How To Stay Connected To Long-Distance Friends

June 19, 2020

*This post is a collaboration with MyPostcard but the words, thoughts and hilarious musings are my own.

Hands up if you’ve been on a bit of an emotional ‘Rona coaster in 2020. REAL TALK when lockdown first started I had a really challenging couple of weeks. Living abroad in Australia meant all my plans to visit my friends and family overseas went out of the window. Honestly, I spent some time feeling pretty lonely and I know a lot of my friends felt the same. 

Although lockdown restrictions are beginning to lift I know a lot of people will still be feeling the effects of this and other world events for some time to come. That’s why I’m really excited to be partnering with MyPostcard to encourage more connection during this time, and also moving forward. 

Yeah baby, full speed ahead.

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Are you tired of feeling lonely while social distancing? In this post I share things to do while social distancing to stay connected.

What does it really mean to be connected?

In March, at the start of the worldwide Coronavirus lockdown, I asked myself this question. After burying my head under my duvet for several hours *cough* days *cough* I was ready to make a change. 

I felt alone, isolated and trapped. But in asking myself this I realised the actual feeling of being connected to someone goes so much deeper than being in their presence. It’s an unspoken bond that knows no boundaries. 

At times being connected through social media can be both a blessing and a curse. A blessing to easily be able to reach whoever you want whenever you want. However, sometimes it can almost take the magic and the thought out of our communication. I mean think about it. How many times have you sent the “How are you?” text or been on the receiving end only to reply half-heartedly with “I’m good”. The reality is that you’re feeling a broad spectrum of emotions – but none of them are quite as dry or lacklustre as just good.

Here are three ways to stay connected during times of uncertainty. 

 

Journaling

While it’s important to stay connected with others it’s also crucial to stay in touch with yourself first. Every morning I sit at my journal and freely write what’s on my mind. I share what I’m looking forward to, what’s been weighing heavily and all the things I’m grateful for. 

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More often than not in that list of things I’m so unbelievably grateful for is the names of friends who have provided support to me when I’ve needed it most. Or shared something (hilarious memes or otherwise) that has really stuck with me. It might seem counterproductive to turn to your journal when you want to connect with others, but in fact, it couldn’t be further from the truth. Writing it down will actually remind you who is worth staying connected with. 

diary and journal

Pick up the phone

In 2020 we are all about intentional friendships. Friendships where you’re fully present in the relationship. That means (in the words of Leonardo DiCaprio in The Wolf of Wall Street) “Pick up the phone and start dialling.” If we can learn anything from megalomaniacs on our TV screens it’s just how powerful our words can be.

I know that for some people the idea of picking up the phone can feel pretty awkward or even dare I say it outdated, but any time I do phone, my friends, they’re pleasantly surprised and the conversations are so much more interesting than the ones we have over Instagram. Which again are largely about memes on the Internet.

 

Send a postcard

I hate to say it, but in some ways, technology has made us lazy. And on top of being lazy, it’s made us SOOO demanding. If we don’t get an instant response we’re already imagining all the scenarios of what could be so important so as to not warrant an immediate response. I mean THE CHEEK of some people. Right?

But there’s got to be a better way. And that my friend, is where MyPostcard comes in.

Last month I used MyPostcard to send heartfelt messages to four of my friends around the world. I sat down with no distractions and I really thought about what I wanted to say to them. How I could let them know that despite the oceans/puddles between us I deeply valued our friendships. 

I recommend picking out one of the encouragement cards on MyPostcard and using a cute photo of you or the two of you together.  I was particularly fond of any card mentioning catching up with wine. Bonus points if you can do it incognito without asking them for their address (I told one friend I wanted to look at her house on Google Maps LOL). The other good thing about using MyPostcard to send cards online is that you can save addresses for future reference and make it a regular thing.

 

Postcard prompts

A few years ago my friend Niall sent an email declaring that every day for a month he was picking a friend to reach out to say why he valued their friendship. On my lucky day, he detailed qualities about me he was drawn to and his favourite memory from our summer internship. 

He sent that message six years ago and I still well up when I think about it today. Can you imagine the impact you could have if you committed to sending 30 heartfelt postcards this year?

If you’re not quite sure what to write, don’t worry, I’ve got you. Don’t let creative block stop you from reaching out. Here are some of the handy prompts that I used when writing mine:

What I miss most about you

Why I appreciate you

My favourite memory of us

A plan for next time we see each other

A secret I’ve been meaning to tell you

What I wish you knew about me

An apology that’s overdue

Something that reminds me of you

A list of songs you should listen to

What our friendship means to me

These are just to guide you, but feel free to come up with your own or tweak them slightly. 

 

Final thoughts

If you’re wondering how to stay connected to your friends it’s really that simple – let them know you care. And mean it. I hope these messages for long-distance friends have encouraged you to think outside of the box and have provided you with some inspiration. 

How do you stay connected with your friends? What messages would you send a long-distance friend? Let me know in the comments!