13 Emotional Stages Of Dealing With Your Best Friend Moving Away
"It's not goodbye, it's just see you soon," she says, my best friend, looking down at the carpet, unable to meet my watering eyes. We've lived together for the last five years, so by best friend, I mean she's basically family. We're close enough that her mother sends me recall warnings on my favorite energy bars and that my mother asks for intimate details on her relationships. We're close enough that our first Halloween thought is, "What will we be?" We're close enough that we spend the holidays together. We're the kind of best friends that would happily wear BFF necklaces, un-ironically, into old age.
But we're also very different. And while living in the same city for the last few years has made sense for us, our situations are changing. While my career has planted me firmly in New York City, her career has spun her off to a farm in Tuscany to harvest olives. The co-dependent BFF in me wants to stamp her feet and whine over being left behind for olives. But the the adult BFF in me is incredibly proud of her for following her dreams into uncharted territory and putting herself first. Though I admit, there were a lot of emotional stages that came between those two feelings. So here they are — the most significant emotional stages of coming to terms with the fact that your best friend is moving away:
When your bestie comes to you with great news and she's smiling from ear-to-ear, you're going to be happy, too. You're so connected that her happiness is your happiness. You jump up and down with her and hug, you're so thrilled that she's thrilled — even though you haven't yet put together what is happening.
Wait, What Does This Actually Mean?
And then you start to ask the questions. Where are you going? For how long? When do you leave? Suddenly, it feels like the fate of your friendship is sealed, there's an expiration date.
You're Leaving Me?
And then you're incredulous. How could she leave you? You're BEST friends. What's more important than friendship? How could this have just happened without her even mentioning it?
What Will I Do Without You?
Now you feel incredibly unprepared for the world without your bestie. You don't know how to navigate it without her. It's not a home unless she's living in it. What will you do with your time?
Who Will I Hang Out With?
And then you start to wonder, if she's not here ... who will I spend my time with? Who will I do all of our favorite activities with? Will I do them alone? Will I ever find another friend like you? Will you be replacing me with a new friend?
Will Be Still Be Friends?
You don't want to be pessimistic, but you can't help it. Realistically, your friendship will change. To go from being inseparable to separated by an ocean is a huge change. You want to emotionally prepare yourself for the worst.
How Is This Going To Work?
OK, not being friends is not an option. Now that you're getting a grip on the reality of the situation, you're starting to think about a game plan. How will this actually work? What will you do to keep in touch? How often will you talk? Will she come back to visit?
OK, I'm Going To Visit You
Then you perk up, wait a minute, you get to go visit, too! Not only do you get to see your friend, but you get to travel, too. Going to see her is now something to look forward to.
Wait, This Is Actually Great
OK, this is not so bad after all. Now that you've had a minute to digest, get a system in place and think about how much time you can spend visiting each other, you start to see it for the good thing she saw it for when she first brought it to your attention.
I'm So Proud Of You
Now that you've gotten over your emotional breakdown, you can stop making it about you and start giving credit where it's due. Your bestie deserves some recognition for chasing after her dreams and taking a huge risk. It can't be easy for her to leave you, either.
You're So Brave
The more you think about it, the more impressed you are with your bestie. She's so brave for leaving everything behind, you know it can't be easy. Now, you're in awe of her!
How Much Time Do We Have Left Together?
But back to reality, how much time do you have left together? The rest of her time in your city will feel like a clock is ticking, which might make you anxious, but it will also help you to stay present and make the most out of every moment you have.
Ain't Nothing Going To Keep Us Apart
Now you feel silly for ever thinking that a few thousand miles could keep you from being best friends. When you're this close, it doesn't matter if a planet lies between you. Your friendship is rock solid and you'll find a way to make it work.
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