Dear Diary: Living Without A Support Network

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If there was one thing I was I had more of in my life, it wouldn’t be money or blogging freebies or clothes or press trips to exotic faraway beaches. It wouldn’t be sponsored blog posts or MAC lipsticks or cats or orgasms or toned muscles, it would be time – physical time – with my support network.

My support network who are y’know, otherwise known as my friends.

My three best friends (and I count best friends as the people who I’d pick to be my bridesmaids if I was literally getting married tomorrow), all live at least two hours from me.

One lives in south London, another on the south coast and the other somewhere Midlands-y.

They’re not even close together, they’re all hiding out in completely different directions and they are all absolute ball aches to get to.

Or, y’know, I’m the ball ache to get to because WHO THE HELL DECIDES TO MOVE TO BLOODY EAST ANGLIA OF ALL PLACES.

Time with them is always limited and hideously planned in advance, and it feels like we’ve only just got to catching up about the week over a cup of tea when HAVE A SAFE DRIVE, WE’LL HAVE TO DO THIS AGAIN SOON darts its astronomically ugly head out of nowhere.

It always feels too short, and almost like you haven’t even managed to get passed the polite niceties of seeing someone you haven’t seen for a couple of months and onto the weirdness that bonded you together in the first place.

I don’t miss being a teenager or a student or a little lost graduate floating about at home on the dole, but I do miss all the absolute friendship goals that came with it.

I miss the 10pm drives for McFlurries (although shout out to Chris, he does pretty bladdy well in this category), I miss board games and homemade Nando’s, I miss building dens and playing N64 whilst whipping up the greatest nachos known to man. I miss chain-watching documentaries on the crime channel and doing tea rounds and taking sofa naps and planning pre-drinks for the night ahead. I miss being hungover and attempting to work out the narrative of the night before. I miss going home to shower and re-evaluate my life before re-joining for more food, more gossip, more adventures. I miss having people to constantly question my life with, to make sure I’m doing OK, that we’re all doing OK.

I mean, don’t get me wrong, Whatsapp is an absolute bae, and I speak to my gal pals every single day. We send each other photos of cute babies, we talk about the latest Facebook news from people we went to school with, and we plot to squeeze in time for each other in our hideously busy lives.

But I miss being part of each other’s every day lives and routines. I miss them being close. I miss being able to text them and say what are you doing RIGHT now, do you want to sit in my car and talk about boys and babies? And every month, when that damned period of mine rolls around, I miss them more than ever. Because I want someone to eat pizza and chocolate pudding with whilst wearing trackie bottoms, in a way no boy will ever ever ever understand.

You get this too, RIGHT?

One of the one things I never gave too much thought to whilst I was growing up, is how much I might be separated from my friends – not just by distance, but by schedule.

We’ve moved around the country for love and for work and for our futures, but I’m mourning the memories we’ve had to leave behind in order to get ahead in other areas of our lives.

I know I can make new friends, I know, as I get told almost weekly by people, that OMG WHEN I HAVE A BABY I’LL MEET SO MANY NEW FRIENDS and I know that maybe, one day, there might be a chance to live just a slither closer together again.

But for now, I’m dealing with a little hole in my heart for the people who know way, way too much about me. For the people who have known me the longest and for the people who can tell when I want a McDonald’s just by a glimmer in my eye.

There is a teeny, tiny plus side to all this. When I do get to see them I do feel a lot like I’ve just opened 578456478 tamagotchis at Christmas.

Oh and I get a lot of Starbucks and Kisstory-fuelled road trips, and what’s not to love about that?

So, um, yeah.

I guess the point of this post is just to gently remind you of what’s important. To give you that push to snap up that train ticket or lock in that diary date.

Because some of the best moments of 2016 so far have been the fleeting moments with friends where we’ve laughed so much there’s been tears, we’ve smashed bottles of Disaranno on the floor and asked restaurants for free bottles of Prosecco. The nights we’ve had impromptu snow ball fights and made midnight Ann Summers sale orders, and not the nights I’ve though fuck it, I cba to travel that far, I’m going to stay in on the sofa with pasta and a blanket.

People – your people – whether they’re babies, boys, girls, family or friends, are the single most valuable asset you could ever have in your life. Try not to forget it <3

  • Friday feelings all over this post! I spent last Friday evening watching my best friend in the world graduate as a teacher, followed by a ridiculous night of prosecco and jagerbombs which ended in a club we used to frequent when we were 18! I loved that I was chosen to be there to support her, I was brimming with pride, and the best bit was the morning after, snuggling up under a duvet, eating all the breakfast food we could find, watching back to back episodes of Come Dine with Me. I honestly didn’t want to leave. Friends and Family really do make your world turn around, and you’re right, it is the most important thing. Alice xxx

    http://www.woodenwindowsills.co.uk

  • Emily

    I will be very surprised if this doesn’t become one of your most popular posts! You’ve wrote down everything I’ve been thinking for the last year since leave University – glad I’m not alone!

