As we get older it seems to be harder to make true, life long friends; but as we get older having those friends seems to become more and more important. Friendships seem to fade away with every life changing event such as moving, getting married, having children even changing jobs. Some fading friendships are expected, many people are in our lives only for a limited time and that’s ok but others we want to keep for the long haul. Even the medical community says that people with significant, lasting friendships are healthier, happier people in the long run.
Over the past few years I have lived in three different states and with each move I have made some great friends and lost them. But I have learned a few tricks for keeping in touch, and I have heard of a few more that I am going to try. Here are my tips for keeping friendships alive and well over time and distance.
Make the call – considering how most of us are connected to a phone 247 this seems like a no brainer, but how many times in the past month have you received a call from a dear friend from your not so distance past? How many times in the past month have you called a friend who you are missing? Life gets busy with work, kids and such but if you think about it there are probably a few times a week that you can make a short call. I have learned that by using my ear piece I can keep up with good friends on the commute home, when waiting on kids, while cooking dinner even while shaving my legs (please don’t try while in the shower). If you are worried about the call lasting longer then you have don’t, the call ends naturally when you announce that you have reached your destination or the kids are coming or its time to serve dinner.
Use Facebook to your advantage – I am not talking about Facebook friendships, the ones you only communicate with by status updates. Take Facebook further, you can start a private thread with a group of folks who are friends, maybe from high school, that way anyone can send one message when they have something to share and it goes out to the group with out having to be sanitized as if it was a status update for the masses.
Don’t forget e-mail – For friends who check email regularly this is a great way to send out weekly or monthly updates. When I relocated from TN I would send out group updates every few weeks. The updates would be about the family, what ever craziness I was experiencing in my new location or just sharing a silly story about the kids. Turns out it was not only a great way to keep my girls up to date about what was going on with me but when they got together sans me they naturally discussed what ever my latest update had been. The email updates helped keep me tied to the group even when I wasn’t there. Think I will start this back up today!
Snail mail still works – letter writing may not be your thing but never underestimate the power of a card. Keep an assortment of 99 cent cards just for this purpose. I keep a few in my day planner with some stamps and addresses. Another great place is the glove compartment in your car or the place where you write out bills.
Iphone or Itouch – If you have the newer technology use it, might as well get your moneys worth. Face-time on the Iphone and Itouch is awesome. Face-time is perfect for when you are sitting and having a cup of coffee or snack. Face-time is like video chat or Skype but its as easy as making a phone call. Actually this feature is better then a a phone.
Skype it – Why not Skype or video chat while you are surfing the internet? Once you list your friends Skype addressee the system can let you know when one of them is on line (or not). You decide if you are up to a video chat, perfect! Skype itself is free but you will need a computer with a microphone and video, most laptops come with this capability. This is a perfect idea for family members who live far apart, a great way to keep grandparents up to date on grandkids.
Girl or guy weekend – This works great for when multiple members of the group have moved to other parts of the country or even the world. A group of my girlfriends and I pick a different location every year or two to meet and hang for a long weekend. Sometimes the trip is geared to great shopping; sometimes we are looking for super relaxing spas. We make sure we pick locations that favor different folks travel wise, so the same person isn’t always flying in.
As you are busy living life remember all it takes to keep those great nourishing friendships is to live a little life with them, you may be much happier and healthier for it in the long run!