She’s your go-to to hash out a good (or bad) date or the one who grabs your kids when you’re running late. Or, he’s the guy who’s always up for grabbing a beer after work or hitting the hills for a Saturday morning hike. So it feels devastating when your local BFF tells you they are about to skip town for good.
Before your friend heads to their new location, here are seven things to do to leave on a high note:
1. Create a Memory Bank
When Carson Yarbrough learned that her best friend was moving from Austin, TX to Los Angeles, she was both sad for herself but excited for her friend and her career advancement. She asked their extended friend group to write down a memory of a time spent together and collected them in a mason jar as a going-away gift.
“I want Lily to open them up as she pleases or whenever she feels homesick. I hope this will lift her spirits and let her know her friends are thinking of her,” Yarbrough said.
She’s also combing through all of their old photos to create a giant collage for her to hang in her new apartment.
2. Look Ahead
As a captain for a major airline, Laura Einsetler is used to being the one leaving. But recently she found out that a bestie was moving away. Since it’s so easy for life to get in the way, she recommends making a pact of set days and times you will talk by phone, Skype or FaceTime.
“Without agreed-upon consistency, it is easy for people to get busy with lives, families, jobs and new relationships, so it helps to know before the move that you both are willing and capable of sustaining the relationship from afar.” Einsetler said.
3. Write It Down
With some advance notice that her best friend was moving away, Meredith M. started a blog.
“It pushes us to create memories together throughout this next year and take pictures that will remind us of the fun times we’ve spent together,” Meredith said, adding that the joint project will keep them close as they collaborate from afar.
4. Plan a Dream Day
After 20 years living on the same block, Melanie Holmes knew she would miss the daily walks and impromptu conversations she had with her best friend who was headed across the country. Before the moving date, the two of them spent a full day together, just the two of them, even though the families were also close.
“She came over to my house, and we talked for hours on end, about old times and about the future and our years of adventures,” Holmes said.
They capped off the day with champagne and their favorite pizza, proving that a day together doesn’t have to be elaborate.
5. Take a Road Trip
When her best friend was moving from Wilmington, DE to Great Falls, MT, Brittany Scott and two of her friends decided to drive her there together.
“It was an incredible two-and-a-half day trip across some the most beautiful landscape I have ever seen,” Scott said, adding that they hit landmarks like Mount Rushmore and the Badlands of South Dakota, that they otherwise might not have had the chance to visit. “It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and sharing it with her and making those memories left an indelible impression.”
6. Plan a Farewell Tour
Everyone is busy leading up to a move, so as soon as you find out it’s imminent, start planning your final outings because the time will slip away, advises Sonja Thomson.
”Go to your favorite places and reminisce about the cool things you’ve done together. Eat out at restaurants you love going to together and take photos to document all those special places so your friend can look back on them after he or she has moved,” Thomson said.
7. Help Them Help You Transition
Everyone says they want to help, but a best friend will actually offer that help, whether it’s with packing for the move, or ordering them flowers or takeout to welcome them to their new home.
But sometimes, says Bill Prasad of Prasad Counseling and Training in Bellaire, TX, you have to do something really hard: help them adapt to their new life by letting go and giving them space.
Sometimes they won’t have time to respond to all our emails or they might even be feeling a little bit left out, so give them room if they need it, he advises. And sometimes you have to take a look at your own life without your friend present every day.
“What gaps will be created by your best friend’s departure and what is your plan to fill those gaps?” he says.