Friends Moving Away

Parent Q&A

My kid’s friends keep moving away... Jan 14, 2020 (8 responses below)
Good friends keep moving away Apr 19, 2017 (4 responses below)
  • My kid’s friends keep moving away...

    (8 replies)

    We are all sad that our friends keep moving away. But, our kid has been affected the most. She had a very hard time making friends in elementary school. Through concerted efforts from us and her teacher, she made one good friend with whom she really clicked. At the end of the year, that friend moved to OR. In first grade, her new best friend also moved to OR. This year, three families in our neighborhood whose kids play with my kid are all moving away to the east coast, Sacramento, and OR, leaving my kid friendless in the hood. We are friends with the parents and feel sad to be “left behind”. They all seem very excited about the move but I feel so sad that I have a hard time feeling happy for them.   The other day, my kid came home being excited about a potential new friend at school and wanting to set up a play date. I thought this is good since she has a hard time making new friends. Alas, this new friend potential will be moving at the end of the school year... So, I don’t want to encourage that friendship. I can’t take my kid’s little heart being broken every year. She asks us why people she loves keeps moving away. I am getting to the point where I now try to gauge the likelihood of people staying around before investing time to socialize and setting up play dates. One of the neighborhood families that is moving away wants to spend time together before they move but I don’t want to. It’s too painful for me. I don’t want my kid to deepen friendships with kids that are moving away.  Perhaps, it’s also because I wish I had the courage, mental bandwidth, career circumstances and resources to move to a place that offers a bigger house for less money, better schools, less crime, less commute, and less densely populated. I admit that I am envious of these people. Most of them have the ability to work from home and others are moving because they have jobs or families where they are moving. I have no family to move to and my job requires showing up to the office everyday. I am tied down to my company.  Raising kids in Oakland seems so unstable. I grew up in a big city but I remember kids moving away was not a frequent occurrence. 
    How do people cope with an exodus of friends? Sometimes I feel abandoned.

    How sad! :(
    People who live in the inner bay area are often not here for long.  Those in Oakland and San Francisco, are often just here for the money and then leave (especially if you're in a bad school district).  If you want to find people who plan on staying, find people who have family here.  I was raised in Berkeley/Oakland and still live in the the area (my sister, her son and my parents are also still here).  As for kids moving away, I'd encourage pen-pals and visit them if you can.  My husband's best friend moved to Sacramento for about 6 years (when they were about 8 years old), and then he moved back to the bay area for high school, so they could reconnect!  It's hard when friends leave, but it gives you a reason to travel and maybe even a place to stay while you are traveling. :)

    I understand why you feel so sad; I would too.  However, I would encourage you not to block the time together before friends leave, but instead to lean into it and cement the friendship for the future. I know a lot of families who have remained close with friends who moved and it can be really lovely down the road.  The kids can visit, which makes for a special vacation, and a far-away friend can be a wonderful later on, especially in times of social stress at school.  You can foster the continued connection now, and later, the kids can do it on their own. That’s one positive thing about teens and social media. They hold onto distant friends better because it. And you’ll be modeling positivity in the face of something sad.  

    I grew up in the Bay Area, and when I was 8, one of my best friends moved to WA. Our parents were amazing and let us fly alone to visit each other. I think generally we saw each other once or twice/year in person. Now I am in my 50's and she is still one of my best friends, still lives out of the area, and we still generally see each other in person once/year.

    You might not have the resources or inclination to have your kid fly alone, but I think you can still nurture one or more of these long-distance relationships! Depending on how you feel about screens, etc, there are lots of options. Schedule a weekly skype chat? Buy a nice packet of stationery and some stamps?

    And I think it would be great to do a project with your daughter to help her learn about the new places her friends are moving to/have moved to. Help her research online and find things she thinks her friends might like. This would help her develop the perspective that it is hard for her friends too, moving to a new place, and it would also help her feel connected if she can visualize where they are living.

