6 Tips for Staying Connected With Long-distance Loved Ones
They say absence makes the heart grow fonder, but when you’re separated from your loved ones by external factors, such as being located thousands of kilometres away from each other, having a long-distance relationship (either platonic, romantic or familial) can drive anybody to distraction with melancholy and longing. You first see this type of thing happening right after high school – when you and your friends are all headed off to different colleges and university. The process then repeats itself on several other occasions such as; when you’ve graduated from college, when you land your dream job and when you get together with a new romantic partner and get married.
Just because there’s a physical distance between you and your loved ones, that doesn’t mean that your relationship with those you care about has to suffer. In fact, here are some great tips to stay in contact and even strengthen your relationship with your friends, family and romantic partners who are currently out of reach.
Give Them A Call
In this digital age, things like texting, emailing, tweeting, Facebook messaging, Instagram, Discord and whatever new technology that we’re probably forgetting about (because seriously, there’s so many) makes keeping in contact with the people you care about so incredibly easy. It doesn’t matter if one of you is out of state or overseas – with just a simple tap on the screen, you’re instantly connected, which is amazing!
While instant messaging is undoubtedly convenient, we shouldn’t overlook the benefits of a good old fashioned phone call either (Skype calls count too). How many times have you read through a message and thought;
‘Okay…? What does this mean? Are they joking? Are they mad?’
Sometimes when all you have are words on a screen to go off on, it can be hard to decode the message behind the text – something you don’t have an issue with when you’re talking to a person on the phone. When you make a call to someone, you not only have the words but you also have tonal cues and pacing to help you figure out what that person is saying or what they really mean.
Plus, at the end of the day, phone calls are just more special. it’s just nice to hear the sound of your best friend/partner/relatives voice through the phone. It makes you feel physically closer.
Embrace Video Calls
Having not seen each other for so long, do you ever wonder about how much your loved ones have changed, physically, while you’re apart? Did they grow out their hair? Get a tan? What do they even look like now, without all those kooky filters getting in the way? If these thoughts have ever crossed your mind, then you might want to get yourself well acquainted with video call software and apps!
Things like Skype, Google Hangouts, and even Whatsapp all have the capabilities to support video calls with more than two people (meaning you can have a group video chat and catch up with all your loved ones at once). It’s a great way to help alleviate the strain of being thousands of kilometres away from each other – plus, the fact that you can see the person you’re talking to also helps with decoding messages through body language. Additionally, you can also record videos and send them to close friends and family during special events that you can’t attend in person. Things like sending your bestie a congratulations video message on her wedding day, sending your significant other a cute video of you singing ‘Happy Birthday’ when you’re apart, or even sending your nephew or nieces a video to hype them up about graduating from university!
For people who are used to the instantaneousness of digital messaging, going back to ‘snail mail’ seems a little bit counterproductive, doesn’t it? That’s where you’d be wrong. While sending postcards may seem rather old fashioned, it’s just the thing to help make you stand out and show the people that you love that you care. An email takes a couple of minutes to type out and send – tops. An IM takes seconds.
But postcards involve a little more work and artistry. You need to first select your desired postcards, write a message (and in your best handwriting if you wanted to go that extra mile), address it and then go to the post office to have it stamped and delivered. To make it extra special, you can even design your own postcards using some old photos of you and the receiver together; giving your friends or family member a much cooler and tangible #TBT to hold onto. As a result, it shows that you put a lot of time, effort and energy into doing something nice for the person who receives your postcard.
Start a Digital Exchange Diary
If you’re not familiar with the concept, an exchange diary is a notebook shared between friends. Popular in the ’90s (especially amongst girls), a group of friends who decide to make an exchange diary would take turns writing out an entry of their thoughts and other comments before passing the notebook around. This unique form of communication was most commonly practised by Japanese girls but in recent years has gained popularity overseas. Much like in the movie, ‘Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants’, the exchange diary symbolises the strength and uniqueness of a person’s relationship with the people they care about. In terms of what was written inside, the people involved in the exchange can write and share about anything; things like stories about weird roommates, how they’re adjusting in a new environment, embarrassing things that happened that they’d like the other writers/readers to know about and more.
While you could start an exchange diary by using an actual notebook and mailing it back and forth between you and your friend, a simpler alternative is to take it online. To keep it private between just the two (or a few) of you, consider using Google Docs and inviting the people you want to exchange diaries with to contribute! It’s tons of fun and a great way to keep each other updated about all the things that are going on in your lives.
Send Care Packages
Everyone loves getting stuff through the mail – especially when it’s something other than bills or advertisement for things they don’t need. This is where care packages come in. Even when you’re not physically present, sending a care package – whether it be for your homesick sibling stuck at college, a stressed-out friend who needs a little TLC (tender love and care) or your significant other stationed in another state or country – is a great way to show them how much you care.
One of the best things about care packages is that you can tailor it specifically to match the recipient’s interest. After all, you know them best and probably know what they would love to receive. From snacks to spa skits, photo prints and more, a care package can literally contain anything that you could think of to bring a smile on your loved ones’ faces.
There are two ways for you to put together a care package. The first method is by buying and collecting items individually before packing them up and shipping them out – to give it more of a personalised touch, you can even include a handwritten note for your intended recipient to read. This method is a great way to ensure that your loved ones receive products that they might not be able to get (or are extremely expensive) where they live – like local snacks, cool stationery or wellness products. The second method is to engage with websites that offer gift boxes that you can buy, personalise and have it shipped to your loved one’s doorstep. Not only is this time-saving method more convenient, but it also ensures that your care package looks the part.
Invest In Each Other
Having friends or family who live abroad is challenging. It takes a lot of time and commitment to maintaining a regular relationship with the people around you – much less with people who you only ever get to see once or twice every few months or even years (and that’s if you’re lucky)! Yet, if you don’t invest in your relationship, you could potentially lose out on a lot of things; for example, emotional support, inspiration (to do or live better), companionship, and joy.
Investing in maintaining your relationship with those you care about is also an excellent way to demonstrate your love and devotion. Whether it be in the form of emotional support online, through letters and packages or even through a simple phone call, the effort you invest in maintaining your relationship with those you love – even if they’re a thousand kilometres away, will ensure that you are able to secure a fulfilling, lifelong bond that is not so easily broken.
In conclusion, when it comes to maintaining a long-distance relationship – be it with friends, family or significant others, it’s going to take some work from both parties, but the results are worth it. Distance shouldn’t be an excuse to let friendships die out and in this modern age, the means that allows you to stay connected with long-distance loved ones are plentiful. So really, you don’t really have an excuse not to stay connected!
To find more unique gifts to help you stay connected, feel free to visit the Pixajoy website and start creating your own personalised prints, cards and more!