Like all my blogs this is another one that is particularly close to my heart. Only recently have I become conscious of managing friendships. It has taken a long time to become aware of my behaviour, and because of this, I have lost friends along the way.
When you move to a brand new location, finding new friendships is a vital part of adapting to your new life. It takes patience, a lot of time and effort. You will need to focus on building your fresh, local social circle for immediate support in your new environment. Unfortunately, this can mean you spend less time communicating with your friends who are in other locations in the world.
It is important to remember that life changes and does move on at a reasonably fast rate. It may be that your friendships with others in different locations will drift apart. Life events will perhaps become different for you both as your life travels on different paths. It can become apparent that you lose things in common and on the flip side you start to have more in common with your new local friends. Friendships are a two-way street and maintaining your friendships back home or with friends who are in another location takes both of you to make it work.
After living overseas for many years, I can honestly say that I have met some wonderful friends on my travels. I know that many of those friendships will last for life. However, on the other hand, life changes and friends will come and go. Not everyone is going to become your best friend.
From my own experiences, in Qatar, I met a handful of real friends who I stay in contact with now, even though I no longer live there. You will build that special bond with people which leads to long-standing friendships.
I was once told, "If you can count the number of close friends on the one hand, then you're blessed".
Here are my top 5 tips to maintaining your friendships back home when living away
#1. Try to put yourself in their shoes
You have moved away and are experiencing different adventures to your friends that are still living back home or in different locations. Your friends around the world are no doubt pleased to hear about your adventures but be conscious of making sure you listen to what’s happening in their life. I learnt this lesson the hard way. I became selfish at times and used to talk about myself (maybe a bit too much). Unfortunately, it took a disagreement with a very close friend to open my eyes and notice my behaviour. I needed to start asking my friends how they were feeling and genuinely begin listening to what was going on in their lives, only then did I become their true friend again.
#2. Do not let time zones get in the way of communication! Use technology!
You may be living in different time zones to your friends but don't use that as a way of missing out on making contact. I currently live in Australia, so communicating with friends back in the UK is not easy! However, I suggest that you need to work together to set up a convenient time for you both to speak, maybe once a month. Make use of the growing world of Facebook and Skype to communicate. These tools are there to help people communicate who live on different sides of the world to each other!
#3. Make sure your friends and family know they are invited to visit.
You will no doubt feel guilty that you are the one that left and moved from your old location. Don't let the guilt take over your new experience. Make sure that your friends know that they can visit you at your new place! To give you an example of this, one of my client's was having trouble overcoming the challenge that her friends and family would not visit her in her new location, during our session, I asked her, "have you made it clear that they are welcome to visit?" She replied with "they would just know they were". Clarification goes a long way in this situation!
#4. Keep a blog
Keep a blog of your new experiences, that you can share with your family and friends. If family members and friends have the blog link, then they can frequently check it online and read your blog meaning they can keep up to date on your adventures. Keep it real and write from the heart! Add some images as well.
#5. Don’t struggle alone
If you’re living in a new location and are finding it difficult and emotional to manage your friends or even living away, then please don’t hesitate to contact me to arrange a free coaching discovery call. Coaching can be a valuable tool when you are transitioning to a new location. Please feel free to send me a message anytime.
Thanks for reading.
I would love to assist you on your relocation journey.
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