How Snapchat is Revolutionizing Long-Distance Friendships

Photo courtesy of my long-distance best friend/the most culturally relevant Snapchat artist born north of the Mason Dixo
Photo courtesy of my long-distance best friend/the most culturally relevant Snapchat artist born north of the Mason Dixon. 

 

Ah, Millennials. When will we learn the meaning of real human intimacy in the age of technology?

And yet, as much as technology distances us from one another but supplementing personal contact with twitter DMs and Facebook messages, it has also done wonders for intimate communication—for close friendships that already existed without the help of technology. Snapchat, in particular, has done wonders for friendships across state and country lines by keeping us silly.

I’m not talking about the snaps you post to your Story—the ones of your fabulous life you hope everyone sees, the unattainable normal social media projects. I’m talking about the snaps you send to only your best friends. The first-thing-in-the-morning “I woke up like dis” pics; the toilet snaps; the sloppy works of face-in-the-hole art you wasted a solid 6 minutes drawing with your index finger; 10-second video selfies of you shamelessly belting your best friend’s favorite song when it comes on in the bar.

While living in the same city as close friends, relationships develop from both organic, soul-bearing conversations and the moments of beautiful nonsense alike. Moments in which we feel truly ourselves, no projections or defenses needed. When a trip to the DMV turns into an Avicii concert in the front seat of her car, and you learn to take the world a little less seriously.

But as we grow up and move away and start new lives, we are robbed of those precious moments. Intimacy becomes a chore. We aren’t used to that.

Snapchat keeps us directly involved in the mundane goings-on of our friends’ lives we may have taken for granted when we lived close. Because friendship isn’t just about sharing big victories or losses. It’s about being present for everything in between, too. It’s about being yourself in the presence of another—silly, candid, un-judged, and unfiltered (unless said filter turns your face into a panda bear). So you keep each other updated on the mundane with snaps of your new puppy asleep on your head or pictures of how you decorated your cubicle at your new job. You want to share the little things with people you care for the most.

Snapchat doesn’t replace frequent meaningful conversations—relationships do need to be nurtured. But there’s a spontaneity to a 10-second snap that reignites the feelings you had when your friend was 10-minutes down the road.

No need to be professional or perfect, just yourself.

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