These days many of us find our heart scattered across the globe as we leave our homes and build lives in new places. Learning how to live while your loved ones are on the other side of the country, or possibly the other side of the world, is an important skill to cultivate. It’s easy to get caught up in creating a life for yourself in your new setting. You will find yourself devoting most of your energy building new relationships. But it is equally important to maintain a good relationship with all those you love; Not just those in your neighborhood. Here are 5 tips for staying in touch with family and friends when you live in different worlds.
1. Utilize social media
The easiest method to stay in touch is through social media and these days there are plenty of options when it comes to social media platforms. Facebook is the obvious choice with video and photo sharing as well as messenger. It’s amazing how you can stay in the loop with what’s happening with your friends and family simply by looking at their facebook and instagram. One of my favorite tools at the moment is Snapchat. It gives me a window into the lives of my friends and I feel like I am with them in the moment. Also, for those of us who have had to leave a large circle of friends behind (possibly multiple times) creating a blog is a fun way to keep them up to date with where you are and what you are doing. Whatever your platform, photos and videos are key! Let those you care about see your life!
2. Do the same things at the same time
Tthere are lots of apps and websites that allow you to log on and ‘do something’ together. Whether that’s watch a movie, listen to music or even surfing the web! That way you can share in common interests even when you are miles apart. ‘Rabbit’ lets you watch shows at the same time while live chatting; wavelength.fm to listen to the same music together; and Same Surf lets you browse the web together. These are just a few examples!
3. Schedule phone calls
A phone call is by far the best way to reconnect with a loved one. Hearing the voice of those you miss brings you right to their side. Agree on a day and time to call each week and any additional communication will simply be a bonus! Having a rough schedule will help ease any anxiety when it comes to feeling out of touch. Of course international calls can quickly eat up your credit. However Skype, Facetime, whatsapp and Viber allow you to call for free. Dodgy reception aside, this is how I’ve managed to feel close to my family while I am away. Video calls are even better, on the weekends I can find myself sitting at the breakfast table with my family, engaging in everyday conversation for hours before I have to go to bed and they have to start their day.
4. Celebrate occasions and new achievements!
If someone gets a promotion – send them a video of yourself screaming congratulations; If someone buys a house – send a box of confetti to throw in the air; if someone has a birthday – have flowers (or food) delivered to their door. However you choose to, make your presence known on their special day!
5. Send some love in the post
For special occasions, there is nothing more thoughtful then sending a package through the mail. It doesn’t really matter what you send – a letter? A photo album? A bar of chocolate? Tangible items you can hold in your hands will bridge the divide more powerfully than an email. As long as it’s personal and from the heart it will be priceless to those who receive it. For me nothing beats the excitement of receiving a package from overseas because real love went into it!
Although we all get wrapped up in our own lives, it’s never a bad time to visit a loved one. Whether it’s taking the day off to catch a train to the next city or booking a flight to the other side of the world, it’s worth it! These moments will help you feel at ease and create memories which will keep your bond strong. So make an effort to budget and plan your calendar. You should also continuously encourage your friends to visit you!
7. Work hard
Keeping a healthy relationship in these circumstances can be hard. You have to work for it. When your only communication is via email or text it can be easy to misunderstand one another. Tension develops and before you know it you haven’t spoken to each other in almost a year! If you are the one who has left home, don’t expect those you have left behind to make a huge effort to contact you. They aren’t used to it and don’t necessarily feel the distance as much as you do. Don’t let the discourage you; they need you just as much as you need them. It’s important to understand that it’s not easy, but it’s possible!