Friends: When One of You Moves

Okay, I have a confession to make. I am one of the worst when it comes to staying in touch with friends when they move away or when I move away. There is just something about seeing each other that makes it so much easier for me to stay connected. I think about sending cards. I want to email more often or even give them a call. But the never-ending demands of everyday life crowd out all my good ideas and sentimental intentions. I want to be a better friend, but often times I feel like I disappoint my O.O.T. friends. (Thats O.ut O.f T.own)

As I have shared before, I even have a hard time staying connected with friends who live in the same town now. I am closest to those I see most often – at work or at church or in the neighborhood. There is just something about my current season of life – working, traveling, older kids who have different friends and interests, days that fly by at light speed, and never-ending new adventures like adopting, moving, learning radio, etc .

It used to be easier when my kids were smaller and my friends were moms with the same age kids. Play dates with our little ones gave us the perfect incentive to get together. It was our only guaranteed adult conversation so it was also a survival tactic. I loved having so much in common and feeling like we were learning things together and could encourage one another in something we were all so new at.

Now that I think about it, it was also easier before then – when I was single and could go out for lunch or dinner with my co-workers and roommates. Even after I got married before kids, there was more time in the evenings and on weekend. But I do remember it took a lot of effort, trial and error to find other couples that both JJ and I liked to hang out with.

I am getting ready to move again in just a few weeks. I won’t be going far – just a few blocks away – but I know it will be easy to lose touch. But I want to keep in contact with my neighbors and friends, Jan and Kim, who have lived next door and across the street for almost 10 years. God’s timing of this friendship series is so good for me because I know it will help me be intentional in giving them a call and just getting together for no reason – except for the fact that at one time God made us neighbors and now we’re simply friends.

I really want to be better at staying in touch with my O.O.T friends, so if you have any ideas please share them.

PS. I fly out tomorrow afternoon to speak in FL at a retreat Friday night and Saturday. I get to meet some new friends and spend time with my sweet friend and asst. Aimy. It’s been such an exhausting week so I’d treasure your prayers for God’s strength to be perfected and His power to be revealed in my weakness. Thank you sweet friends!

About Renee

Renee Swope is a Word-lover, story-teller, heart-encourager and grace-needer. She's also a wife, mom, friend, daughter and author of A Confident Heart, a Retailers Choice Award winning book that became a best-seller and has been published in six languages, with over 150,000 copies sold. Renee is speaks around the country at women's events and and serves on the writing team for DaySpring’s inCourage blog. For twenty years, Renee served in leadership at Proverbs 31 Ministries and as former co-host of the ministry's radio program, “Everyday Life with Lysa & Renee.


  1. I will definitely pray for you Renee! I hope it all goes well. May God use you in an incredible and surprising way!

  2. WOW! Did your post hit me right in the heart! We are a military family who moves every 3 years give or take and are in the process of PCSing(moving) again in about 59 days! What you describe is “us.” We want to keep in touch with the people we have left or have left us but there are very few that we will. Not because we don’t like or care for them but because we are in a new “season.” I can count on one hand all of the firends that I have kept in touch with in the past 17 years. Oh my I can’t believe it has been that long. Anywho, my whole point is even though we may no longer “chat with” them they are friends for life in that season. Hope I make sense.

  3. It is definitely a struggle to stay in touch with O.O.T. friends. Your post has reminded me of 2 very special friends of mine who have moved. We kept in touch for the first little while via e-mail, cards, phone, but like that old saying….”out of sight, out of mind” – all the demands pulling on us, things right before us, push those not seen back in our memories.

    I like this other saying better, “Absence makes the heart grow fonder”. I love these 2 friends dearly – and I know when we do get together again it’s like we’ve never been apart.

    I do have framed pictures of my dear friends and use these as reminders to pray for them. When I look at their pictures I pray for the Lord to be with them in whatever they are facing that day. In this way we stay connected heart-to-heart.

    Praying for your weekend. Safe travels my friend,
    Love & prayers,

  4. My hubby really enjoyed chatting with you on the podcast the other night. Thanks for sharing words of wisdom about traveling/ministry as a family. We have so much to learn, and it’s easy to feel overwhelmed.

    I look forward to meeting you in June! Praying for your move and adoption! How exciting!

  5. Hi Renee,

    Sorry I don’t have any ideas or suggestions for you, but I can tell you this…

    I moved about a year ago. We moved half way across the country from wonderful friends we have made.

