Relationships

Staying in Touch When You’re Not in the Same City

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In a world of texting, social media, and FaceTime, it’s easier than ever to stay in touch. But in this age of busy, it’s often the case that our day-to-day activities keep us from staying connected.

This is something I haven’t always been good at, but as someone who moved 2,000 miles away from home, I’ve learned a lot, am still learning, and have gotten much better at staying in touch. So I thought I’d share a few tips on how I maintain relationships with people I don’t see very often and what I’ve learned the past few years, because long-distance relationships can work and are so worth it.

Pick up the phone
Phones were invented to keep us connected, so let’s take them back to their roots. There isn’t always time for a long call, so try planning a quick 10 minute catch-up. Even if you’re not a phone person, you can handle 10 minutes. Really busy? Try calling during a commute. In different time zones? Set up phone dates and stick to them or if that sounds too rigid (I wouldn’t like that very much) learn each others schedules and have an idea of what might be a good time to try and reach out.

I have two friends back in CA that I talk to at least 2x a week each, whether it’s a long call or a quick check in when I’m in the car. It’s easier than you think and will help keep you close.

Not a phone person? My sister isn’t either, so we text more than we talk but I do call her every so often, and explained that it would mean a lot if she called me from time to time. She’s made more of an effort, and I try to keep our calls short since that’s what works for her.

Texting and social media
Whether you’re texting, using Facebook messenger, or snapchat, send something that lets your people know you’re thinking of them. Maybe it’s a funny gif, liking a photo on instagram, an article you thought they’d enjoy, or a quick hello. Who wouldn’t want this to pop up on their phone on a Tuesday afternoon?

No one. The answer is no one.

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Shared folders
I was at a wedding in Italy last summer and we had a shared folder where everyone shared photos from all the wedding activities. Doing this with a close friend or group of friends is a great way to stay connected and in the loop on what’s going on in each others’ lives.

Send a little something
I’m terrible at this but would really like to get better about sending a little note or small (very budget-friendly) gift every so often. Handwritten notes make me so happy, but I never send them. I have all this stationery and it’s time I sat down and started sending some love via snail mail. Let’s all send one letter in the next week. We can do this! 

Video chat
Google Hangouts and FaceTime make it easier than ever to interact face-to-face when you’re far apart. This isn’t something I’m especially into, but it’s a solid option for those of you that are into that sort of thing.

See each other when you can
My friend Jess and I have gotten closer as the years have gone by and have been in the same city less than 2 years of our almost 11 years of friendship. After moving from Santa Barbara to Los Angeles, I’d drive in one weekend a month to spend time with her and her family and she’s come to Chicago 3 times over the 6 years that I’ve been here. We also always plan a day together when I’m in LA, whether that means me coming to SB or her driving into the city and she once drove an hour and a half from SB to LAX to pick me up at the airport and spend a few hours with me. Our friendship is proof that you can make it work.

Communicate
This is a big one. A friend recently told me how hard she felt it was to stay connected to me the past year, and it was a big eye-opener that sometimes you might be unavailable and not even really realize it. Things got a little crazy for me and I rescheduled a few times, not realizing how it made her feel, and my feelings were hurt because she had stopped reaching out as much. The big takeaway here is to communicate–to learn what works for the both of you. Because when you’re not in the same city, it’s much easier to let things fall through the cracks.

How do you stay in touch with family or friends who live far away? 

image via sugar paper

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