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There's a world outside the front door

The goalkeepers from Russia and Richmond, Virginia, embrace after their game.
The goalkeepers from Russia and Richmond, Virginia, embrace after their game.
Chip Somodevilla

Most of us in long distance relationships have experienced the night when friends want you to come hang out with them and you are just not interested. Maybe your workday has you feeling run down, or you haven’t slept well lately, or maybe you’re feeling the blues about being separated from your boo. While it’s understandable that on selected occasions you will choose to enjoy a night in, making a habit of spending social time alone can not only be unhealthy for the long distance relationship—potentially making you too dependent on your partner for human interaction—but it can be unhealthy for your life as a whole.

I refer to my favorite book on LDRs for more on this topic. Dr. Gregory T. Guldner, author of Long Distance Relationships: The Complete Guide, writes: “Minimizing the amount of social isolation will lessen (but not eliminate) your feelings of emotional loneliness. Several studies on separated couples have confirmed the importance of getting out and spending time with friends. Companionship with friends helps strengthen your relationship and reduces the loneliness and depression reported by those in LDRs. While it may feel awkward being out with friends on a Friday or Saturday night, you should make every effort…Consider it your contribution to keeping yourself sane and your LDR strong.”

For some of us, this is even harder than just making the decision to hang out with friends. Some of us have trouble making friends to begin with. I can list several reasons why I hardly have any friends, but the point is, it’s very difficult for some of us to socialize when we’re most comfortable keeping ourselves company. But it’s worth the effort to socialize with people if you’re choosing good people with common interests to hang with. I’m hosting a childhood friend this very weekend, talking sports and women and having dinner outside the house with other friends, and as much as I miss chatting with my fiancée, it’s a welcome divergence to my normal routine to be able to talk to someone else for a few days and get other viewpoints on a multitude of topics. And I had a blast watching the Chicago Blackhawks win the Stanley Cup last month because I chose to ask a friend to come to a local establishment and watch the games with me every night. Calling my honey with hockey news on those nights would not have gotten much of a response.

So get off of that couch and connect with people other than your faraway lover. Tag along when co-workers invite you for after-work fun. Call up the friend who you haven’t spoken to for months because you’ve both been busy. Join a social club like the Chicago Sport and Social Club (be ready to fight off the singles who want to do more than join your volleyball team). Make the effort to interact with other life forms and enrich your own life. Unless he or she is insanely jealous, your lover will be happy for you.