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Friendship Around the World

"Friendship can't be destroyed by miles."

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Friends matter, and now more than ever, our friendships are not limited by location or the passing of time. We can carry these relationships with us wherever we go. Here are some true stories and stats about long-distance and long-term friendships on Facebook.

LONG-DISTANCE FRIENDS

Friendship is not about proximity. Good friends can stay close no matter where you are.

Once A Year

<p>Laszlo, left, and Michael in the studio.</p>

Laszlo, left, and Michael in the studio.

Michael Ahmadi and Laszlo Esztegar were friends in grade school in Cologne, Germany. After Laszlo moved to Budapest, Hungary, when they were 15, the guys tried to visit each other at least once a year.

In late 2013, they started collaborating on a music project even though they were physically apart. Using Facebook Messages, they talk about lyrics and share audio clips. When their songs are nearly complete, they meet in a studio in Budapest to record the final version together. They call their band Once A Year.

See more about Michael and Laszlo's story in the video at the top of the page.

Accidental Friends

<p>Marissa, left, and April met in person for the first time in 2012.</p>

Marissa, left, and April met in person for the first time in 2012.

Five years ago, Marissa Brown accidentally sent a friend request to the wrong April. When April Wurr, who lives in Ontario, Canada, got the friend request, she wondered who this stranger from Ohio was who wanted to be her friend.

Curious, April wrote Marissa a message to learn more. Marissa quickly realized her mistake, but the two girls continued talking and started to bond over their love of horses. They messaged each other for hours that night and learned how much they had in common — both were homeschooled high school students, had divorced parents and lived with their mothers.

Their friendship grew quickly and they spent hours talking on Facebook each night. After two years of only knowing each other online, April and her family drove more than 9 hours to meet Marissa in Ohio. Both are in college now and talk every day over Messenger.

I never really knew anyone outside of my area let alone a different country. Once we got to talking, we were surprised at how much we had in common.

Marissa Brown


Even when your friends aren't physically near, they can still be there for you.

Jean's Village

<p>Jessie lives with her daughter Jean and guide dogs in Oakland, California.</p>

Jessie lives with her daughter Jean and guide dogs in Oakland, California.

Nearly four years ago, Jessie Lorenz was pregnant with her first child. At her baby shower, she and the other guests talked about the old maxim, “It takes a village to raise a child.” Jessie thought about her friends and family at the shower and how they would be the village for her daughter Jean. She decided to create a Facebook Group for them all and called it Jean's Village.

Jessie used the group to share photos and private moments with her friends across the country. She asked questions and turned to other moms for advice. When Jean was 9 months-old, Jessie became a single mother. The group became an even more important support system for her and special place to celebrate milestones in Jean's life. Jessie says having day-to-day moral support and other help from friends made all the difference in her first years as a parent.

Facebook helps Jessie overcome more barriers than just distance. Jessie is blind and uses Facebook with VoiceOver on her iPhone. She says Facebook allows her to connect with friends and other people she meets in a natural way that helps dispel certain attitudes and myths about people who are blind. “Facebook makes me more accessible and less alien to people,” Jessie says.


LONG-TERM FRIENDS

With some friends, you can pick up right where you left off, even if you don't talk all the time or haven't seen each other in years. Some bonds are forever.

You Know You Grew Up in Stockton...

<p>Angelia, center, with Diane and Joanne in 2013.</p>

Angelia, center, with Diane and Joanne in 2013.

Angelia Kwok and her parents moved to Stockton, California, from Hong Kong when she was young. Angelia remembers being a shy child, so it surprised her when two girls in her neighborhood — twins named Diane and Joanne — walked across the street to introduce themselves. They quickly became friends and spent their days playing, swimming, riding bikes and talking about everything together.

When Angelia was in junior high, Diane and Joanne moved away. The friends stayed in touch with letters, but by college they had lost touch.

Two years ago, Angelia joined the Facebook Group, “You know you grew up in Stockton...” to reminisce with others about the town where she grew up. Through a series of connections, Angelia was able to track down her two best friends. In May 2013, the three women reunited in Fresno, where Angelia now lives. The twins stayed the night with Angelia, and they all talked about their lives and remembered stories from their friendship 45 years ago.

First Friends

<p>Emma, left, and Elizabeth were best friends from age 2 to 5. They reconnected in high school and now go to college in the same area.</p>

Emma, left, and Elizabeth were best friends from age 2 to 5. They reconnected in high school and now go to college in the same area.

<p>Emma's note to Elizabeth before Elizabeth moved to Boston.</p>

Emma's note to Elizabeth before Elizabeth moved to Boston.

Elizabeth Mahon's first friend was Emma Hetico. They were 2 years old growing up in Madison, Wisconsin, and they were inseparable until age 5 when Elizabeth's family moved to Boston. Being too young to keep up regular contact, they lost touch. It wasn't until Elizabeth was a senior in high school that she found the parting gift that she got from Emma before she moved: a children's book, which had a note from Emma that her mom had written on the inside.

Elizabeth decided to find Emma on Facebook. She was happy to see Emma still remembered her, and the two caught up on each other's lives. Later that year, Elizabeth found out she was accepted to Harvard, so she messaged Emma to share the news. It turned out Emma would be attending another school in Boston and they'd be just a short train ride away. Now in their junior year of college, Elizabeth and Emma are even closer than were as children.

Spending time with Emma was like being little with her all over again. We had a lot to catch up on, but our friendship grew stronger and brighter.

Elizabeth Mahon

Ultimate Frisbee Reunion

<p>Teffi Titus and friends reunited for an Ultimate Frisbee game at their high school nine years after graduation.</p>

Teffi Titus and friends reunited for an Ultimate Frisbee game at their high school nine years after graduation.

In 2013, Teffi Titus was catching up with an old high school friend, Anugraha Singh, on Facebook. They reminisced about high school in Mumbai, especially the people they played Ultimate Frisbee with. Since graduating in 2004, most of the men had lost touch, but Teffi and Anugraha decided to organize a reunion game. Teffi made a poster and uploaded it to Facebook, tagging old classmates who then shared it and tagged other friends.

A small group of guys came out to play at their old high school. When classmates who couldn't make it saw the photos on Facebook, they decided to plan a larger match. After this game, everyone spent time inside the school remembering friends, teachers and the time they spent together.

We might not have been as fit to play, but we had fun like in the old days.

Teffi Titus

Tour de Asia

<p>Yosef, left, Joko, middle, and Tasman, right, in Malaysia in December 2014.</p>

Yosef, left, Joko, middle, and Tasman, right, in Malaysia in December 2014.

Tasman, Joko and Yosef all worked for the same company in the early 1990s, and met at a cycling event organized by their office. They bonded over their cycling hobby and rode together for years. Later, Yosef was transferred to another area and lost contact with his two friends.

After he retired, Yosef found Joko and Tasman on Facebook. Yosef had been cycling across the country and discovered that Joko and Tasman were on a trip of their own. Yosef was thrilled to learn his friends still shared his love of cycling, even after years apart. They met up and planned a cycling trip across Asia in late 2014.

At 58, 65 and 66, they became known as the Three Grandpas as they documented their “Tour de Asia” adventure on Facebook. They wanted to prove they could remain active at any age, and in 50 days, they biked across seven countries.



Methodology

Friendship insights are based on internal Facebook data for global monthly active users during January 2015.

Compiled by Brittany Darwell, Editor; Robert D'Onofrio, Data Manager; Ariel Evnine, Data Scientist; Bogdan State, Data Scientist; and Allie Townsend, Managing Editor

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