Why do people leave and what happens to the friendship when you no longer have the face to face, everyday contact that you once had? This is the question I now ask myself as one of my best friends prepares to move to the UK. It’s not like I haven’t had friends move before, another one of my best friends moved to Perth a few years ago, what I expected back then it not what I expect now with my other friend. Moving interstate here in Australia is like moving to another country, the sheer distance that is in between us now is like living in England and moving to Eastern Europe, it’s a 6 hour flight to Perth from Brisbane.
When she first moved I thought our friendship would remain the same but I was wrong. She would visit and it would be like a high school reunion, reminiscing over what use to be but neither of us really knowing what was to come. She recently got engaged and to my knowledge I know three things about her fiancé he was in the navy, he likes Mexican food and…ahhh make that 2 things I know. The sad state of affairs is that without the constant face to face contact friendships start to fall apart even those in the same country.
I wanted to write about the other side, the other half of the story, the flip side to every adventure, the ones who were left behind.
I want my friend (for the purpose of this we will call her Princess) to be happy and have the time of her life overseas but while she is off enjoying her adventure I wonder what will happen to our friendship? Of course we will still keep in contact but with the time difference it will make Skype and mobile calls a little difficult, and email sometimes is just not enough. Like I mentioned earlier I have had experience with this before, I feel myself acting differently around Princess and noticing the way I think of her has changed. I sit and think, this isn’t how it happened last time.
Whether it be a conscious decision or a subconscious one I feel myself start to pull away when I make plans I forget to include her, I become colder and more distant when we talk, I can no longer look at her directly but instead focus on others around me even when we are the only two there. I feel our closeness slipping as I make more of an effort to see other friends but I do so not out of spite but out of a kind of primal instinct. My subconscious has taken over that friendship as I begin to separate myself before having to say goodbye, it will hurt less this way I hear my subconscious whisper I will protect you from the disappointment and heartbreak you will feel in the months to come. A shield has erected itself around me.
As I separate myself from Princess I see her doing the same thing, she starts to apologise for always being busy or for not spending enough time together. I invite her to dinners, games and hangouts with others while expecting all along that she will either pull out ahead of time or stay for only a few hours then leave. I think sadly of the times we have had and then remind myself that this was a decision I always knew was going to happen. I remember a time when I was so angry that she could just toss us all aside and leave, I start to think when did that anger change? It is now that I realise the process had begun a long time ago, my subconscious at work all this time preparing me for the heartache by forming new friendships that would get stronger and when the time came that Princess announced that she was moving it was not a shock, I was not sad or angry for being left behind. Instead all I felt was happiness that she was changing something in her life and hope that things would work out for her.
We often forget the impact we have on other people’s lives as friends, that when we make decisions about our own lives we don’t realise that others will be affected also. You should always do what makes you feel happy no matter what others think but that isn’t to say that those others aren’t worth considering. So while you’re out on your amazing adventure, taking life by the horns think of those you left behind and know that we are having adventures of our own, so don’t forget us traveller.