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Sankirtana Kumar Tharamel

July 16th, 2022

How to manage long distance relationships (the friends and family edition) – Part I

0 comments | 1 shares

Estimated reading time: 10 minutes

Sankirtana Kumar Tharamel

July 16th, 2022

How to manage long distance relationships (the friends and family edition) – Part I

0 comments | 1 shares

Estimated reading time: 10 minutes

Long-distance relationships are not easy. The number of articles, guides and books out there that address this predicament stand testament to the challenge at hand. After scouring the LSE student blogs to find out what has been written about the topic, I came across a couple of posts that address long-distance romantic relationships, but no other kind of relationship. Understandably, the market for that particular category is perhaps more immediate? Well, I am here to move in a more platonic direction! Moving abroad or even across cities or counties is quite a feat. One that impacts multiple areas of your life, including, of course, the area of relationships.

Keeping in touch with loved ones while simultaneously managing the pressure of class readings, exams, networking sessions, job hunting, etc. might seem like a Herculean task. But with the right habits, this might just become an area that one does not have to spend as much time organising or stitching into one’s life.

This first part of a two-part series talks about three quick tips one should follow to maintain a good relationship with friends and family while physically being away from them.

1) Start small – calls

One of the first things I did once I settled into my accommodation was to text and call people whom I am close with (terms and conditions apply – each relationship has a different means and frequency of communication). This immediately established the tone of the long-distance relationship – that I do think about them when something important happens and the extent to which they are a part of my life. Following this, it was up to those involved to figure out what works.

The smallest of things can go a long way. Random calls checking on people, talking about your life and what is occuring goes a long way. Scheduled or unscheduled calls help immensely. You can hear the happiness in their voice and you can feel your own joy as well. Go the extra mile and do a video call instead to feel a lot closer to the in-person interactions you used to have when you were not apart!

2) Set up recurring calls

Once the tone was set, some of my relationships quite organically converted into rhythms. This included daily/weekly calls with some people, less frequent, but consistent ones with others, etc. Some of these happened without us talking about it, some needed explicit communication. So, there is no cookie-cutter model that fits all relationships in your life.

If you are the type of person who knows when you will speak with people again, this is a great idea. Some people prefer a more “as it comes”, organic style of communication, but some of us prefer these set routines. I, for example, have set rhythms with a couple of my family members and friends. This helps me carve out time in my weekly plan for these interactions, and I do look forward to them.

3) Quick notes and check-in texts

Now for those of you who prefer to converse with people as and when you feel like it, this might help. The point is to communicate that you think about them as and when you do. This obviously changes based on the people you are interacting with. We all have those “no sappiness” kind of relationships, and then we have others that thrive on the cheese. So sprinkle the seasoning that is required! And the best part? This does not require heavy investments of time or effort!

Leaving small messages on your preferred medium of communication (eg. WhatsApp), goes a long way. It helps them know when we are thinking about them and helps maintain the relationship. Should you both decide to meet/call, then so be it! If not, that is fine too! But either way, checking in on each other, explaining what reminded you of them, enquiring about their life, etc. continues to lay a solid ground for the relationship. I remember reading somewhere that certain people do quick 5-minute conversations (over calls) as and when they think about a person. 5 minutes only, but a lot more joy!

Above all, I hope you have fun exploring this new phase. Each change might bring new changes to your relationships. Looking at it as a new adventure helps immensely. Each relationship with different people in our lives needs different inputs to nurture them, so figuring out what works best is something that will be unique to each one. So, I hope you have fun exploring!

Stay tuned for part 2 of this mini-series where I offer more tips.

About the author

Sankirtana Kumar Tharamel

Hi! I am Sanku. You will mostly find me dancing my legs off, pouring over a book, or just deeply engaged in conversation. An engineering graduate and STEM girl at heart, I have been exploring the development sector for greater than half a decade now, and hope to continue this line of work after my MSc in Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship.

Posted In: Student life

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