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When someone you love is moving

Your best friend moves a thousand miles, your aunt retires or your brother's family gets transferred. They're moving from Boise to Boston and you live in San Diego.

Moving is traumatic and you want to help, yet you may not know what you can do. Don't be shy. Your friend needs you! Here are tips from my book, Making the Big Move

*Before they move, kindle enthusiasm by finding positive things to say about the destination city.

"I've always wanted to live there."

"You'll be near the beach! I'm jealous."

"You can have a big dog."

*Think they're making a mistake? It's like talking to someone who's getting married. Before they're engaged, you want to be frank. Once they set the date, it's a love feast.

* If you host a farewell party, emphasize what's coming, not what they're leaving.

*Give gifts that make the transition easier. Ideas? Gift certificates to shops in your friend's new city. Subscriptions to entertainment, cultural or sports events.

* If someone's really nervous, of if they're starting a new job after the move, give the gift of growth. Many coaches and counselors accept gift certificates, if the client is enthused about doing the work.

* Call on packing day and moving day. Call when your friend is due to arrive in his new home. Send letters and cards -- more tangible than email.

* Reinforce their new options. "Long walks in the country instead of long treks down Fifth Avenue? Sounds great to me!"

* Reinforce deeper cultural identities. Newcomers may not find others who share their religion, ethnic background or even aesthetic values. Keep the lines open.

*If you visit, help your friend see what's good: "Terrific shopping." "No traffic! A miracle!"

*Don't expect to be entertained elaborately when you visit. Those who have recently moved will be short on money, energy, and time.

* When do you cut the cord? Most people find they lose touch with old friends after six months to a year.

If your friend is struggling, suggest a coach or counselor.

Don't be judgmental. Some places really are toxic to some people.

Bottom Line:

*Relocation is like setting out alone on an ocean voyage with no Coast Guard available if you encounter a storm. A ship carries sophisticated communication equipment and remains in touch with home port.

*When a friend moves, you're the home port. Help your friend and, if storms erupt, find specialists who can help. Your friend will change and grow and, believe it or not, your friendship will be richer and more satisfying after she lands safely on the other shore.

Cathy Goodwin, Ph.D. is an author, career coach, and speaker. She works with mid-career professionals who want to make a fast move to career freedom. Visit her site or call 505-534-4294.

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