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Main » 2012 » December » 11 » Keeping in Touch with Old Friends http://www.life123.com/relationships/friendship/long-distance-friendships/keeping-up-long-distance-frien
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Keeping in Touch with Old Friends http://www.life123.com/relationships/friendship/long-distance-friendships/keeping-up-long-distance-frien
Keeping Up Long-Distance Friendships
It is easy to lose touch with people that you once cared about, and long-distance friendships can quickly die. Like all relationships, any friendship, regardless how much distance there is between the people involved, takes effort to maintain. If you don't actively work to keep the friendship strong, it will fade away.
Staying in Touch
The temptation is to believe that a yearly holiday card or birthday card is enough to maintain a friendship. It's not. Take the time to contact old friends during other times of the year.
Call, write, e-mail or get together with friends at a specific time each month. If you schedule contact regularly at a time that works for everyone, it is easy to keep in touch. Write a reminder of these times on your calendar, or set up online alerts so that you don't forget. Your friendship will benefit from regular contact. If long-distance phone calls are expensive, or the travel time to get together is inconvenient, make sure that you take turns calling each other or visiting each other so that the cost doesn't constantly fall on one party and not the other. This will help avoid hurt feelings and resentment within the friendship. If your friend misses a turn, don't wait forever for them to make it up; step up and keep in contact regardless whose turn it is. Even though you shouldn't wait to get in touch with friends until the holiday season, or until something huge happens in your life, use these opportunities for all they are worth. Plan a holiday party, invite friends to see your new house or new baby, and throw yourself a big birthday party that includes friends you haven't seen in a long time. Sometimes, if a friendship has started to fade, these situations can be the perfect way to reestablish contact. Plus, all of these events are well worth celebrating with everyone you care about.
Ways to Communicate
Sometimes hearing another person's voice is the best way to communicate, but a phone call isn't the only way to maintain your friendship, and it might be easier to be online friends. E-mail works well for people who have completely different schedules or live in different time zones, which can make phone calls a bit tricky. Instant messaging allows for easier multi-tasking than phone calls sometimes do, which can also be more convenient for some people.
The Web gives you endless opportunities for staying in touch. Living in different cities, states or even continents doesn't always mean that you can't still do things together. Gamers can compete against each other online, friends can join fantasy sports leagues and you can always chat about favorite shows and movies on message boards. While online methods of communicating are fast and easy, don't forget the snail mail. Greeting cards have been created for absolutely every occasion imaginable, and, if you do manage to come up with a situation you can't find a card for, you can always make one yourself. Getting an unexpected letter from a friend in the mailbox among the bills and junk mail is always a pleasant surprise that can do wonders for a friendship.
You can also use voice mail to keep in touch. In essence this is the same as using the phone, but it is important to keep in mind that, just because you may have a difficult time actually having a phone conversation due to different time zones and other issues, doesn't mean that you shouldn't use the phone as a method of contact. Leaving each other voice messages can be more personal than e-mail and messaging, solely because the other person can hear your voice.
What to Say and How to Say It
When writing or e-mailing friends, you may need to watch your words a little more. Words that are perfectly fine in person, especially if you are giving advice or constructive criticism, might sting in a letter or in an instant message. Instant messaging can be problematic because the mode of communication is so quick, and you can't see the person getting the message to know their true reaction. For that reason, you might not think through what you have to say. Take a deep breath, and, if your friend needs your advice or you are having an argument, pick up the phone and talk it out.
Keeping in touch with long-distance friends is important because you are telling your friends that you are there for them. Knowing that friends are there and ready to listen is truly comforting, whether you need anything or not.
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