I’m not someone who likes to lose things. I probably hold onto things far longer than I should if I’m honest with myself. But this hoarding-type quality has enabled me to be really good at one thing in particular… and that’s staying in touch with friends.
If you’ve meant something to me in the past, then I don’t want to just kick you to the curb because I or you have moved away. Just because our dreams take us in different directions doesn’t mean we can’t be friends any longer. It’s actually more of a reason as to why we should keep in touch.
I’ve been able to travel to 12 different cities this year and only paid for one hotel because I’ve kept in touch with enough people to crash on their couch. I know what most of my friends are doing with their lives; so much so that other people will always come to me to ask “how is X doing?” and I almost always know the answer.
So, how do I do it? There are a great variety of ways that technology today enables us to keep in touch with people we’d otherwise lose to careers, families, relationships, and life in general. Thanks to 7 technologies I’ve been able keep my friends around no matter how far away or busy we are. Here’s how you do it:
This is the number one way I communicate with my best friends, and it completely changed the way I function Monday-Friday. It’s the perfect outlet to blow steam before tasks and chat while you eat lunch at your desk because who really has time to leave the office? This is a game changer.
If I didn’t check my phone for a full day I would have at least 100 text messages to read thanks to various group chats and texts. Though we [our generation] may be too glued to our phones, texting is a great and efficient way to quickly catch up with friends while being able to multitask.
This was one of the greatest communication inventions in the last two years for me personally. Given that my family lives in Europe, this has enabled me to see them before jumping across the pond to visit every other year or so. There’s a different level of emotional connection when you can talk face-to-face, even if it is just digitally. It also requires your full attention, but for all the right reasons.
The best times to call friends and catch up is while running errands, walking somewhere, driving (with Bluetooth – another great invention), or waiting someplace (like the airport). Instead of wasting time on something menial, call the people you’ve been meaning to catch up with every time someone mentions their name.
If you really want to re-connect with friends then go ahead and book your next flight to see them. With travel rewards cards, coupon sites, deal sites (like Groupon), and a booming aeronautical industry it’s not hard to find a great deal to visit an old friend to make new memories.
For anyone that lives abroad there are a variety of great apps, like WhatsApp, that can connect you with friends in different countries and time zones. While Viberr is my personal favorite, there are many useful ones.
Last but not least, social media has enabled us to stay fully connected into everyone’s life (whether you or they want it to). Browsing through Facebook a few times a week will let you know who’s engaged and who’s having kids. Your daily scroll through Instagram lets you know what people are eating and where they’re traveling. Snapchat shows you what people are doing right this second that isn’t working or schooling (while it’s probably just a selfie). LinkedIn notifies you of people’s new jobs or promotions. And Twitter shows you stuff too, but I personally can’t figure out that platform for the life of me. There are so many others taking the world by storm like Periscope, Google+, Vine, and Tumblr. If you’re lazy, and don’t want to actually communicate with people, this is the way to stalk and stay connected invisibly. Just don’t be so creepy about it.
Although all of the above are really amazing ways to keep in touch with friends from a distance, there’s one important point/disclaimer I’d like to make. Technology has allowed us to stay in touch – yes, but make sure that when you’re actually with your friends you’re not letting this same technology disrupt the friendship.
There’s no point in keeping in touch if you’re checking your phone every minute you’re finally together after X amount of time. Use technology to your benefit but do not let it take away the human aspect of friendship. There are too many times I am with a friend and we both text in the group chat… when we’re next to each other. Some things got to give. So remember, technology can be great just depending on how you use it.