3 things my Remote Year family taught me about relationships

1. Different people have different places in your life.

When you’re constantly moving, you meet a lot of people. You build relationships — big and small — and sometimes you’re left confused as to where each relationship fits into your life. How do you explore something that can only account for a few hours of your life? Do you just leave it there, on the dance floor, at a hostel in Bolivia? It’s hard to know when to follow a relationship.

Not all relationships have to fit into your life, but there’s room for a lot of ’em if you make room. If you know what to expect from each person, each relationship.

Some people are good for a laugh, others are good when you just need to cry. Some are there to support you during a tough time, and some people are around to bring you back down to earth when you think you’re the coolest person in the goddamn world.

Know that you can have everyone you want, but don’t expect everything from everyone.

2. Everyone needs a warm-up period.

Not everyone makes a good first impression. Give people a second chance to show you who they are and how they fit into your life.

They might have been having a bad day at the coffee shop you met them at. That party may not have been their scene. Maybe for your relationship, you both need to be out of your comfort zone for something to spark.

For some people it takes a day to warm-up. Others, eleven months.

Don’t discount a relationship just because there’s not a blazing fire the moment after you meet. Allow for exploration. Sometimes those relationships are stronger because you waited for the right time.

3. Be a good friend by spending time alone.

Truth: I’m a worse version of myself when I spend all my time with other people.

Even if these people are really amazing people, my allies, and my supporters — I still need time alone to digest, reflect, and unwind.

I improved friendships and kept relationships because I made a conscious decision to say “no” to something so that I could be by myself.

If you can’t have a good relationship with yourself, you can’t have a good relationship with other people. Make yourself a better friend and spend time alone every now and then.


Zoë Björnson is a Remote Year Citizen who is a member of Remote Year Cousteau. She works for about.me and calls a lot of places home.

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