Thousands of kilometres. Hours of plane journey. The DMZ. Whatever it is that’s keeping your friend from his or her BF/GF doesn’t matter – what matters is how the hell you’re supposed to begin to deal with someone else’s multi-country, perhaps even multi-continent LDR.
Firstly, just be an awesome friend. Be nice. Make plans. Keep them busy. Listen. Support. Reserve judgement. Not that anyone can ever truly understand anybody else’s relationship, ever, but your friend’s is now more complicated than you could possibly imagine. That doesn’t mean it’s not still amazing. But if you don’t want to put your foot in it, read on …
1. Never ask how the absent lover is doing.
This is only reminding your friend that they cannot thoroughly answer, because they do not know – not in as much detail as they should, or used to. This makes them mad. You might think you’re being caring and showing interest – you’re actually throwing salt on the slug. Don’t.
2. Stop bringing up how much sex they’ll have when they’re reunited.
One: you’re not the first, you’re not even the thirty-first. Two: do not think this thought is groundbreaking for your friend, or likely to make them feel better in any way. Three: really?
3. Don’t say, “Well at least there’s Interflora.”
Nobody told the absent one this. There have been no flowers. Don’t rub it in.
3. Don’t say, “Well at least there’s Skype.”
OK so we’re not confined to radio contact once a week but – have you ever tried to use Skype for an extended period of time on a regular basis? Ugh. Robo-speak gets old, fast.
4. If you’re going to ask, “And how are YOU doing?”, do it before the wine comes out.
Not after. You will regret it. And don’t ask all the time. Coping is a private and constant endeavour. Bring wine nonetheless.
5. Don’t say, “Oh I saw on Facebook that [insert absent one's name here] was doing [insert activity here] with [anybody else].”
Guaranteed to piss your friend off. Instant flash of anger at: a) you knowing some detail about the absent one’s life that they don’t or, b) the reminder that other people get to hang out with him/her. Yeah it’s irrational, but your friend is jealous of everybody who gets to see the absent one, or who knows more about him or her right now. Be gentle.
6. Do not mock the countdown.
Goddammit, it’s not sad, or cute, or obsessive. And it’s absolutely no less weird than counting down the days to a tokenly religious festival that’s devoid of all personal theological meaning to you, aided by chocolates hidden behind tiny paper doors. So there.
* Do you know what it feels like? What are your tips for dealing? Comment below!