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  • Writer's pictureStudent Wellbeing Service

How to Cope With Friends Moving Away


This article may be particularly useful for students who are finishing University this year, or have friends in other cohorts who have completed their degree and moving away this summer. Read on below for how this transitional period of your life can be managed.


Learning that your good friend is moving can be shocking. Rest assured that you won’t feel this bad forever. You can still have a close, long-distance friendship with your friend.

Find out how to cope with your friend moving away.

The Importance of Friendship

Nowadays, you might feel pressured by social media to have hundreds of friends. But one or two friendships can be greatly meaningful. Even one friendship can impact your life.

According to research1published in the British Journal of Psychology, a single supportive and close friendship can help young people from disadvantaged backgrounds thrive in challenging circumstances.

The study looked at both adolescent girls and boys. While boys in socio-economically vulnerable environments faced pressure to be macho, these intimate friendships were especially helpful in building their resilience.

Friendship Reduces Stress Levels

Friendship also reduces your stress levels. In a recent study,2scientists looked at communication and stress levels in the communication of younger and older women.

After observing study participants wind through a number of conversational challenges with both friends and strangers, researchers discovered reduced levels of cortisol, the stress hormone, when friends communicated together.

How to Cope With Your Friend Leaving

Friends have a deep connection and enjoy getting together and sharing experiences. During normal circumstances, friends might grow apart or one changes and thus the friendship ends. Sometimes friendships end due to a fight or conflict.

In this situation, you may feel like you have no control over the circumstance. You may view the situation as simply: you lost a friend.

While change is inevitable, you didn’t necessarily lose that friend. Focus on the control you have in deciding how you view the situation, and how you manage your perceptions and activities and move forward.

Accept Your Feelings

It’s normal to feel sad or abandoned, especially if you were close to your friend. You might be bereaved. You’re experiencing a major loss and it’s OK to acknowledge that. You might worry about the future of your friendship.

Recently, a small study3explored the relationship between grief and best friends among adolescent Danish girls.

Friends Feel Left Behind Findings showed it’s challenging for the friend left behind. The bereaved one alters their way of responding to their friend which affects the expectations, quality and maintenance of the friendship.

Celebrate the Positives

Though you’re down, you might focus on the positive aspects of this move. Even though your friend will now be miles away, due to their father’s promotion or an opportunity for their mother, here are some ways to stay focused on the positives of the move:

  • Have a going away party

  • Buy your friend a bon voyage gift

  • Create a box of shared mementos

  • Make an e-book about all the cool things your friend can do in the new locale

  • Put together a book with pictures of the fun times you both shared

  • Write your friend a letter about how much you care for them

After Your Friend Moves

Managing your feelings during your friend’s absence can be challenging. It’s not uncommon to feel anxiety.4 If your friend relocated for good reasons to a great place, you may feel jealous. Or you may feel guilty for wanting them to stay.

All these feelings are OK to cycle through. If you miss your friend a lot, too, there’s no reason to hide it. Admit it to yourself and also tell your friend.

How to Stay in Touch With Your Friend

It’s easy to stay in touch with your friend via text. Be sure to FaceTime or Zoom with them if you can’t visit. Communicating with your friend will not only sustain your relationship, but it will also reduce those negative feelings.

Reach Out Even If It Feels Awkward

If the conversation seems awkward at first due to time passing or the distance between you both, don’t quit. Begin with an inside joke that your friend will understand right away.

Reference a shared memory. Listen to your friend’s news about her new living space and neighborhood, and respond with empathy and interest.

Reflect on Your Feelings

A good way of getting your feelings out is journaling. Journaling can help you manage your negative feelings, too. Take time to process this big change in your life. You may no longer run with your friend every Saturday morning. Or you can’t shoot hoops anymore. It's OK to realize you’re hurting or a bit lonely without them.

Take Care of Yourself

Find self-compassion5 now and be kind to yourself as you navigate this new normal. Eat well, get enough sleep, keep exercising and be sure to rest.

Allow yourself the time to get through this. Know that you’re not alone in feeling the way you do and remind yourself that you can cope with a friend moving away.

A Word From Verywell

During trying times, turn to your family and your other friends for the support and affection you deserve. It’s not farfetched to feel like you just need a hug right now either. It’s understandable why you might not be ready to make new friends just yet, but you will be in time. And seek out the help of a licensed therapist if you need further guidance on dealing with this issue.

Article sourced from

Best wishes, The Wellbeing Team

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