My friend Sophia is leaving Okinawa for good next month, and I’m anguished over it.
Maybe I shouldn’t be.
Contrary to past psychology that said we needed geographical closeness to maintain healthy friendships, research now suggests online communication is effective in bridging distant friendships. Some relationships even thrive without frequent face-to-face contact.
Even so, Sophia’s departure is an emotional transition for me.
I never felt like this before when hometown friends moved away for college, or when I moved overseas several times to teach ESL.
Why should saying goodbye to a friend abroad take such a great toll?
Even with modern means of communication, I believe long distance expat friendships can be especially fragile. Not only can distance complicate our relationships, but a change in context can have impact as well.