Friends in Far Away Places

People always tell you that as you get older your friendships change. You grow apart and that’s fine, you always still have your core group of besties that will be there for you no matter what. What you don’t get told is that those people might move away. And I’m not just talking about somewhere else in the UK, I mean that they move to another country, and that can be pretty hard to deal with.

Three of my closest friends in the whole world now live abroad, with the shortest journey to see one of them being a seven hour flight. There’s a lot of conflicting emotions to deal with when a friend moves abroad, many of them I admit are pretty selfish, but when you are used to a person always being around and always being contactable at any time, it’s a big change to your life when you can’t just pick up the phone, especially because the likelihood is that they’re actually asleep. Time zones are a bitch for long distance friendships.

The main worry when they move is that you’ll lose contact with them. Now if they really are as close a friend as you know they are, this isn’t really a problem, but you’ll worry about it regardless. What if they meet better friends? What if they forget about you? What if they think you’re needy when you try and get in contact? You don’t want to hassle them, but you certainly don’t want to just leave time to dwindle away waiting for a Whatsapp message or Snapchat from them. The thing to understand is that they WILL have new friends, and they WILL be busy living an exciting life without you. The new friends bit is hard, and I won’t lie, there can sometimes be a bit of jealousy seeing these people spending quality time with the person you adore when you can’t. One of my best friends lives in Australia and is getting married next year. I never imagined that I wouldn’t be the one flicking through bridal magazines with her or going to dress fittings, but I’ve had to come to terms with the fact that she needs a friend to help her with these things, and that friend really does have to be in the same city and country as her.

It’s odd not knowing every little thing going on in their lives anymore, but a Skype chat or Whatsapp conversation suddenly rectifies that. My far away friends still tell me every minute detail of what they’ve been up to when I talk to them, with catch-ups sometimes taking hours because there’s just so much to tell. They’re the same people they were before, and they still want to know what’s going on in my life too. It’s very much a two-way effort, and sometimes it gets a bit tough when you don’t hear anything for a month and you start worrying they’ve moved on despite having known you for so many years. 

I think the thing to understand is that a friend from your home country is different to that of a friend you make abroad. My long distance friends live in Hong Kong, Abu Dhabi and Australia, and I’ve known them for a long time (7, 8 and 24 years in fact) – they are friendships that are built on literally knowing everything about that person. They are practically family, and I’m not in competition with their friends abroad, I’m just in a different category.

Obviously the massive plus side of having friends that aren’t in England is that you get to go and visit them. It’s extremely strange seeing where they live and how they go about their daily life in an environment that is so incredibly different to where you’ve grown up with them, but they love it and so I do too. They are excited to show me their lives and share the secrets and tips they’ve come to know whilst living there. This year I’ve been to Sydney and Hong Kong to visit friends, and it was so thrilling to see that they are blissfully content in their new(ish) surroundings. They’ve got homes, partners, friends and jobs, and they are happy. That’s really what I want for my friends more than anything. So despite the fact that I have a little cry every now and then when I need them around, or I get upset saying goodbye to them when they jet back, I know it’s the right thing for them and I’m so proud of them for following their dreams. 

Their adventures make them the independent, exciting and powerful women that I want to be associated with. And no matter how far away they live, I still love them to bits and know that they love me too. 


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