It may feel like losing a limb, but as we grow older and venture into new chapters in our lives, we move around and sometimes it's away from someone we love.
This Fall, my best friend Ashley is packing up her house, her career, husband and two dogs, and moving all the way from Virginia Beach, Virginia to paradise, also known as Destin, Florida. Ashley is my person and I'm going to have a hard time adjusting to her absence. But here's what I plan to do to cope.
1. Throw a kick ass going away party
I called this one when I first heard about the move. I told my bestie, "I don't care who offers, I'm the one throwing you a going away party!" It's going to be a fantastic distraction for me, as I will not have time to think about how much I'm going to miss her when I'm busy planning a party! And it will be an amazing send off from all of her friends in Virginia - a chance for everyone to give them a going away gift or simply say goodbye.
2. Invest in really beautiful stationary and stamps
One thing about Ashley is that she loves cards and handwritten notes - pretty paper in general. Every time her and I shop together, she stops in the stationary or office section and picks out cards I'm convinced she won't use anytime soon, notepads, and anything aesthetic that she can write on. I know it will mean so much to her when she receives a gorgeous handwritten letter all the way from lonely ole' Virginia. Plus, writing her letters is going to help me keep up my gorgeous handwriting. That was sarcasm, but on a serious note, my handwriting could use some help so maybe it will improve!
3. Plan trips to see each other
No matter the distance, you have to commit to still seeing each other, even if it's once every other year. You can meet halfway or swap traveling. Maybe next year you'll be the one to travel to your bestie, and then the year after that your bestie will be the one traveling to you. In our case, and since we are each other's hair stylists, we've agreed that we will meet half way quarterly. It's a 7 hour drive for the each of us and we can pick a new city each time, spend a weekend gossiping, sipping iced coffee and doing each other's hair.
4. Have weekly FaceTime meetings
The truth is that once you get married and start your adult life with your partner, maybe even start having children, you don't get to have a lot of face to face time with your friends. The nights of going out and partying til 3 am, sleeping over each other's houses and dragging yourselves to brunch the next morning (just to start the cycle over again) are gone. Ashley and I realize that with our current lifestyles and the way technology has so completely inserted itself in our lives that the majority of our relationship is actually spent communicating on our phones. Why should that change?
Well, inevitably it will. Ashley will start her new life in a new city, grow relationships with new people, and spend her time differently. But having weekly or even biweekly FaceTime or phone conversations will help keep us bonded and included in each other's lives. Make sure you keep texting your bestie and face timing. Especially when something important happens in your lives.
5. Open yourself up more to current friends and acquaintances
Your person may be gone, but that doesn't mean you should close yourself off to everyone and wallow in self pity. If you're anything like me, you have a lot of people in your daily life who you only consider to be acquaintances. One of these people may enjoy a little more attention now that your bestie isn't filling up your weekends. Because someone was already filling that role of "best friend," they may not have asked you to engage on a more personal level. Now's the time open yourself up to deeper relationships with people who are already in your life.
6. Get to know yourself again
This is definitely the most important thing on this list. When you have a "person," "bestie," "partner in crime," what ever way you want to call it, you often identify tremendously with that person on many levels. Ashley and I own a business together, we work out at the same gym, and we spend as much time together as we can, even if that's just running to Starbucks on a break at work and chatting for 5 minutes. My life largely revolves around her, whether I intend for it to or not. When she's physically missing from my life I'm going to have to get to know me without her. In order for you to get through this time, this has to be a positive thing. Focus on what you like about yourself, what you truly love to do, and try to enjoy sitting inside a Starbucks again. (Who am I kidding!? Starbucks will never be the same without her.)
Many friendships have stood the test of time and distance. Ours should be no different. I know our friendship has been unique and that we will always pick up where we left off.
Good luck to anyone who's losing their person! Look forward to this next chapter in both of your lives. May you have an infinite amount of data for facetiming and endless battery power on your phones!