Sep. 12: Not a fan of the goodbyes

This is me and Jenn K at a bridesmaids party with ugly hair. Jenn K played the part of Mother of the Bride. :) I recently found out that one of my friends is moving away. Far away. Like, Alaska-far away. Actually, that’s exactly how far away: she’s moving to Alaska.

When friends move away, it makes life super-suck. I will definitely miss Jenn K, but Dina, Jenn K’s BFF, will be feelings aaaaall the feels. I know this, because my BFF moved a couple years ago. I consider myself kind of a pro at knowing what it feels like to say “smell ya later” to someone you love so much. I’m not saying I know how best to deal with it; I’m saying I’ve been there.

So, in the hopes of helping anyone else who’s been cruelly abandoned (oh! the drama!) by their best friend, I offer these pointers on handling this un-fun change in your life. Please note that this only applies to friends you’re losing because you’re no longer in the same geographical area, not the ones you’ve lost because one of you chose to dump the other; in that case, at least one of you is an asshole. You should probably work on that.

  1. If you and your BFF currently communicate via text/email/phone calls, keep doing that, and try to do it every day. If you go more than a few days without communicating, it’s hard to catch up again. I’m not suggesting the friendship is irreparable if you miss a day of texting, but it’s a habit that really needs to continue if you want to stay close.
  2. Text each other the stupid stuff that no one else will understand. The little things, y’know? Complain about the weather, traffic, a mutual enemy, whatever. Making each other smile connects you. It’s good.
  3. Plan a visit. You go there, she comes back to you, something. Put a date on the calendar, no matter how far away it might be, because it gives you a goal that feels reachable. Tell yourself, “If I can just stop crying until I see her again, maybe my family won’t hate me for eating dinner without them every night.” BECAUSE OH YES, YOU WILL WANT TO EAT DINNER WITHOUT THEM. You will also want them to stop asking how you are (“I’m sad, just like when you asked me yesterday!”). You’ll want to sit in front of Netflix with headphones and the volume way up so you don’t have to interact with people. You will be a not-very-nice person for an indeterminate amount of time. Know this. And maybe warn your family now.
  4. FaceTime! Val and I have done this with Sunshine several times, and it’s the best. OK, it’s not the best—the best would be actually hanging outjensunnyval in person—but it’s a really good alternative. I recommend FaceTime-ing with a group to heighten the fun factor. (Jenn K, get ready…)
  5. Spend time with your mutual friends. They’ll be missing her too, and can understand your sense of loneliness better than pretty much anyone else. They’ll also get the inside jokes you shared. It’s surprising how good all that feels. It also serves to remind you you’re still a likeable person even though your BFF obviously doesn’t think so and couldn’t wait to move Alaska-far away from you. Which brings me to #6…
  6. You can lay on the guilt as much as you want, but it will serve no purpose except to make her resent you. She would stay if she could. Decisions aren’t easy, and this one was a bitch. Don’t make her feel worse. Or maybe don’t go out of your way to make her feel worse ALL THE TIME. ;)
  7. Write stories about you and her and the adventures you go on together—your own personal fan-fic.
  8. Wait, don’t do #7. That’s just weird and a little creepy. Maybe haiku.
  9. Nope, not haiku. That’s creepier.
  10. Not that haiku is creepy. I loves me some haiku. Now that I think about it, haiku might be pretty awesome. Fine, give it a try.
  11. You will feel lonely, sad, frustrated, and even angry, and there’s really not much you can do about it, sooo… Find something to do with that energy. It can be something that’s good for you—gardening, exercising, making a new BFF out of papier-mâché—or good for your family—cleaning, cooking, learning mixed martial arts. I do not recommend that you put extra energy into anything that requires copious amounts of alcohol or food. I gained five pounds in the week after Sunshine left because my motto became “Only Krispy Kreme understands my pain.”
  12. Remind yourself that everyone says it’ll get easier with time, because it will. You won’t forget your BFF, and you won’t stop missing her, but you’ll start settling into life without her and one day it simply doesn’t hurt quite so much.
  13. Have a friend like Val, who is super-fun and will drink excessively and say all the potty words with you. Because sometimes you will need to drink excessively and say all the potty words, and when that happens, well, let me give you my number because whoever you are, I’d be delighted to be your Val.

I’ll close by saying that although Sunshine and I aren’t the friends we were when we lived nine houses apart, when we’ve hung out since her move to Arizona, it’s been easy to get back into that comfortable place we used to be. While I still miss having her in my life every day, I love how we don’t set expectations for each other as long-distance friends; we just are who we are, and it’s good. I kinda ♥ her tons. She’s a keeper.

I’m grateful to have lots of dear friends in my life, actually, both near and far. It’s a mutual effort, this friends thing, but the ones that are in it for the long haul will be always do what has to be done to be present in each other’s lives. This I know for sure. And I love it.


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