Editor’s note: This article was written initially to provide tips on how to stay in touch with friends who live abroad. However, it’s now 2020 and we are physically separated from all our friends due to the social distancing laws. So this is relevant more than ever for staying connected to all our friends and reducing the feelings of isolation. I encourage you to not lose touch with your friends, try one of these suggestions with a friend. Hugs.
We have the friends with whom we share belly-aching laughs or our adventurous friends who we can try peanut butter-covered crickets with. We have the friends who we get into trouble with and those that give great advice and help us get out of trouble. And then there are the friends who can check our bullshit, and they’re allowed to. All serve different purposes but are still important to us.
It’s one of those “what were we thinking” moments whenever I bring up the time my college roommate and I hitchhiked back to campus after our failed attempt at river tubing. What were we thinking when we thought that we’d actually go river tubing and exactly what was going through our minds when we thought it was a good idea to hitchhike back to campus.
She’s the person that I text at 2 AM when I find raccoons in my bedroom, but she’s also the person that I check in with almost daily to see how far we’ve reached our short-term goals. But my version of friendship doesn’t have to be your version; friendships come in all variations and intensities.
Yet it’s so easy to lose touch with our friends as we delve deeper into adulthood, whether we live in our home country or abroad. Add a different time zone into the mix, and things get a little bit more complicated.
It might seem like a luxury to spend quality time with the people in our lives but establishing and maintaining friendships shouldn’t be a luxury. Why? Because friendships are literally beneficial for our health. Just like eating fruits and vegetables help your physical being — strong relationships nourish your mental health and your ability to take charge of life.
So let’s not make excuses for ourselves. It’s 2018 — not 1918 and you can still keep in touch with your friends and share memes to keep those belly aching laughs going. Technology is on our side so here are five ways to connect with your friends even if you live halfway across the world from each other:
Yoga Via Skype With Your Yogi Friend
Friendships are about sharing experiences so if you usually go to your yoga class three times a week, try video calling your yogi friend to share a yoga class once a week. Two birds, one stone and it didn’t interfere with your busy schedule.
Choose a book to read with your bookworm friend and set a date to talk about it
Friendships are also built on shared interests. Do you read on your commute? Do you read before bed? Ok great, now that it’s something that you already do so why not incorporate a good friend with similar interests into the mix.
Schedule a recurring time in advance to check-in
Friendships also involve giving advice. Sometimes our friends need advice over a recent breakup. Maybe they need your expertise on salary negotiation or even just time to share conspiracy theories about the new season of Game of Thrones. Scheduling time in advance to check-in is a great way to stay consistent and not let hectic schedules and conflicting time zones get in the way.
Send a simple text
Friendships are also about being present. So if you have a friend and both of your schedules barely align, it’s pretty easy to send a “thinking of you text” just to check in or even a motivational message if you know your friend has been stressed out at work.
Send a gift
Pretty similar to sending a text but a few steps above, you can also try sending a gift to a friend. It can be a virtual gift like a Spotify playlist or maybe a Beyonce pin that reminded you of your friend. Whether you created the gift or bought it at a store, sending a gift shows that you are thinking of your friend even if you don’t talk often.
There are so many ways that we can maintain our friendships both abroad and at home. Consider this as a flexible template rather than a set guidebook. Be creative and also think about the different ways that you can fit some “we” time that fits both your schedules and your lifestyles.
How do you maintain your friendships?
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