What to Do When Your Best Friend Moves Away

A peek inside this post: You may be wondering what to do when your best friend moves away. Her move will affect both of you deeply. This post will walk you through the transition to becoming long-distance besties whose friendship can stand the test of time. You’ll learn how to survive your best friend moving away, how you can cope, and how you can support her. And you’ll learn that there are even some benefits when your best friend lives far away! Don’t believe me? Keep reading…

Do you have a friend who’s moved? You may be wondering how to nurture your long-distance friendship with your bestie. The truth is, it’s going to take mutual effort on both sides, but your friendship CAN survive and even thrive!

First, let’s focus on what YOU can do when you’re the one crying, “My best friend moved away!”

How to Cope When Your Best Friend Moves Away

Your friend’s relocating will have significant impacts on both of you, and it’s okay that you acknowledge that this will be difficult. I do not recommend putting that on your friend, though.

She is sorting through her own mess of all the things that come with moving, practically and emotionally, so don’t make her shoulder your feelings, too. Believe me, she’s already thought of how her move will affect you. There is a line to balance here of letting her know you love her and will miss her, without making her move all about you.

But, please know that it’s important to take care of your heart during this sad time, too.

Here are 5 things you can do to help you cope with your friend moving:

1| Get Your Feelings Out

Don’t be afraid to journal and write everything down. This is a great way to sort out your emotions in a healthy way.

It will also allow you the time and space to reflect on your friendship.

2| Get Some Support

Find a shoulder to cry on… just not on the one that belongs to your best friend who’s moving.

Talk to a family member who understands what a good friend you have, and why it’s so sad to see her go. Maybe you know somebody who has been in a similar situation– they can be a great resource for you!

A mutual friend would really be the ideal scenario, because they would understand your pain and you could support each other through this process. (Plus, you could plan to take a trip to visit her together once she’s settled!)

3|Create Some New Memories

Create some fun, new memories with your bestie before she goes. You can even take extra care to record and photograph more than usual. (A photo book would be a great, tangible gift to help both you and your friend hold the memories close!)

After your best friend moves, remember that there are still good times to be had. Don’t rely on the past… continue to talk and see each other whenever possible.

4| Remember That She’s Not Off Limits

Your friend may need some time to adjust and settle in, but believe me, she wants to hear from you! Modern technology is sometimes a mixed bag, but in this case, it’s a tremendous blessing!

Call, text, and email regularly. Set up some regular dates to video chat over coffee or wine, and your closeness will remain in tact!

5| Know That It’s OK

It’s okay to feel sad. It’s okay to be annoyed that you now have to schedule time to talk or see each other, when before it was more effortless.

It’s okay to continue doing things you used to enjoy doing together.

It’s okay if things look a little different than they used to.

It’s okay if you make a new friend. It’s okay if she does, too.


Now that you know how to take care of YOU when your best friend moves away, let’s talk about how you can take care of HER. I’m going to share a little of my story in the hope that this will give you a better idea of what she’s going through…

When I Was The Best Friend Moving Away

As someone who made a big move almost three years ago, I can tell you what a shock to the system it is.

Even when the decision to move is considered with fervent prayer. Even when the new location is chosen intentionally. Even when the new town has all kinds of amenities you used to dream about, and the new home is a major upgrade from the little fixer-upper you used to feel overwhelmed to live in.

Personally, when we moved from the Midwest to the South, I was so focused on making sure my boys were okay that it was difficult to even assess my own feelings.

I remember being a complete basket of nerves when they had their first day at their new school. I put on a brave face and proclaimed many words of encouragement at drop-off, but I cried and prayed for them all day after I got home.

I don’t think I fully exhaled until they came home after school and told me what a great day they each had.

After I knew the boys were happily plugged into their new school, then I was left to deal with my own feelings.

I now had the time and mental capacity to start sorting out my own mess of emotions.

I realized how much I missed my friends back home, the ones who really knew me. I missed knowing who I could chat with for a few minutes at school pick-ups and classroom parties.

I was nervous to forge new friendships. And I was grieving my old ones, my familiar ones, desperately.

There truly is a grieving process that comes with moving. You haven’t died, but a part of you has; a part of your life that you will never get back. Memories that will never be recreated.

A friend from church that moved several years before my family even considered such, once described her feelings to me: “It feels like being homesick, except knowing that I’ll never get to go back.”

And it’s so true.

A place that once homed our entire lives will never be called “home” again.

Jenna Punke-Bendt, Just Homemaking

And in the middle of this glass case of emotion (thank you, Ron Burgundy, for such a quotable line!), it becomes clear that most of the friendships, the very ones you’re grieving for, have already begun to change.

It’s a natural, sucky part of moving.

