If you’ve lived abroad, you know that friendships with people at home change. I’ve now lived an extended period abroad twice and I’ve noticed some patterns with my friends back home. I love all my friends and I appreciate them and the idiosyncrasies that make them who they are. Purely for entertainment purposes I present to you:
The Six Types of Friends You Have While Living Abroad
(Friends at home)
Maybe you were really good friends at one time but circumstances and life have brought distance to your relationship. Maybe it was a college friend and now that the days of flip cup and Kings have passed, you just don’t have that much in common. Maybe you were friends of convenience, forced together by a mutual group of friends. Whatever the case may be, this a friend that, in all likelihood, you will never see again. But thanks to Facebook, you will know when they get married and have kids and they will know when you’re on vacation on a tropical island swimming with dolphins and riding on the backs of elephants.
This friend is busy. They are probably pretty popular too. They are focused on the here and now. They are great friends—when you are right in front of their face. They are busy being a great friend to everyone who didn’t have the gall to move to some godforsaken country halfway across the world. So unless you reach out, you will not hear from them. But do not despair, if and when you return, they will incorporate you back into their lives like you were never gone.
This friend was probably already a distance friend to begin with. They may have already lived in another city or maybe another country so for them nothing really has changed. If you were a good distance friend at home, you’ll probably continue to be one when you live abroad. You still Skype or chat on the phone, send Buzzfeed articles to each other, watch the same TV shows and converse about those and generally just continue a good friendship with no hiccups.
This friend can sometimes fit into multiple categories. Maybe you are good friends, maybe you’re little more than acquaintances. But you can count on this friend to visit you whether you’re in the Siberian tundra or the Sahara desert and definitely if you’re living on the island of Tahiti. They love to travel and they love to travel with someone who knows the area and can give them the inside scoop.
These friends are interesting. You may not have even been friends at all when you were at home. Maybe you met them just before you left. Or maybe they were co-workers or the friend of a friend but since you left they have come out of the woodwork! They email, Skype, write letters and send packages. If you need, they’ll give you money. You may or may not remain friends when you return but while you’re abroad, they are awesome.
Most likely this is a friend who has lived abroad as well. Or it’s your mom. If you need to talk and it’s 3am their time, they will talk. They want to be up to date on anything and everything that’s going on in your life. You have toe fungus? They’ll research how to get rid of it. Then they’ll express mail you what you need. You are craving Oreos? They will send Oreos. Nothing is too much for this friend. They love you and know how hard life is and they will do anything humanly possible to make your life a little better.
Friends come in all shapes, sizes and personalities. I thank God each and everyday for my friends and how they have, do and will enrich my life.