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One Call Away

How does moving away affect friendships?
Roommates Dr. Lori Lichtman and friend Judy dress up for Halloween their freshman year at Michigan State in 1978.

“I’m only one call away. I’ll be there to save the day,” said Charlie Puth in his 2016 song, “One Call Away.” While Puth later said he was inspired to write the song by his friend who was in a long-distance relationship, the “one call away” concept still applies to friends who are living apart.

10th grader Lily Carroll remembered a friend of hers named Millie who had moved to her old middle school, Tappan, and then moved back to Georgia the summer after. Carroll recalled a former friend of hers from Tappan finding out that a new girl would be moving to their school, and she wanted them to join their friend group. “I knew we were going to get a new student,” Carroll said, “and I made it my goal to become her friend; she actually ended up meaning a lot to me.”

When describing Millie, Carroll said, “She was very loving. She was always there. She was extraordinarily funny and compassionate. She’s the kind of girl who always has your back. Not to mention, she could make you laugh even if you were bawling your eyes out. She was incredibly sweet. She didn’t see a lot of the good parts in her, but a lot of people around her did, and anyone who was lucky enough to be her friend knew that they were lucky.”

While maintaining a long-distance friendship can be difficult and requires a lot of effort from both parties, Carroll described keeping in touch with Millie by texting each other as often as they can and calling one another every now and then to catch up and make sure that they don’t drift apart. Additionally, the pair also follow each other on most social media platforms, such as TikTok, Instagram and Snapchat.

“She was one of my closest friends, and it hurt me when she moved,” Carroll said. It affected me for a long time, but you know, we kept in contact, so it doesn’t hurt as much anymore. I can talk about her without crying now.”

Dr. Lori Lichtman is a clinical psychologist with a private practice in a group setting called the Ann Arbor Center for the Family. Dr. Lichtman recalled her personal experience when it came to moving away from friends. “I moved to San Francisco when my son was two months old, and I really, really had a hard time adjusting to being away and being away from family and friends and also driving; and my dear friend who now lives in Reno came to visit me. And I think it was a couple of months after we had moved to San Francisco, and it’s like no time has passed.”

When it comes to childhood friends that move away, Dr. Lichtman describes how she would always be there for them day or night and vice versa, which helps them stay connected. “I’ve been friends with my friend Judy, who has lived in LA since fifth grade since I was 10 years old. Sometimes we’ve had arguments. We lived together in college but those arguments never affected our connection Dr. Lichtman said, “I was there when her dad died. I was supposed to go to my 40th high school reunion, but her dad died, and I dropped everything and went to her. It’s just always understood that we’re going to have each other’s backs, no matter what. And, yeah, yeah, I would say that’s how we stay connected.”

Whether you stay connected to long-distance friends through social media, a phone call, or being able to visit them in person, maintaining the relationship can be a lot of work. Never forget the days you spent together and the memories that you made.

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About the Contributor
Allegra Blackwood
Allegra Blackwood, Journalist
Allegra Blackwood has wanted to be a writer ever since she can remember. Her dream is to give a voice to people who are scared to speak out or forced to be silent. Joining the Communicator was a dream come true for her and she hopes to do more journalistic work in the future!

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