In our busy day-to-day lives, it can sometimes be difficult to stay in touch with friends and family we don’t see frequently. Social media can do a lot to bridge the gap, but often it creates the illusion of closeness as we watch from afar, ironically keeping us further apart. Though many of us struggle to make time to talk on the phone or write long e-mails to one another, there are several creative ways you can continue to build your relationships even when you’re far apart.
1. Try Voxer. This app allows you to create voice messages and share them with one another, but the recipient can listen to them whenever he or she has the time to do so. Designed for professional teams that work remotely, the app allows you to create groups, encouraging discussion between multiple people without the hassle of coordinating everyone to meet or talk on the phone at a certain time. It could be a great use for groups of former college roommates or friends from your hometown, family members, or anyone else you’d like to keep in touch with as a group. It can also be used one-on-one, though, so it’s perfect for any usage. Creating a voice message takes less time than talking on the phone or texting, but it keeps the personal touch intact.
2. Unique cards. Everyone loves to get real mail these days. The next time you find yourself in a gift shop, paper goods store, or even a big box store like Target, check out the boutique card collections. These quirky creations can be used for almost any occasion and are often so specific that they can pique your interest for one particular friend or family member you know would find it endearing. Grab a few and send them on a whim to the person of whom you thought when you picked it up — or take a few birthday cards to have on hand. It’s a fun moment when a friend’s birthday rolls around and you realize you have the perfect card for them. Add a thoughtful note and stick it in the mail. Your friend or family member will love that you thought of them, and you’ll continue strengthening your relationship, even from far away.
3. Challenge each other. With today’s technologies, there are a ton of ways to conduct a challenge with a friend or family member. Whether you utilize fitness gear like FitBit or apps like DietBet, or even an app like MakeMe, which can be used for any sort of challenge or resolution (avoiding sweets, reading more, etc.) to keep you accountable and have fun competing with one another. The ongoing nature of being in competition connects you in a unique way, even though you’re miles apart.