So, when I tell you how much your phone call, your text, your “Thinking of You” note in the mailbox means to your friend that’s moved away, HEAR ME ON THIS. Please!

You will be far away, but the closeness can remain. It will just require…. I don’t think “more” is the right word… but different. Different effort.

The relationship doesn’t have to end, but it will look different.

6 Ways to Support Your Best Friend After She Moves Away

You may be wondering how your friendship can continue to thrive. The following is a list of things I needed from my friends when I moved. Continue reading to find out how to be there for your friend, for the long-haul, while being long-distance.

1. She needs your support.

Support her, even though this stings.

She needs you to ask her how she’s feeling about it. She needs you to share the sadness of what she’s leaving behind, and celebrate the excitement for all things new.

She needs some reassurance that it will be great. That her family will be great. That she will be great. That her fabulousness will transfer with her to her new city.

Everyone may not be on board with this big decision. She needs you to be.

2. She needs you to care about her new life.

Request a virtual tour of her new home. Ask what she loves most about her new area. Cheer her on when she makes a new friend.

She will have days when she runs errands and doesn’t recognize a single person. Sometimes she’ll feel freed by this, and other times she’ll feel super lonely.

Remind her when she’s having a bad day that it’s just a bad day, and that it doesn’t mean her move was the wrong choice.

 3. She needs to talk to someone that knows her.

Encourage her to try new things and remind her of her talents. It will be a long time before other people notice them.

She will swing and miss many times as she learns who are her people and who are not.

She will crack jokes that would have made you pee your pants, but they somehow fall flat on this Linda who clearly doesn’t share her sense of humor. She’ll miss inside jokes and laughing without inhibition and the ease of her old friendships.

And when she finds someone she thinks she can be pals with, she’ll be hopeful. It will be a tremendous blessing.

But it will require lots of effort as they feel each other out. There will be a need for backstories, establishing who they are. It will be a long time before they have their own inside jokes or can look at each other and know what the other is thinking.

She will need to talk to someone who already knows it all. She doesn’t have the energy to give a full history lesson or to worry about being judged when she just needs a quick vent sesh.

You know the things she’s good at, and the things she worries about. You know her heart. You are a comfort to her. Like warm chocolate chip cookies and her favorite movie. You feel like home to her. And she’s missing home so much.

4. She needs you to include her.

It’s really weird and totally irrational, but she will feel some unjustified jealousy when she sees you hanging out with friends on social media.

She will, for a brief second, wonder why she wasn’t invited. And then she’ll remember that she couldn’t have been.

She’ll be glad that you have your other friends there, and will hope that they appreciate all the wonderful things about you: how fun you are, and what a good friend you are.

But she still needs you to include her.

Don’t just give her the highlights—include her in the mundane. The things you used to share during those few minutes in the school parking lot before the bell rang and your kids came running out.

She wants to know if your husband got that promotion or your son made the school’s baseball team. Your mom fell on the ice during that winter storm? She wants to know. Tell her.

She still wants you to call and vent to her about the ridiculous fight you had with your sister, or the chaos that is the school drop-off line.

Hate your new haircut? Send her pics or it didn’t happen. She wants to agree with you that it’s awful or convince you that it looks great.

Please don’t think, “I’m not going to bother her with this.”

“This” is what you’ve built your friendship on.

If “This” goes, then a part of your closeness goes, too.

If you don’t have “This”, what do you have?

Share this post on Pinterest with your Bestie:

5. She needs to know she’s not forgotten.

Specifically, when your best friend moves away, she needs to know that YOU have not forgotten her. She’s learning that for so many people, she’s become out of sight and out of mind.

  • Send her a random text. “Remember all the times we’d get mad at the ump during the boys’ baseball games, but we were always wrong and the ump in fact knew what he was doing? Good times!” OR “I saw you in the grocery store and got really excited, and then realized it couldn’t have been you. Miss your face!”
  • Send snail mail or some of her favorite local goodies for no reason.
  • Post a song that reminds you of her on her Facebook wall.
  • Schedule a standing coffee or wine date via video chat. Girl time is still possible!

These things go a long way. She needs to know you think of her as often as she thinks of you. That you remember her with the same fondness she remembers you.

If she calls you and you can’t answer—that’s ok! She doesn’t expect you to drop everything for her. She knows life will continue to move after she does. But pretty please, call her back when you can.

6. She needs you to honor your commitments.

If you tell her you’re going to call at a certain time, do it. She knows things come up. Her life is busy too.

But if she’s expecting your call, she’ll schedule her hair appointment around it. She’ll vacuum with her phone in her pocket so she doesn’t miss you.

