So pretty much everyone knows that Maxie and I are great friends. (And if you didn't know... you know now!) But the thing is that we really rarely get to see each other. Even when we worked at the same company, she worked remotely from the west coast. And yet, I talked (and still do talk) to her every day. Whether we're emailing, gchatting, texting, or Skyping... we're chatting away!
Maxie is actually in Europe right now and somehow we still find time to talk all the time. We definitely both prioritize it, but technology makes it simple. Considering how often Maxie is on the move (but actually, I downloaded "Find My Friends" just so I could know where in the world she is), she's an expert on how to keep in touch with friends and family... no matter what.
Of course, her tips (as always!) are spot on!
Stay In Touch
We’ve all be given this amazing gift of growing up in the age of technology. One look at our Facebook and Instagram feeds (for better or for worse) gives a birds-eye view of who moved, who graduated, or who’s dating someone new. While we may not be intimately connected with these friends, as time, travels and life take us in different directions, social media gives us this light touch way of keeping up with people in our lives, past and present.
But when it comes to those people in your present, the ones in your tribe, the besties who make your life glitter, the family that is your world, staying in touch when you’re off at school, traveling, or simply working crazy hours is integral to your joy. “Staying in touch” is more than a lofty goal. In fact, it has to be a strategy. No one maintains their relationships by hoping, whether separated by many miles with no sight of togetherness anytime soon or merely slammed with crazy schedules while you’re in the same city.
When I first began traveling for work, I completely underestimated the need to stay in touch with my best friends while I was traveling. I “lived” in the same city as them, why would I need to make specific efforts? Well, fast forward 6 months, home no more than one weekend day a week, and I was wrecked with exhaustion but even worse... I could feel the strain on some of my closest friendships. It’s not that they weren’t understanding, but just like time and miles, silence is just as big a barrier to maintaining our relationships.
As I sit in the heart of Italy writing this, away from my home in San Francisco for over two months traveling for work, I’m proud of how close I feel to all of my best friends, all of my colleagues, and my family despite the insane amount of miles and crazy time zones separating us. It only took two years to figure out how to strategize staying in touch... but I’m hoping you’ll read this and have a much quicker learning curve.
I have talked to so many people who admit that group texting has saved their friendships or their families. And I couldn’t agree more. Despite the overwhelming moment of picking up your phone after a meeting and seeing “47 new messages” on the homescreen, group text keeps you in the loop with your galpals or family with such ease. This may seem like a “duh” suggestion, but so many people often forget that our relationships and their magic, often happen in the dynamic of a group rather than one on one. Group texting your besties from college allows you all to feel the ease and camaraderie of chatting without the pressure of catching up 1:1 over text.
Five Minute Facetime
Raise your hand if you fail to call the important people in your life because it’s been so long that you have SO much to catch up you wait and wait and wait (read: never end up calling). There’s just never the time for that level of catch up. I’m waving my hand like a mad woman over here. So guilty. But one of my best friends taught me the trick of just Facetiming for five minutes. Literally popping in to say hi and I love you and how was your week. Having short touch bases completely takes the stress off of making “enough time” to “properly” catch up. Who needs properly? Five minutes of seeing your bright smiley face while you’re walking down the street will make you feel closer and keep you in touch. Cue the sappy apple commercial because you’re their next star!
I’m looking at my calendar for the week, and despite being overwhelmed by the amount of meetings, I’m so excited to see two of my best friends scheduled into my calendar for Skype dates (And yes, today on the calendar is Carly... woo woo! #luckyme ) We are busy people. So are our friends and our families. And with a few special people you need to actually pencil your catch up date in the same way you do your meetings. Even if that’s a week or three weeks in advance, knowing you have that on your schedule will not only help you release the guilt of not having chatted with them, but it’ll prevent phone tag and valuable lost time.
Our lives are only going to get crazier, which is why it’s so important to figure out what works for you. Staying in touch is an art, it’s a strategy and it’s possible. While you’re not going to keep connected to every single friend, teammate or classmate you’ve ever had, the ones that are important to you should be treated as such. You’ll realize it’s not quite as hard as you thought!