    And hey, Sacramento is within day-trip range! (I realize it is not the same as dropping by to play after school, but ...)

  • Good friends keep moving away

    (4 replies)

     How do you deal with good friends moving away? I moved to the bay area about 10 years ago for graduate school, married, bought a house, and stayed here. My husband and I  generally have a small circle of very good friends who we see often.  We attended each others weddings, went to birthday parties and thanksgiving dinners, and watched each other's babies grow into little kids. Now in our mid thirties, we're sad to see the overwhelming majority move away. Some have found job opportunities elsewhere, some just can't afford life in the bay. We just learned another family we are very close to is leaving. I think we only have one friend of ten years left in the area, after watching ten others go.  We made new friends through my daughter's preschool and will make more when she and and her brother start elementary school. But it seems like people keep leaving or are seeking to leave. We even considered it, before changing our minds. I can't help but feel sad about it. Anyone else experience this?

    RE: Good friends keep moving away ()

    My advice to you is to pounce on the opportunity when you meet one of us natives.  We tend to stay forever or leave and come back.  For folks not from the Bay, when kids enter the picture, they tend to move back near family (understandable).  Also, for those who grew up in nice affordable suburbs, they are unaccustomed to the cost of living here (which we can all agree is absurd).  If you seize the opportunity and befriend some natives, you'll always have friends in the Bay!

    RE: Good friends keep moving away ()

      We were the 'good friends' who moved away (from Austin, Texas to here--- and I'm a 3rd generation Texan, so there was a lot of family we left).  I went thru a difficult year once here.  Really difficult.  We came here NOT to make $$, for we've lost it since it's so expensive living here-- and my husband was newly retired (thus, no more income coming in...only a modest retirement fund and social security--- plus we have a disabled son).  We chose to come here to be closer to our spiritual teacher-- someone we'd known for 20 years; someone who'd been wanting us to move for nearly 10 prior to our actually doing it. 

       Being part of a spiritual group is the only way we managed  (and manage) to ultimately stay.   Have you considered finding a spiritual community for yourself?  Of the wonderful friends we've made in 6 years we've been here, some have moved away (because of the expense and/or to care for their elderly parents in another state) BUT we still have the heart of our chosen path within.

        Warmest regards.   

    RE: Good friends keep moving away ()

    Yes!  One time we were the ones that had to move and many, many other times it was our friends who moved.  We have also experienced that the families who leave our small Montessori school often drop contact with the rest of the group even if we are still living in the same places.  In these situations, Facebook has been a good way of maintaining the relationships.  I sometimes post nostalgic group pictures and tag friends just to keep the ties fresh plus I can watch their kids grow and hear about their lives.  I also made a collage of pictures of distant good friends and family that I framed and put in my office where I can see it so I am reminded to contact them somewhat regularly.  My son is 8 now and I find that most of our baby/toddler/preschool friends are scattered and I do grieve the loss.  There is something very special about the people who shared the "trenches" with you during those early, crazy, heady days of early parenthood.  I also find that the older my kid gets, the harder it is to find families where everybody likes each other.  (So often I mesh with the mama but my husband has nothing in common with the dad.  Or the parents like each other but the kids don't.  With the latter, it gets harder and harder to "make do" as the kids get older and know their needs/wants better.)  We are now living in the same neighborhood where I grew up and have "nailed our feet to the ground," making sacrifices to put down permanent roots.  I thought this would be the perfect way to maintain the longterm relationships that are so important to me, but it has proved harder than I thought.  Moving and being super busy is the reality of life these days.  I have to be very proactive, patient, and forgiving to develop the same sort of friendships my parents seemed to make easily when life patterns were slower.  I am usually the one checking in with friends, hosting parties, suggesting meet-ups, rescheduling umpteen times, etc.  But it is so worth it.  Long-distance relationships do have their benefits and we are slowly building a network that looks like it will last.  Best of luck to you!