Check out part I of this mini-series where I explore a few small habits one might develop to continue to maintain close relationships while living apart. This second instalment will focus on three more tips and also a core mindset that will help you with the development of good communication habits.
4) Communication is key
Ugh, I sound like one of those very many (faux?) relationship “gurus” out there, but I assure you, that is not my intention! The point is that as openness and honesty are important in any relationship, we should not stop ourselves from expressing our thoughts, needs and emotions just because we are away. What used to be communicated in person will continue to remain prevalent, and so the distance should not dissuade us from communicating. Of course, body language, context and tone make a whole lot of difference in how a conversation is perceived, but making allowances for that while continuing the same (if not higher) level of communication is essential.
Continue to communicate – communicate your needs, methods, what you need from them and receive the same back. But remember the tone-deafness of the medium you use. WhatsApp, for example, will not be able to communicate your intended tone should it be a “tough” conversation. A voice or video call might be better suited in these cases.
5) Do fun things together online
The spontaneous nights out, dinners and conversations need not to stop on account of you not being in the same location as them! Do fun things together. Order in and have a virtual dinner together, do a Netflix party to binge on your favourite show, or watch that latest movie you have been looking forward to! Forming a “core memory” can very well be done virtually as well. Spontaneity and fun can happen everywhere, it is just a matter of being aware of the possibilities. Keeping this in mind can help open up a range of opportunities.
Setting this up in the spur of the moment, or even arranging in advance for a “get-together call” might indeed be a good option depending on the circumstances.
6) Send something cute!
You know those times when you are outside, you spontaneously buy your friend an ice cream or win them a teddy bear? Those impulsive cute moments need not stop now that you aren’t physically nearby. Thinking of your friend or family? Send them a message, a card, a cake, or a picture – something that reminds you of them. The tip here is to do as soon as you think.
Think of a person when you see their favourite TV show, send them a picture of it and explain why you thought of them. See a cute earring that your sister would like? Send it over on Amazon (if you have the disposable income). The point is to not procrastinate, as you know you will either forget or overthink it. Remember! Money is not a barrier. I for one am not a fan of material gifts above a certain point and so do a lot of my “I’m thinking about you”s via messages, personal anecdotes and memories, and pictures of important events.
Above all, I hope you have fun exploring this new phase. Each change might bring new layers to your relationships. Looking at it as a new adventure helps immensely. Each relationship needs different inputs to nurture it, so figuring out what works best is something that will be unique to each one. I hope you’ll have fun exploring!