  • Absolutely bladdy love this Hannah, you are so right. It is aaall about those spontaneous night you were tempted to flake on, they are the ones that you will always remember. I need to do more of it! Really love your Dear Diary posts. Have a lovely weekend! Immy x

    http://www.immymay.com

  • As always Hannah Gale giving me all the feels. I ove this post, it’s very true. Time is the most precious gift we are given, we should all use it wisely! x

  • Awww you made me cry with this post! I live very far away (in Barcelona) from my best friend and a lot of my family (in the UK) and this summer up all of the feels!! I hope you get to see your friends very soon.
    Peta xx

  • Totally feel this, esp as my closest friends are on the other side of the world so I barely see them! I miss them more than anything!

    Jasmin Charlotte

  • Oh I so hear you on this! 2 of my best friends live in the same city as me but the rest are scattered all over the country (and one of them has only gone and moved to bladdy Australia!). Its so sad that the only time I will actually get all of my BFFs in the same room at the same time will be when they’re being my bridesmaids next year! I will SO be making the most of that x
    Sophie Cliff

  • Couldn’t agree with this any more if I tried!!!!

    I live in Essex, one best friend lives in London which isn’t too bad and we occasionally meet after work but are both so busy all the time and the other lives in bloody Manchester!!!

    I wish we all lived next door to each other and we could have bbq’s and dinner parties and movie nights and pizza dates and 3am chats WAAAAAAAAAAAA

    xxx

  • This really hit home! I moved from Canada to the UK 2 years ago, and I miss my friends from back home so much! I still don’t have a close network of friends here – except for workmates – but no one to actually spend time with on the weekend. It’s so hard to make friends out of school, especially when you’re in a new country! I can only hope that we’ll eventually move back home one day.

  • Laura

    You have just described what I’ve been experiencing for the last 11 years of missing my 2 closest friends and my sister 😣 I have no friends or family close by so yes always planning visits months in advance! One really nice thing is that I’ve just gotten engaged so I can’t wait to include them in all in my weding plans and I can get a good dose of girl time!

  • em

    Great post! I’m very lucky that my two best friends live within 3 miles of me, but my other small business owners are all over, and I miss being able to speak to them sometimes more often or see them in person!

    http://www.thewonderlanders.com

  • Miranda

    Yes to all of this!

  • I totally get this. My best friend from High School still lives back home in Luton so trying to plan weekends that we’re both free can be a bit of a pain. I also lost my other best friend 2 months ago and it pains me to know we’ll never be able to catch up, especially as she’d been travelling for 6 months before her accident. Thankfully I’ve made friends with some absolute babes of bloggers who I see regularly and who have been of an immense support to me these past few months.

    I urge everyone to really try their hardest to make time for friends, especially those you don’t get to see as often.

    • Sorry, wasn’t meant to come in as a downer! Your post just really spoke to me, and I see it’s spoken to a lot more too. Just know you’re not alone 🙂

  • Ohh this post! This weekend all my closest university friends and I are about to scatter ourselves across the country, all taking up new jobs. They’re wonderful people, but I’ll miss having them in the same house, or even the same city. Then I’m leaving my home friends behind too. I’m not moving far, but it’s enough distance that I can’t get a bus to the pub for a spontaneous catch up. There are people I definitely make the effort for and I’m going to try and keep this up because they’re amazing and deserve it.
    Jennifer x
    Ginevrella | Lifestyle Blog

  • I pretty much said all of this to one of my besties only yesterday. Being single and in a city without your outside of work friends makes you isolated as hell. Yeah, blogging brings together a community but primarily it’s through Twitter and events, very little inbetween. I miss the times when we lived on the same street, or in the same flat, rather than seeing them every 3 months and struggling to fill weekends without having to get on a train. I feel ya.

  • Amy

    Cannot agree with this more Hannah, I literally wrote a post yesterday for later in the week about long distance friendship because my best friend lives in Glasgow which is a 5 hour drive away and I went to see her last weekend and we literally just did coffee shop tours and watched an entire series of First Dates in two days, but there aren’t many people I can do pretty much nothing with and still have a good time so it’s so important to make the effort!
    Amy xx
    http://www.callmeamy.co.uk

  • Omg I cannot agree with this post more. One of my friends has already moved away from me, and in a couple of years I am moving away to an unknown place to start medical school. The thought of leaving my best friends makes my tear up because I don’t know what I’ll do without them.

    thedoseofchic.com

  • I can relate to a lot of the things, I have sadly found that over the years I’ve lost a lot of friends to emigrating or just going to their home country to start a family, as I’ve always worked in big head offices of big companies, so people come and stay a few years then go back home as it’s so expensive to live in London. All but a handful of my UK friends are married or engaged, most with babies, meaning they seem to disappear into the black whole of relationship/motherhood only to be seen with extreme planning 6 months prior, although it’s often cancelled the day before. I didn’t think too much about it before I was single, but then I lost not only him, which frankly was a good thing, but his friends, his friends wives and girlfriends, another load of people that I used to love chatting to and texting, and now can’t as it was too akward. I know it sucks for you not being able to see your mates as much as you want, but at least they do make the time to text or call, a lot of people don’t really bother xoxo Great post, nice to know I’m not the only one!

