Being abroad can afford opportunities to make amazing friends, often from different countries. There’s something to be said about sharing a potential intense experience, as travel often is, and the foundations as Rick would say from Casablanca – “for a beautiful friendship.” With that said though, there are a variety of logistical issues that will tax upon your friendship as you eventually leave and go home. The reality is that a lot of the more superficial friendships you made will fade pretty quickly, but those that remain have the chance of being lifelong friend. Like watering a tree a friendship needs to be cared for. Here are a few ideas for maintaining an international friendship.
Be realistic about who you are going to try to stay in touch with
This is the first point. I won’t go on long about this other than to say chances are the person you knew for two days in Greece who lives across the world from you is a friendship that will fade. Make the effort with people you knew for some time and had the chance to really connect to.
An important aspect of a friendship based upon traveling is not just living in the past. There can be no doubt that it is great fun to reminisce about the old times, but if that is all there it is it will get stale and boring. The best way to cement a friendship is to create new memories. If distance makes that impossible for the time being, then be sure to talk about things happening in your lives now. Basically what I am saying is move the conversation forward from just the time you were around each other.
Realize that they may have different expectations on them at home and behave a little different
Think of all your old friends and how they expected you to be the same when you got back from your trip. Expectation is always a dangerous thing that more often than not leads to conflict. Don’t expect your international friend to remain exactly the same as you remember them. New life circumstances and pressures are going to alter them, just as they are going to alter you. When you do meet up again, don’t expect it to be exactly the same.
Don’t force it, the friendship will be there
Last, but not least, don’t force it. You don’t need to be trying to call the person every second day and suffocating them in their day to day life. One of the great things about travel friends is that unlike friends near to you they will understand if you don’t talk for a bit. I think honesty, it is expected to be that way.