Will Moving Away End Our Friendship?

I just found out we are moving to another state right when my school year is up. I get why we have to move cuz it’s for my dad’s new job but I so don’t wanna leave my 2 best friends. We’ve been thru everything together and they’re like my sisters. Have you ever been through anything like this and do you have any advice or think its even possible to actually stay friends if one person moves away? Everyone keeps saying it will be fine and my best friends say we’ll talk every day but I know that’s not how it usually goes. This kinda thing ends friendships and I want some way to make sure that doesn’t happen.

-Anonymous

Dear Anonymous,

I met a girl in kindergarten and we instantly decided we were going to be best friends forever. Sounds cliche, I know, but thankfully the story doesn’t end there. In third grade my family decided to move and my best friend and I were crushed that we would be states away from each other. With only snail mail and the occasional phone call to keep our friendship going (this is back in the dark ages before cell phones and email), it seemed like we were doomed. But we kept it going with sticker filled letters and phone calls so long our parents scolded us about the phone bills. Then in 7th grade her family decided to move to Palestine because the situation there wasn’t that bad at the time, and many of their relatives still lived there. We continued writing letters to each other but eventually lost touch since our letters rarely made it to each other. I’ll avoid getting into the politics and history of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict to keep Friendship in focus, but when the situation got really bad there I tried to find a way to find out if she was okay. My mom got in touch with her relatives in the States and I was able to reconnect with her over the phone. Although about a year and a half had passed since we had last talked or written, nothing had changed between us. We racked up a ridiculously expensive phone bill, and then began this crazy new thing called emailing.

Yes, I realize I sound quite ancient now, but hopefully my little story makes you feel better about starting a long distance friendship with your two best friends. It isn’t easy and chances are, it will go in waves as most relationships do. There will be times where you talk/text/email/Skype/Tweet/SnapChat all the time, and then there will be a lull for a while where you play phone tag or get so busy and feel bad about not staying as connected as you’d like. But if the three of you make the time, don’t hold it against each other when you get busy, and if you put in the effort to stay real with each other about what’s actually going on in your lives then you’ll keep your connection strong.

Unfortunately, there aren’t any guarantees when it comes to what works 100% of the time for making any kind of relationship last because of life’s pesky unknowns and all of the ways we’ll change along the way. But here’s a ray of light: despite being separated by states and then countries, my friend and I are still close today, 25 years and counting. We didn’t even see each other for years. In fact, we saw each other in sixth grade and then it wasn’t until we were seniors in high school when we got to see each other again. Though we still see each other sporadically as adults, when we talk we still have such meaningful conversations and giggle like little kids. I’ve been so lucky to have had other great friendships with women and men and all of them have contributed to the best parts of who I am and who I try to be. Some have stood the test of time and distance and others haven’t, but that doesn’t mean I’m any less thankful for the times we had together. As hard as moving is, it gives you the opportunity to make new connections. No one replaces anyone else, but building a network of interesting, fun, supportive people around you makes life all the better.

Enjoy the time you have left with your friends and figure out what works best for the three of you as far as how you want to keep in touch. Some people aren’t phone people, some have the very best intentions of replying to messages quickly but get too busy or forget, and so it’s best to learn to be flexible and find a way that fits for the three of you. At least there are now a million ways to keep in touch, and if my experience gives you hope, then hold onto it and take it one goodbye and one hello at a time.

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