    I haven’t made friends where I live now.It’s a small town and takes time,plus I’m sure I don’t put myself out there like I could.I am lonely on many days, wishing I had someone close by to go have coffee with or to go to the mall.

    I don’t hear from my friends back where we came from very often either. It’s just easier to stay in touch with those who live close by I guess.

    I don’t say this for sympathy, I am really okay. I’ve got a friend that lives about 45 min. away and we get together every now and then-plus I stay in contact with alot of my girlfriends from highschool-but those are usually phone conversations.

    I only sayall this because it is VERY important not to forget those who have moved away…they still need you! 🙂

  6. My best friend when I was 16 (almost 15 years ago) and I are in seperate states. We both are married, 3 kids, but we manage to snail mail cards and letters a few times a year (she does not own a computer). Put it in the outlook calendar as a reminder!

    Also, My former co-workers who were dear friends (7 of us) have gotten together about 4 times a year for dinner since 2001. We email, put it on the calendar.

    Also, one of my friends who didn’t buy the my excuse of busyness for keeping up w/ friends said her mother used to tell her that once a week she should call (or now email) a friend you haven’t spoken to in a while!

    Hope that helps! Congrats with the house and child/children, have you watched the dvd yet? Did the kids watch it with you?


  7. Hi Renee,
    I will be praying for you as you travel again this weekend. I know it has been a busy week for you. Aren’t you glad that God isn’t surprised by it all?! 🙂

    Don’t have any great ideas for long distance friends other than the usual – letters and calls. Something original that our church family did when we were stationed in Germany and were pregnant with our first son. They had a baby shower and filmed it. They showed eating the cake, etc. When we received the package in the mail we were instructed to watch the video first before opening a whole box of baby gifts they also sent. It was priceless to us since we were so far away from home.

  8. Renee, This makes me think of two things, one is the song, “Make new friends and keep the old, one is silver and the other gold.” We used to sing that is GA’s -LOL! If you are even old enough to know what that was. And to have silver and gold friends sounds so wonderful. Just goes to show that they are both precious.

    And the other is the that people come into our lives for a reason, a season, and a lifetime. We just have to be able to know and recognize which is which. I think being able to recognize which category our friends fall into helps us not to stress over not seeing them or keeping in touch.

    I have some lifetime friends-those I went to elementary, High School, and College with, but most of these don’t live close by and we keep in touch by letter, cards, pictures and the internet. I have a girlfriend that I spent the summer with in 79 on summer missions. I haven’t seen her since, but I talk to her by e-mail almost every day. It’s not the say as sitting down together, but she has been a tremendous support and encouragement to me.

    Then I have other friends that I’m sure God sent into my life for a reason. Like the neighbors that moved in next door about a year before I went through my divorce, and moved out (they moved back to their former house-yes this was a God thing) a couple of years later. Without them, I don’t know how I would have made it through that horrible time. Or another friend that the only reason we are friends is because our boys were friends. She was a great help and encouragement to me and took my son in while we were going through the divorce. Now, unfortunately, I’m getting to return the favor.

    I think you have pointed this out before, but we just have to be deliberate in our friendships and keep trying to stay in touch even when we don’t feel like it.

  9. I am really lonely for some girlfriends. When I seem to find someone they always act like I am
    just boring. I have been praying for some friends but, I think it is me. I am trying to figure this out for 15 years I have had no friends.

  10. I had lived in the same small town in Missouri for most of my life. I can tell you that it is very hard to keep in touch with the people that have come and gone. One thing that I TRY and do is on the 25th of the month sit down and write/call all of my OOT Friends. I was born on the 25th so that is the day I use. They do the same thing so we keep in touch twice a month, once on my “birthday” and once on theirs. Hope this is helpful to you.

  11. Your post made me feel like I am not so alone in my appalling attempts at keeping in touch with people.So often I feel like a really bad friend because I am just so bad at it. God has always blessed me with good friends and then when we move on I get very caught up in the situation I now find myself. Add this to the fact that I am really dreadful at remembering birthdays and all in all it’s not good!!!
    However I have resolved to remember that it’s a two way street and not beat myself up too much as I’m beggining to realise that everyone else is rubbish at it too and that they aren’t phoning me either!!!!! Sometimes God gives us friendships for a reason and a season and then it is time to move on. What is always a blessing is to discover who your long-haul friends are.These friends are so precious and distance makes no odds. There is such deep joy in long and lasting friendships as well as much delight in reflecting on previous friendships and they positive ways those relationships have influenced our lives.

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