She knows she can send you that reminder, “Hey, are we still on for our chat today?” But it would feel like reminding someone to wish you a happy birthday, or asking your husband to bring home flowers—— it’s better if they remember themselves, right?


Okay, we’ve talked about how you can cope with your friend moving, how you can support your best friend after she moves away, and all the ways that friendship might look different or be a little harder.

But we haven’t talked about the good that comes from a best friend moving away! And yes, there is some good! Let’s get into it…

Benefits to Having a Best Friend Who Lives Far Away

It’s not all bad when your best friend moves away! There are some things you get to experience that you can’t (or that are very unlikely) when you live in close proximity.

1| You appreciate your time together more.

It’s easy to take each other for granted when you’re used to seeing and talking with each other regularly. When that element is taken out of your every day occurrences, you tend to revere it a little more. It’s more memorable.

Plus, it feels great to know your friendship is not just one of convenience. It’s a friendship of intentionality. This can make your friendship grow stronger because you have to put in the time.

2| Visits turn into vacations.

I have had a couple close friends come to visit me after my move, and it just warms my heart.

Sometimes it’s a quick, “We’re passing through and will be in your area. Can you meet for dinner?” kind of visit. I’m always so touched when somebody thinks to include us as a pitstop on their travels.

Other times, a visit to specifically see me and my family is the planned destination! I get to spend a few days with my best friend(s)! I get to show them around my new town.

We can plan fun trips to the beach or a boat day on the lake, or have a few days where we do nothing but sip tea or sangria on the front porch and laugh at each other and our kids.

Sometimes friends might invite us to meet up with them on their family vacation.

It is so fun to have a few days together. You’ll get into all kinds of shenanigans.

Sharing in new experiences, cooking meals together, staying up way too late talking and then getting to laugh at your differences in morning preferences over coffee the next day… Things like that don’t happen a lot when you live in the same town because regular life gets in the way.

3| Your history cannot be unwritten.

When you have somebody who has gone through it with you, been through the ups and downs with you… distance isn’t going to affect that.

It’s such a powerful thing to be vulnerable with a good friend. Some miles in between you will not change this.

4| It’s a good example for your kids.

You’re modeling true friendship for your kids. Plus, they get to hold onto old memories and look forward to making new ones when you’re together.

5| You find special ways to connect.

When your friendship turns into a long-distance one, you can’t rely on meeting up for dinner or chatting when you run into each other at the grocery store. You have to create different ways to “run into” each other or show that you’re thinking about one another.

And it’s so fun!

Putting together or receiving a special care package shows that real thought was put into the gesture. Even sending snail mail takes a different effort than just sending a text.

For my friend’s birthday, I sent her a Birthday Party in a Box full of decorations and party supplies, and made her a fun playlist that she could listen to all week long. I wasn’t there physically, but she still felt like we were celebrating her birthday together.

Likewise, my friend has sent me some amazing gifts– some for special occasions and some just because. One memorable one in particular was received a few days after I asked her about the headbands she wears to the beach.

I think she sent me every headband the drugstore had to offer, and it made me laugh so hard.

Ultimately, Staying Best Friends Long-Distance Requires Mutual Commitment

A move is not a friendship’s death sentence.

Just because your best friend moves away, it doesn’t mean that your friendship has to be over. If she was a good friend locally, then chances are she’ll be a good friend long-distance, too.

She may need some grace as she adjusts. Her mind and schedule will be packed with to-do’s. The newness of everything can be overwhelming. Every place is a new place, and every face is a new face.

But eventually, her new location will start to feel more and more normal. She’ll begin to feel like herself.

Comfortable.
Welcomed.
Involved.
Known.

And she’ll be forever grateful for her hometown bestie, with whom a part of her heart will always be.


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What to Do When Your Best Friend Moves Away

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4 thoughts on “What to Do When Your Best Friend Moves Away”

  1. Jenna, this is one of my favorite posts. Thank you for sharing your heart and wisdom for others who are on both ends of this. Still see you and “The Cookie Guy” around town and my heart skips a beat. Love you.

    Reply
  2. The kids were just talking about the imaginary cookies yesterday! Wonderful Friend, you are so good at keeping the lines of communication open. I am so grateful to have you as a Forever Friend. Love you!

    Reply
  3. What a beautiful article! Life has changed so much without you across town! But I am so thankful to have you a phone call or text away! In some of my hardest months, you were still there just like you would’ve been if you still lived in Illinois! I cannot wait to see you! So thankful for the friendship that began not too long before your move, but that will last a lifetime!!! Love you Friend!

    Reply
    • Love you, Friend! One benefit of the move has been that we get mini-vacations together that we wouldn’t have done if we were still living in the same town. Carving out a few days to make new memories has been so much fun! Love you, Forever Friend!

      Reply

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