Continental Divide

2 Jul

Dear LetterBalm: My best friend is moving abroad to marry a man she barely knows. They met on vacation earlier this year, and he visited the U.S. for a month to meet her family and friends. He seems nice, but they have little in common, and neither knows the other’s language. (She’s been taking a Berlitz course, but she’s still a novice.) She’s leaving a good job and giving up her apartment. Many of us think she’s making a big mistake. We want to voice our concerns, but we don’t want to come across as jealous or pushy. How can we do this?

–Bye-bye Friend

Ms. L.B. hates to tell you, but your friend is already beyond your reach. She’s in love, foreign shores beckon, and she’s not thinking about the negatives. She may face severe culture shock, faraway family and friends and, if she’s in prime earning years, lost career, income and apartment. Or, not. Your friend could take up residence in her new land and be happy as a clam. It’s a big risk, and you and she don’t know what will happen. Your job is not to gang up on her, but to reassure her you’ll be there for her no matter what, even if she returns home regretting her move. No judgment, no “I-told-you-so”s. Give her a big send-off, make sure she’s e-connected to you, and make plans to visit her when you can. But first, take her to dinner privately and say this:

Celine, I’m afraid I’m going to start crying because a big part of me doesn’t want you to go away. I’m glad I had the chance to meet Tomas. He seems like a good man, and you two are good together. I hope that you both will be happy. I celebrate that you’re taking a big new step in your life – you know full well it’s a big risk. But I want you to know this because you’re my best friend and I love you: I hope you have a wonderful life, even if we are far apart. We’ll never stop being friends. No matter what happens in the future, you know I’ll always be on your side, I’ll never be judgmental, and I’ll support your decisions.

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