How to deal with the crippling loneliness of your mate doing a year abroad

It will probably be okay


Although friendship is a lie peddled by Moonpig as a means of selling more birthday cards, its preservation now has a huge impact on the wellbeing for many of us. Much like when you gaze into a hounds eyes and feel the painful burden of your own consciousness, looking upon the friends who you know will be leaving soon brings premature feelings of loss. This can be avoided by taking heed of the following steps:

Make yourself sad in preparation

There is no greater distraction from sadness than sadness itself. Learning how to be sad is a skill of timeless utility and joy, some of the happiest days of my life I have spent crying alone in my bed. You have many reasons to be sad, but don't let your friend leaving be one.

One of the best methods of persevering in times of hardship is to contextualise your pain against the expansive backdrop of despair we are born into without any consent. Consider this a gift in many ways, it is hard to miss your friend or even think about them when antibiotic resistance, climate breakdown and potentially catastrophic tensions between the US and Iran are sat upon the dwindling horizon. If you can’t get over it, get under it, get sad.

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The joyous expression of gazing into the comforting oblivion.

Record them

As well as supporting you emotionally, a large component of any close friendship is just using someone who knows you well to justify the mistakes you want to keep making. A way of overcoming this is to get your friend to record a few trusted words you may need to hear in trying times. You are then free to converse with your friend at any point in time without availability or a time change preventing you.

Common supportive sayings such as "How could he say that?", "Why were council, like even, filming you??" "I guess it must be congenital" and "Nobody minds if the invisible man comes for dinner" can be of tremendous comfort in your most desperate of states. This is a good step to becoming emotionally independent and learning how to support yourself.

Make memories

Memories are lies we tell ourselves to create the illusion of time and Snapchat. It is these lies that comprise the bulk of our conversations with other people and from here in which meaningful connections are made. Before distance tests the bond of your friendship, it can become strengthened by creating more memories for you both to share and cling to.

Although people typically aim towards ‘happy memories’ this is a common mistake. If Blue Peter taught us anything it is the fact memories of shared guilt, shame and terror which create the strongest ties. As pleasant as it is to remember the time you watched Skepta together at Parklife, it’s the time you put your fingers down their throat whilst they yawned making them sick on a table at Slug & Lettuce which really counts.

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Visit them

When they leave it could be nearly a year before any reunion occurs unless you take the leap and travel to see them. Exerting any physical energy to see someone is a good gesture of friendship, burning kerosene to see someone is an even better one. If you are willing to poison the environment for you relationship then there is no risk of your love fading over the year.

It is important to remember one of the few benefits of having friends abroad is that they are abroad, the favourite holiday destination of the bourgeoisie. With this comes the gift of free accommodation, an essential pillar of any friendship dating back to Year 6 sleepovers. Depending on the distance of your friend's new home it may be the perfect location for any future bank holiday weekend or if res-life start sending you death threats and you need to flee the country. You can’t put a price of friendship but you can put a price on three nights in Amsterdam.

Find replacements

Since their absence will only be temporary a good tactic to employ is filling the cold shadow of their departure with something else. Although frequently other people or sentient beings as a replacement, making more emotional connections will only end in a higher chance of future heartbreak.

A solution to this is to literally objectify them. Spend a day deconstructing aspects of their physical being and reconstructing it with inanimate objects possessing similar features. Go to a charity shop and look for a lamp that has the same sarcastic glare as your friend or find that bookshelf that has a similar centre of gravity, in less than a week you will be able to reconstruct their physical presence and it will feel like they never left.

If you are too scared to even dare try and move on then you can cut out a picture of their lovely face and stick it a soft object that can withstand your caress.

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Pictured: Iona, objectified. Holding her textural counterpart.

Wait and relax

A gentle terror that accompanies all human relations is the fact that they could perish at any moment. Upsetting as any absence may be, without this they would have value at all.

That which lasts forever is rarely appreciated and things more fragile are much more sacred, illustrated perfectly by the fall of Nokia and rise of iPhones. Strength best emerges through adversity so herein lies an opportunity to become even better, more appreciative friends.

Try and remember that your mutual existence gave you the ability to experience all of this. Missing anyone means that you’ve actually felt something strongly in the first place which in itself should be cherished.

When you quickly realise how hard it is to do this go back and try the first five steps again.

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