We are social by nature, and that is why friendships form an important part of our life. As time goes by our school time friends or fellow alumni move to different cities, some to different countries or go the extra distance and fly across the ocean. Don’t get me wrong, it’s wonderful to have friends live in different parts of the globe, but sometimes we just miss the good old times. The times when we could casually drop by each other’s houses and talk all the way through the night.
Needless to say that it can be hard to stay in touch and connect not only with friends who are scattered far and wide but even with those who live close by. And even when you don’t have to travel across the ocean to pop in for a visit, it can still be a real pickle to keep a strong bond with each other. In order to keep in touch in a meaningful way and form a deeper connection with those who moved away, it’s important to constantly invest into friendships.
These little things that may seem insignificant at first, make a huge difference in the long run:
1. Keep an open mind
Many of us wish things didn’t have to change in the friendship department. But sadly (or not), they do. We cannot shelve our old selves forever just for the sake of not changing. We all meet new people, make new friends, have life-changing experiences, travel to new places and read new books. It all helps us become who we want to be and there’s no way of stopping this inevitable process.
So, if you want to make your friendships stick, it’s really important to accept that people tend to change over time. And it’s not a bad thing at all. If anything, it gives you and your friends new grounds for conversation. You can exchange funny stories and insights with each other or share your fears and concerns. Be happy that your friends are not exactly who they’re used to be. Because neither are you.
2. Write a letter (you know, a paper one)
A quick text or a Facetime call here and there of course means a lot. It’s invaluable to have a quick update on each other’s lives. Especially in our fast-paced world where we often don’t seem to have time even for that. But there’s something very sentimental and more personal about an old-fashioned handwritten letter. It doesn’t have to be a well-structured and long narration. After all, we do keep each other posted via various media and don’t have to pine for a messenger pigeon to learn the news. The letter is all about the gesture itself. It’s a way to let your buddy know you’re thinking of them. You can get creative and glue some fun cutouts on the letter to make it even more special.
3. Get your friends gifts
It doesn’t have to be something expensive, but rather something of value, and it has to come in a mail. It’s a token of appreciation that counts. Choose in favor of something tangible, something your friend can touch, hold, put on the shelf or even smell.
It was last winter when I received a puffy envelope from my friend who lives ‘some’ 4K plus miles away. Inside the envelope I found a card and woolen socks that were supposed "to keep me warmer", she said. I immediately felt cared for, and this gesture alone made my entire day. We send each other postcards, books we think the other one might like, funny notebooks, stationary, tasty treats, handmade jewelry we pick up at craft fairs. The one thing all these small gifts have in common is that they are very personal.
The little things like that make people feel cared for and thought of in spite of any distance. They are the result of you knowing your friends too well.
4. Print out photos
Do you remember the times when we all used film cameras and waited with excitement for the photos to be developed? Well, you can take my word for it, these days it is just as exciting to hold an actual printed photograph as it was back then. It’s nice to give or mail some real photos to your friends as a reminder of the happy memories you shared together. Frame your favorite photo and give it to your favorite pal.
5. Share the news
Don’t underestimate the importance of sharing. If you go too long without seeing your buddies in person, surely you have a lot to talk about. Like I said, people change every day, and in order to catch up with these changes we need to give each other something. It’s not about reporting every little thing that happens as soon as it does. After all, if we are pressured into friendship it can no longer live up to its name. But when a meaningful event comes along and you forget to mention it to your close friend, they will quite rightly feel hurt and neglected. And when such grievances start to build up, you will be one step short of falling out.
Even if you have never tried these things out, it is never too late to start a new practice of staying in touch. Come up with your very own unique way to reconnect and keep in touch with old friends. Letting your people know you’re thinking of them in a meaningful manner is a very beautiful thing that won’t go unnoticed.