  • I’ve had this happen a lot. I only have one best friend and I usually see her once a week. We live two streets away from each other and spent every day together since we were very young. Now that we’re getting older it’s harder to find time together fine because of our other commitments. I know I’ll never lose her though 😊

  • Couldn’t agree more; my friends have got me through everything from a shitty day at work to a horrible break up. Having a good network of people is something everyone needs more than freebies, or hundreds of ‘Facebook’ friends.

  • Totally get this – it’s SO hard when you’re so busy with various schedules and different locations. Have you thought about planning a getaway? Doesn’t have to be abroad – staycation’s work just as well but setting dates and looking forward to be reuniting with your boos can be a total mood changer! xo

  • han

    Loved this so much. Growing up sucks

    http://www.ohjanuary.co.uk

  • I completely resonate with this, I have no friends where I live and the one who was closest (a 10 min drive) has moved to bloomin’ Ibiza! Course, I can hop on a train to London but most are blogging and busy, or uni and I just feel I need to have more catch ups that are worth it and frequent – I miss rocking up in my pjs to a pals and just chatting crap but feeling good about everything.

    Lauren x
    Britton Loves | Lifestyle Beauty Wellbeing

  • Aww we know all about this. Three besties, living an hour away from eachother.
    We have been friends for nearly thirty years and can go weeks without meeting up. (Trying to sync diaries is hard!) But luckily it often feels like less time apart, as we’re constantly texting and now we have ‘Utterly Feral’ which connects us more than ever. X

  • I get this massively. After moving to London and leaving all of my friends behind it’s taken so long to make new friends (as well as being hard to stay in touch with those old ones) and now I’m potentially going to have to move back for personal reasons so few of my friends are still in the area so I feel as though I’d be starting from scratch again – life man, life x

  • I miss my person too. She can’t come visit me so I need to travel the 100+ miles to see her any chance I get which up until recently was just impossible with public transport (a bus, a train and a country bus that stops 1 mile away from the village so I have to walk the rest of the way!) Thankfully I have a car now and I was feeling down and missing her recently and my boyfriend just shoved the car keys in my hand, told me to go buy a bottle of wine and I arrived at hers at 9pm at night and got straight on the red wine and had an amazing evening. I almost hate going home because I never want to leave on the Sundays but I was so pleased to at least now have a means for spontaneous road trips and a supportive boyfriend who knows I miss having my proper girlfriends around me. I’m the same, I find it so hard to make new pals and I’ve been in my ‘new home’ for almost four years. No relationship really comes close to the people who you used to film on your flip phone dancing to The Gossip and laughing about teachers from high school. I can SOO relate to this x

  • Chloe Berry

    Just booked tickets to London that I cannot afford to see people that I love to death. You are having a very positive impact on my life HG . Put that in your blogger stats & smoke it. XXXO

    • This made me giggle, you will have the BEST time with your people xx

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  • I am so with you on this, I miss being able to be spontaneous. Even more now that they have all become proper adults with boyfriends/husbands and children while I am still living on my own (well with the rabbit) it seems it is even harder to schedule in times and I can’t help but sometimes feel I am the one being left behind.

  • Awww this post makes me want to cry but also hug you. Some of my friends have moved away and we’ve gradually lost touch. The ones who are local I still don’t see as often as I would like (and not for want of trying!). I was starting to wonder if the problem was me but after reading a few of your latest posts I’ve realised that

    1. It’s the hormones talking
    and
    2. It’s all part of growing up

    I’m just so grateful for my work friends and husband keeping me sane! Thank you for writing this x

  • I kind of get this but don’t have that many close friends to miss actually. My support network, people I’d call close to me who I speak to regularly are only my family and my boyfriend. At the mo I’m just at home with my family, and my boyfriend is over two hours away staying with his family atm. I assure you, being a recent young graduate isn’t as ‘friendship goals’ as you think haha. Being a recent unemployed graduate sucks ass. I couldn’t afford to visit my friends if I had enough friends to actually go visit. Wow I sound bitter. I am in such a limbo stage of my life at the mo and can’t help seeing the amazing lives other bloggers have while all I have is job hunting. Literally. I know I’m young though, and I’ll get there! I’m aiming to have a job by October, and move out of mam and dad’s into a flat with my boyfriend by the new year. Fingers crossed! And yes, thank stars for whatsapp!


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