Distance Dilemmas; How to deal with insensitive people

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Dear DD,

I’m looking for thoughts on how to deal with friends and family who are super insensitive about my relationship. I try hard to be positive and not complain about how hard it is for me being long distance, but I still have no idea how to respond when my friends complain about not seeing their S/O for 2 days.

Should I speak up and say something, or should I just bite my tongue and deal with it?

– Anonymous

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It can be tough when people complain about being away from their s/o for seemingly trivial amounts of time when you haven’t seen your s/o in weeks or months. I don’t think that any person in a long distance situation would ever say that it’s wrong for you to feel wounded by that. However it’s important to remember that each relationship has it’s own obstacles and in the end, 2 days of distance might take the same toll on your friends as 2 months of distance would to you.

The best way to deal with this situation is to turn it from being a negative to something that is potentially positive. Instead of feeling defensive or becoming offended by insensitive statements from friends, use it as an opportunity to show them the sensitivity that you’d like to be shown. Treat them the way you’d like to be treated.

If your friend mentions missing their s/o you can show them support by politely saying something along the lines of: “Yeah, I know how you feel. It’s been X amount of time since I’ve seen my s/o and that drives me crazy. Don’t worry you’ll see them soon.” You can go even further by giving them advice on how you cope with being away from the person you love.

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Responding in this way will not only make them feel like they have your support and backing about their own relationship, but it will also knock them back to reality and help them to realize that you’re really missing someone too. Maybe in the future, they will reflect that sensitivity back to you and instead of it being a competition your friendship can then become a mutual support system for the both of you despite the differences in your relationships.

Every relationship has problems and obstacles. Being in a close distance relationship does not mean that two people won’t ever miss each other. Sure they’ll be missing each other across a shorter span of time and distance, but they are still missing each other in a very real way.

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1 comment

Riley September 26, 2014 - 10:41 pm

I just wanted to say that this advice really helped me. I was ready to blow up on my friend over her insensitivity but doing this made her step back and go “oh yeah you totally deal with this all the time” so thanks so much for this advice!

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