Today I’m sharing a guest post from Molly Ford of Smart, Pretty and Awkward, a charming manual of simple tips for how to live your best life…without taking it too seriously! In her own words, “In real life, I spend my days being a little awkward, a little pretty, and a little smart. Also drinking diet coke, wearing only dresses, and eating lots of pasta, because Sophia Loren once said about her body, “everything you see, I owe to spaghetti.”
I love these tips for how to stay in touch and ease our life transitions — from twenty to forty alike. Consider these the 8 commandments on how to bridge the gaps that both mileage and the mad, fun messiness of life create.
Using Technology to Ease Transitions
by Molly Ford
Distances can be difficult, especially distances that also involve major life transitions: going away to college, having friends move away, entering a long-distance relationships, etc. But in this day and age, the miles between us don’t have to feel so far. Here are ways to use technology to ease transitions:
Texts throughout the day are nice, but so are sweet good morning texts when you know someone has a big day ahead of them, or thoughtful good night texts just to say “sweet dreams.” One friend I know has a crazy busy life, so what works for us to keep it touch is a “TOTD,” aka, a Text of the Day. Once a day we text each other some small little happening in our lives, just so we feel connected. My text to her today was about a vegan lunch I was eating, and her response was an update on how sorority recruitment was going. Just a little thing, but it’s meaningful and I feel like I know what is going on in her life. We don’t feel pressure to make it a big conversation, but I like just checking up with her.
2. Phone dates
If your friend lived in the same city as you, you would be setting up times for coffee dates and shopping trips. Even in different cities, set up times to just chat (the same day of every week works great), or to go on a cross-country date. Chose a store in both areas, and both browse together while chatting on the phone.
3. Online friends
As a blogger, I have a few friends that I’ve met from the online world and only know from there. The benefit of your online friends is that they are the same everywhere. If you just moved to a new community and are feeling homesick, lean more heavily on your online friends as your friendship won’t have changed by the distance and it will feel familiar.
4. Facetime /Skype
Oh my word, I love Facetime! I use it to show far-away friends and family outfit choices on Friday nights, to demonstrate how clean my room is, or to just see the smiling faces of people I love.
Instant talking. And can be done at work desk if you are careful about it!
Yes, far-away family and friends may see some pictures of your life on Facebook. But what if they missed the album, or don’t feel like sifting through all your pictures to find one of your cute formal date? An email with a picture or two attached is more interesting than an all-text email, i.e. “Here’s a picture of my date and I at formal last night. Miss you!” Parents especially, who may not be Facebook picture savvy, love this method.
Duh, email. But seriously, email. Some family and I do long, long emails once a week with all the updates, and other family members and I use email almost like a longer lag time gChat in that we go back and forth on it all day. Whatever works for your crew.
Focus on the ways you can interact with friends; don’t simply just observe their lives. Make your presence known–if a friend’s status strikes you, then “Like” it. Don’t think, “I miss her” without writing that on her wall or don’t wonder how her new job is going without messaging her to ask. Simple stuff, big impact! This way, Facebook time will become more valuable in keeping friendships alive and casual acquaintances in your life.
I absolutely love keeping in touch with people, and I use all of the above methods. Your best bet is to use as many of these forms of technology as makes sense for your life. Even if we are in a different time zone, we can still remain close to those we love.