They move away straight after their Leaving Cert; embark on an Erasmus year during college, or pursue their career on foreign shores – whatever the reason, it’s likely that at least a few of your closest mates are currently living in a country that isn’t Ireland.
And, as yet, there's no sign of them returning.
Overall, you can cope with keeping up with most of them on Facebook and having a decent catch-up in the pub at Christmas.
However, there is a particular type of heartache and sorrow that comes with the absence of your BFF.
They announce, through tears, that they’re leaving you. Still, it’s only when they’ve actually departed AND given you their new – foreign – mobile number that you finally accept they’re actually gone.
Not that a true friendship has to fizzle out simply because you live in different countries: life-long buddies transcend time-zones, continents and a lack of daily hugs.
Here, SHEmazing! rounds up the eight signs that your long-distance BFF relationship is the real-deal…
1) You still WhatsApp and SnapChat as often as ever:
Obviously, you spend hours on Skype – you nattering away at 1am; her stuffing a bowl of cereal into her mouth before work. But day-to-day, you still WhatsApp and SnapChat every random musing, every annoyance, and every little thing you spot that you know they’ll love.
Same goes for outfit approval before an event or advice on what to do with a guy: if you’re unsure, they’re still your go-to.
2) You’re a time-zone expert:
You know precisely what time it is in San Diego, Moscow, Nairobi, Hong Kong or Perth. You know their timetable pretty much exactly too – and, more importantly, how your schedule fits into it. In fact, you have your respective free-time slots, lunch-breaks, and weekends rostered to tee.
3) They’re your go-to TBT stable:
Your Debs, Sixth Year holiday, graduation ball or simply a great memory created together: when it comes to #tbt, you’d never consider anyone else.
4) You send each other care-packages:
Sure, technology and social media means you’re rarely out of touch – but there’s something so special about receiving a postcard or parcel through the letterbox. That and you never get anything in the post from anyone else.
For birthdays and special occasions, you put together a mean care package too: a haul of vests and accessories from Penneys, Tayto crisps, their favourite fake tan and teabags.
5) You know you shouldn’t, but you kinda hope they lose their job/their visa isn’t renewed:
You’d obviously never say it out loud, but when they’re stressed about securing a visa for another year, or finding work, you secretly hope they’re unsuccessful and they’ll have to come home after all.
6) You still know all each other’s secrets:
They might be thousands of kilometres away and you may not have seen them in months, but you still know everything about them – and you still share everything with them.
7) When you see them, it’s like they never left:
They’re back at Christmas or for their brother’s wedding, and you’ve both spent weeks and weeks counting down to your reunion. You’re nervous and excited at the same time beforehand – and within ten minutes you’re right back at where you left off.
8) As envious you are of their lifestyle, you know they really miss home:
Another day at the beach; another day-trip to somewhere incredible. Not to mention that their weeks off are spent exploring some incredible neighbouring countries and territories.
In fact, on a miserable Irish January evening, it’s easy to think, “I really wish that was me.” However, much as your life can seem a bit mundane by comparison, you know that when they see you tucking into a proper Sunday roast (as made by mammy) and enjoying cheeky afternoon pints with your mates, they’d love to be there too.