“Staying in touch” is something we all intend to do but often don’t actually practice. I strive to make this a priority and feel like I do a fairly good job at this practice. I value relationship and was once told by a friend that “Most people collect things, but you collect people: (this will be a story for another blog :-)). This is because I love to meet new people and have a mission of hearing their story and seeing the spark in their eye when they talk about what they are most passionate about. I truly value my friendships and have different circles of friends and believe that each allows me to explore the different facets of Lorna.
Keeping in touch with friends is essential for maintaining strong relationships, but it can be challenging with busy schedules and distance. I have a variety of ways that I use to keep up with friends on a regular basis. Here are six basic steps you can take to keep your connections strong:
- Make a schedule: Set aside specific times for reaching out to friends. This helps ensure that you make time for your relationships and helps you stay accountable. I personally take time on Friday afternoons to schedule walking, coffee or lunch dates with friends for the upcoming week. I’ve also started to schedule monthly on-going dates with friends so that it’s automatically on our schedules. It doesn’t always work out but if its already on our calendars we can easily reschedule.
- Utilize technology: Take advantage of modern technology such as video conferencing, instant messaging, and social media to communicate with friends. This allows you to stay connected even when you’re unable to see each other in person. I often text my friends just to say, “Hey, I’m thinking of you” or asking how their week is going. Or, if a past picture pops up of us together on my phone, I’ll send the picture via text and say, remember when we..? It just takes a minute, and it often leads to our making plans to see each other.
- Plan virtual hangouts: If you’re unable to meet in person, plan virtual hangouts where you can chat, watch movies, play games, or even cook together. I don’t typically use this method of communicating, but Marianne and I have scheduled Virtual Happy Hours, sign up so we can try this out together!
- Send letters or packages: A handwritten note or a small gift can go a long way in showing your friends that you care. These gestures of kindness can be especially meaningful when you’re unable to see each other in person. I’m including this on my list as I’d like to make it part of my “keeping in touch practice”. When my middle son went to collage at a military academy, I appreciated receiving a real letter in the mail because it was the only way he was allowed to communicate with us. Technology is great but a good old fashioned note or small thoughtful gift is always a welcome surprise.
- Make time for in-person visits: Even if it’s just for a few hours, making time for in-person visits is important for maintaining strong relationships. This allows you to catch up face-to-face and strengthen your bond. My husband and I try to go out with friends every weekend and during the week I have a goal for 2 in person visits. It could be going to a yoga class, a walk, having coffee or a glass of wine. Scheduling in person visits often gives me a much needed mental health break and lets me catch up with someone I care about.
- Schedule Girls Trips: I am so fortunate to have three girlfriends that I have been on 18 girls trips with over the years. We have not missed a year yet! We don’t see each other often during the year, now that are kids are grown but we have had so many fun adventures. In fact, we often say, we are not sure if the stories of “remember when” are more fun that the actual trip. Who am I kidding the trips were the most fun!
I make it a point of keeping in touch with my tribe in a variety of ways, whether it’s a quick text to see how they are doing, a request to get together for coffee or lunch, a walk, or sharing an article they might enjoy. In fact, I have a personal goal of scheduling time with at least two friends a week.
How do you keep in touch with your tribe? We’d love to hear what works for you!
So don’t wait, start reaching out to your friends today and let them know that they’re important to you.
Action Step: Reach out to a friend and schedule a lunch or coffee date.