Moving across country, or even across the state, can be exciting. New opportunities, a new job, a new town to explore… but if you’re moving away from a tight-knit group of friends and families, it can be really difficult, too. Here are six tips to help get you through.
Say goodbye in person. To make it easier, throw a party, set up a last night out, or do a weekend getaway with your best friends. Tell your friends and family you’ll miss them; at the same time, let them know what you’re looking forward to, and make plans for keeping in touch. Be sure you’ve got everyone’s contact info in your phone.
Keep in touch. When your grandparents moved across country, they had expensive long distance calls and letters. You have social media apps, video chats, texts, and cell phones. As hard as it is to say goodbye, you have so many more ways to keep in touch, so use them. Figure out the best technology for you to use with your family and friends; if its video chats (especially with grandparents and young children), set an informal schedule of the best times to Skype.
Keep Your Loved Ones Present. If you’re missing your friends or family, keep them present in your new life. Find the things that remind you of them, display their photos, and talk about them with your partner or spouse. Remember the fun times you had with them, and let them know that you’re thinking about them.
Make Plans. Especially with family, make holiday plans, even if it’s months to Thanksgiving. Extend offers to visit you to your friends, and come up with things in your new town to show them. It will be easier to say goodbye if you know you’re not saying good bye forever. And think about when you’d like to come back for a visit – but give it five or six months before you come back.
Keep Busy. Once you’re in your new city, focus on getting your home set-up and comfortable, and on exploring your new city. After all, if you don’t have a comfortable home and know what there is to do, how can you host friends and family?
Meet New People. Part of what you’re missing is the social life and feeling of belonging you had with your old group. Build a new group. This will be hard and take time, so think about the activities that you enjoyed with your friends, and recreate them by joining clubs, going to church, volunteering or taking classes. Go out with co-workers when the opportunities arise, and meet your neighbors. If you’re shy and introverted, work at being more outgoing. And if there’s something you’ve always wanted to try, now is the perfect time.
Most importantly, allow yourself the time space to develop a new group of friends without feeling guilty. You don’t want your friends to sit around moping because you’ve gone, so you shouldn’t sit around lonely and sad, either. At the same time, don’t beat yourself up for feeling lonely in the first weeks and months after your move.