy to walk away from people who don't connect with you when they live halfway across the globe. It’s important to show your true personality from the get go because that’s all others have to go by. They cant observe you in day to day life like they can in person. Actions speak louder than words, but when you can only rely on words for connection, it’s imperative that you wear your heart on your sleeve.
Cozy Night In
“(Time zone differences) …can make it difficult to coordinate calls.” -Andrew, New Jersey
It’s easy to lose track of the time when you have someone you want to talk to all the time - especially if they’re in a different time zone. It’s also peaceful, finishing the days work and then getting to relax and check in on everyone. The latest I’ve stayed up was 4 A.M. 10/10 would not recommend. Remember to take care of you and not to get so distracted that your life flies by. But it is comforting to have friends to talk to when you want, even at ungodly hours of the morning.
Allure of the Unknown
“Things in her regular every day that she tells me about, I wind up thinking “I wish I could have seen that” or “I wish I could support her more in her endeavors!” - Coral, Texas
I was listening to Mika’s Stuck in the Middle while texting my friend from another country. The lyrics resonated with me because I really wanted to visit them but because of my health issues I can’t fly on planes. I tend to go for things normally, so I felt a bit stuck and although we both wanted to meet each other, I worried that it wasn’t worth it for the other person to visit me and wasn’t sure if I should get my hopes up by that idea. When I created this image, I included the green light as a tribute to the novel The Great Gatsby. If you haven’t read it, it centers around a man who’s ex lover lives across the harbor and he looks out at the green light every night wondering what she’s up to. One of the main takeaways from that novel is that you shouldn’t have expectations- he built up her character in his mind and when he finally saw her again she wasn’t the person he thought she was. The light symbolizes our expectations and how we often have fear of missing out on the other person’s life or activities. This happens with social media, but it also happened for me in this friendship. I think it was exacerbated by the fact that I have codependent tendencies, so I did feel sometimes like I was missing out. I wanted to spend time with them and experience what their life was like.
Love From Across the Pond
“Sometimes I look at you and think- what a miracle it is that I happened to be born during a time when you are alive and that we happened to meet.” - Lexie, California
Call me a hippie, but I meditate and pray for my friends often. I am so blessed and thankful to have met so many wonderful people. When I send out good vibes in my meditations, they take the form of pink butterflies and golden light. (And now I bet I have a bunch of people giving me the side eye.) It has been difficult for me lately as I recently lost someone I considered to be a good friend, I have not been practicing gratitude as I should be. Let this photograph serve as a reminder to remember all the people that care about you. Love them, and let them know how much they mean to you.
Alone with Friends
“it feels like she is always with me even when we aren’t around each other.”
- Carrie, Michigan
My love language is physical touch, so it can be difficult when I have a close friend who lives far away because I can’t hug them. That sounds slightly dumb typing out #firstworldproblems, but it is a big deal to me. This image represents how you can be involved with a community online and spend time with friends and work on projects and self growth together all on one little device. We feel as though we are surrounded by friends but someone looking in from the outside would see us sitting in our room alone. I haven’t decided if that’s a good or bad thing. There’s no incentive to go out to meet people anymore when we can do it from the comfort of our own home. But there’s a lot of face to face rituals we miss out on, specifically physical touch or taking part in activities together in the same space. In that way there is still aloneness.
“I love knowing that I have this best friend that none of my friends who live locally to me know” -Melissa, Oregon
We can’t always remove ourselves from dreary or negative environments, which is why long distance can be such a great thing. Those people are detached from your everyday life and can offer fresh perspectives, comfort, and laughs on a bad day.
The Friend Collective
“If the last two years have taught me anything, is how god damn lucky I was to have found a friend like you who supported me through thick and thin.”
I was told by a friend once that I am a fan of grand gestures, and I think that’s true, I do like to go all out on my projects. That, I think, is exemplified in in this image. I dress up for my video content sometimes, whereas other people dress up to go out. I place more emphasis on my online world and family because it is hard for me to go out and do physical things with POTS, but making skits, art, and content still allows me to dress up and feel nice and interact with people despite my limitations. I am truly grateful for the internet for that. I have been dealt some interesting cards so I’m trying to do the same things I’ve done before and appease my little extraverted heart, just in a different way.
Also, shout out to the people who were good sports and sent me their photos! Look at my beautiful friends! ^^
The Meeting Place
“I’d give anything just to be able to hangout in person for a night”
-Kylee, Niagra Falls
A mystical image of an idealized first meeting with a new friend. Meeting someone you’ve been wanting to see for so long I imagine would be a beautiful moment. Connecting with that particular person out of 7 billion people on this planet is a miracle and it’s nice to share the friendship experience - just talking and getting to know each other in the physical space.
Thank you so much for taking the time to read this blog! <3 - Alexa