A couple days ago, my Snapchat lit up with my sweet Sierra’s face plastered on an official Florida Driver’s License. I know she was thrilled, but honestly this milestone was big for me. I survived a year without my best friend and there counting down on my screen was proof of the finish line. Victory was mine. It seemed like yesterday, I was standing in her driveway at 8am watching her drive off in her new car packed with her new plates and appliances. Off to Florida – I can’t begin to describe how proud I am of her. 10 hours from home, only one friend in Orlando to call her own, two very demanding jobs, her first apartment – my girl did what every small town girl dreams of.
It’s a mystery to me how I survived, but I did want to share the 7 big hurdles I had to overcome going from being separated by 10 minutes to being separated by 10 hours. This is the brutally honest list of what to expect if your best friend is moving away – and how to cope.
1. Time Difference – This could be literal time difference. Or it could be life doing what life does. There was a SOLID chunk of time when Si was working till 2 and 3 in the morning. Back to back. For weeks in a row. It was really hard at first remembering she wasn’t living with her parents like I was. She was busting ass – working hard to pay bills, and spending her precious free time the most effective way possible. Frankly, catching up on the latest hometown gossip isn’t the most relaxing way to end a rough day. Can’t be selfish. Gotta be supportive. That was a major growth moment for me.
2. Feeling Replaced – This is a problem every childhood friend goes through. Personally, I’ve ALWAYS struggled with jealousy. I used to be very protective of my friends. At first, it was hard to imagine other people having all these amazing adventures with one of my closest friends. However, I KNOW I would have been hurting for her if she hadn’t made any friends. Plus, I know the new people in her life are amazing and smart and really care for her. She trusts them and she loves them. Had some growing up to do there too
3. Not being the First to Know – I wasn’t the last to know when my friend quit her second job (the primary inspiration for the move). But I wasn’t the first. Alright, no biggie. But it was definitely a reminder that we aren’t 14 anymore. There was once a time when I couldn’t paint my nails a different color without telling her. When your best friend moves away, you’ve got to adjust your mind and respect their new life and priorities. It won’t matter if you’re the first to know, because they already know you have their back in the decisions. No matter what.
4. Not Having that Hug on Bad Days – My friend living so far away forced me to wear my big girl panties sometimes. I had to handle my own drama. I had to make my own choices first. She was so extremely supportive whenever we could connect – and I could tell she was proud of me. You know you’ve got an unbreakable friendship when your friend stops her world to comfort you when she can’t be there beside you.
5. Fighting Other Hometown Friends When She Comes Home – We were chatting one night before the holidays when she spilled the beans – she was flying home the next day to surprise everyone. I only had a window of a few hours off work during her short stay – and this was her first trip home. So I was RIGHT there on her couch waiting for her… waiting for her Other friend to bring her home after afternoon of catching up. Well, they were late… and they kept talking in the driveway. And all I wanted to do was punch them and kidnap her. But I had to remember, they had missed her just as much as I had. It’s so easy to become selfish – so easy. Can’t do that.
6. Approving potential Boyfriends – In the best friend manual, this is bolded and underlined as rule #4. All potential boyfriends must be approved. (and properly threatened). But, this is also written as rule #3 of being a parent. So I’ll just have to wait patiently with her family for a guy she deems worthy of bringing home. #judgementdayiscoming #consideryourselfwarned
7. Missing out on “Firsts” – She missed my first attempt at moving into an apartment. I missed her buying her first car. That being said, I am emotionally prepared for our 21st birthdays. I highly doubt she’ll be home for my fist wasted stupor (I’m not a drinker) and if she hasn’t gotten White Girl Wasted(those are her words, not mine) yet… I doubt I’ll be present and accounted for.
BUT I WILL LIVE. SHE WILL LIVE. AND OUR CHILDREN WILL BE PENPALS. Because true friendship knows no borders. This experience taught me what a selfish, preoccupied, jealous, wacko I can be sometimes. And somehow she loves me for it.