It's all too easy to lose contact with people as our lives get busier than ever but with all the technology out there these days there is really no excuse!
While technology is fantastic and social media keeps us all up to date with the latest happenings of childhood friends, family who are abroad and that ex colleague you never liked, it also hinders the traditional methods of communication. When was the last time you actually mailed a greeting card?
If, like me, you are delighted to receive a card in the mail then make someones day brighter by sending one today.
Its normal that people will come and go from your life and for the first few months you may continue to stay in contact regularly. But as time goes on, you drift a little apart and then a little more and before you know it, it's once a year that you connect. You start to miss out on the big things in someones life and only find out about them if them decide to post a photo to Facebook or Instagram. Then you just become a number and are added to the 55 or so other likes that photo got. You might keep saying to yourself "I really must call Jane and see how she is". Ten months pass and you hear from another friend that Jane is engaged and has moved to the other side of the world. Where were you when everyone else was congratulating your friend on her big life event?
Thinking back, it doesn't actually cost you anything, but a ten minute phone call can really make someones day. Try to make a conscious effort to reach out to those you haven't spoken to in awhile.
Here are 5 ways to maintain those friendships and contacts:
1 - Send a greeting card. Whether its for a birthday, Christmas, engagement, new arrival, any number of other holidays we celebrate or just to say thank you. Let someone know that you are thinking of them and you have gone to the effort of showing them that you appreciate them in your life. Maybe it's your child's teacher, perhaps it's a neighbour who watched the cat while you were away, it means so much to receive a card in the mail or hand delivered.
2 - Send a postcard from one place you visit this year. Whether it's to family, friends or colleagues it's always exciting to receive a gorgeous picture of somewhere nice and to hear how people are getting on. It might be the only postcard they receive this year.
3 - Write a letter to an old relation - The older generation are not as tech savvy as the rest of us and many of them don't even know what Facebook is never mind have a Facebook account! Write a letter to your grand aunt who you haven't seen or spoken to since last Christmas. She will be delighted to receive a letter and know that you are thinking of her (even if your mom updates her on your life story every 2 weeks!)
4 - Send a care package - We all know someone who has moved abroad. Why not put together a little care package of some of their favourite things from home and send it to them in a little box. It doesn't have to cost a fortune but it would mean the world to them and might be the only package they receive that month or year. Just be sure to check what is allowed to be posted if you plan on sending any tasty, edible treats as you don't want them to be seized by customs.
4 - Make meeting up a habit. We all become so het up in our own lives and before you know it the weeks turn into months and it's a year before you meet up with your friends who live four blocks away. Have a plan to meet on the first Friday of the month for happy hour or the last Saturday of the month to go for a walk. Whatever it is, just reach out and turn that plan into a monthly habit.
5 - Facebook Mail - I'm not a huge fan of this but it's certainly convenient. Just hit someone up you haven't spoken to in awhile. Then do it again and again to others. Before you realize you'll have reconnected with 10 people or more and feel great to talk to friends and find out what they are up to these days. They might even be in your area soon and you can arrange to meet up.
6 - Good ole E-mail. I'm not talking about mass messaging people with your life story. It's basically the same as Facebook mail but not everyone is on Facebook so it's a more personal method of reaching out and reconnecting. Send someone a photo of your new puppy or a holiday pic, people love the visual side of reconnecting and chances are if they are not on Facebook or Instagram they don't get to see your photos anyway.
Getting in touch with someone doesn't just have to mean meeting up with Jane from down the road. Think of someone who has moved abroad - Loads of young people are moving abroad these days in search for better jobs, travel experience or to be with someone else. Do they ever miss home? Of course! Why not reach out to someone who has moved abroad and let them know all about the updates and whats going on in your life, your town, the country etc at the moment. Obviously they can go online and watch the news but its different to get a locals perspective on things. Also, if you can, send a small token from home like a little care package I mentioned above. That will earn you serious brownie points!
On that note, I'm off to send a few emails and letters. Looking forward to hearing from many of my friends both near and far!