When people consider moving abroad, they’re often worried about leaving friends and family, and think they won’t see them as often. But I think the deeper worry here is that they will lose these relationships with friends and family. And while I think it’s possible to neglect these relationships which might cause them to fade over time, I think there are absolutely a few strategies and habits you can put into place to make sure you maintain healthy strong relationships with the people you love back home when you do move abroad.
Here is a myth about moving abroad: I will lose relationships with family and friends if I move abroad. If it was the year 1833, and you were moving to another country, this would absolutely be valid, but it’s not. It’s 2023. It may feel like you’re farther away and that makes it feel like a bigger deal to move to another country, and it a big deal, but it’s not as big of a deal as people think when it comes to maining relationships when you move abroad. Let me explain what I mean. Here are a few strategies I use to maintain close relationships with my family and friends from Texas.
It’s important to develop relationships with people around you, in person, otherwise it will be really hard to feel a sense of belonging when you move abroad. When I left Texas, I knew I wanted to maintain a strong relationship with my family, first and foremost, and a few friends who I genuinely want to keep as lifelong friends. I consciously chose them in my mind, and made sure there was a system in place to maintain those relationships.
Different people prefer different ways to communicate. You just have to figure out your system of keeping a strong relationship with friends and family when you move abroad.
When I moved here, I didn’t know how long I would be here, and I still don’t, but I knew it would be for a couple years at least. And since I knew I wanted to maintain strong relationships with family and friends in the states, I told myself that I would spend the money on 2 flights home per year. I told myself that was a priority for me. So, I go back twice a year. I typically stay for 1 and a half to 2 and a half weeks. This is very focused time to spend with my family and friends.
There are also creative ways you can maintain strong relationships with friends and family when you move abroad. I discuss the examples in more detail in the podcast episode.
You don’t have to be stuck in the mindset that there is only one way to do something. You can get creative and think of ways to still spend time with family and friends from back home. Don’t psyche yourself out of moving abroad because you are scared you won’t see friends and family enough. There are plenty of ways to still make this happen. And who knows, you might even surprise yourself that you see friends and family even more than you did before. Because you’ve moved to another country and know you need to be more intentional about it!