Friday, 12 September 2014

“I’m off!” – How to tell people that you’re moving abroad

So… you’ve decided that you are going to make the move abroad. You’ve been thinking about it for a while, but now you’re actually going, and that means you have to tell everybody…

While every situation is different, and should be approached as such, there are some key points that everyone should bear in mind when breaking the news.

Image source: Flickr/ Latente

Plant the seed

Don’t just drop the ‘I’m moving’ bomb two days before you head to the airport. As soon as you start thinking about moving abroad, tell your family and friends. Keep them updated on where you are with the planning process, and get them involved wherever possible so that they don’t feel cut off. Having someone to help you do the research and planning will be useful too, so ask for their input wherever you can! 

You’re coming with us

This isn’t just something to bear in mind for those you are leaving behind, and in fact, it is even more important for those you are taking with you. If you are moving with a family, breaking the news to children can be difficult, so keeping them involved and excited is crucial. With young children, get them to think about how they would like to decorate their new room and plan some fun excursions for them to look forward to. For older children who are more settled, encourage them to talk to you about any concerns they might have, and ask them for their input on schooling. These small gestures will show them that you care and are considering their future, as well as your own.

I’ll be back…

Although you never know what the future holds, the idea of ‘forever’ can be a bit too daunting for those close to you. Unless you’re certain you’ll never move back, it may be worth presenting your move as something a little less permanent. Say that you will keep in touch and vow to do so – put a recurring invite in the diary for you both to catch up and tell them when you next expect to be coming home so they have something to look forward to.  

It’s not you…it’s me

You may not be breaking up with everyone you tell, but you’ll be surprised at how emotional some people will get. Ensure that they know your decision to move abroad is about you, not them, and that you will miss them. The reality is – you will.  Ensuring that they know how much they mean to you and keeping your support network close will be crucial as you make the transition.

Stay positive

While your friends and family will be happy for you, they might also be concerned. Remember that if they seem slightly less than ecstatic, it is just because they care. Make sure you stay positive when telling them and let them see how excited you are about the opportunity. Have answers to all the questions they might ask ready (the “Why nows?” and “What ifs?”) and make it clear that you are not jumping the gun and have really thought about the implications of moving abroad.


Do you have any top tips for breaking the news that you’re moving? Let us know – by commenting below or tweeting @expatexplorer!

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