Staying in Touch with Long-Distance Relatives

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

I have always been extremely close to my family, but ever since I went to college in the Fall of 2009, I have lived about six hours away from them. Being that far away has always been hard, but in the last year it has really hit me just how much I miss them. I miss having time with each individual family member, I miss family gatherings, and I miss sitting on the porch and drinking coffee with my mom every morning.

Thankfully, I love the mountains and I have a fantastic husband and wonderful in-laws, which makes handling those emotions much easier, but that doesn't make it go away. Just the opposite, actually. Having such a beautiful place to live, such a smart and talented husband, and such caring in-laws, friends, and church family just makes me wish my family was here to share all that with. I wish they could experience what I experience and be able to spend time with those whom I spend time with.

Unfortunately, me wishing those things doesn't bring yhem into reality. That means I have to be creative in order to maintain and grow my relationships with my family. I am not always the best at it, but here are a few simple, inexpensive ways to keep in touch with family members who live far away.

Ways to Keep in Touch

*Write Letters- Go with good-ole-fashion snail-mail. Pick out a cute card (or make your own) and write a sweet note to your loved ones. Surprise them by sending cards when there are no holidays in sight. Sometimes a "just because" card is the sweetest gesture!

*Utilize Social Media- Though I wouldn't suggest making this your primary communication method with family, social media can be very handy. Consider setting up a group on Facebook and invite family members only. Use group chat, commenting, and picture sharing within the group to quickly and easily connect with one another. 
You could also start a blog and have your family sign up for email updates. Your blog could focus on the events taking place in your life. Share lots of pictures and invite your family to comment on your posts. 

*Use the Phone- The most simple and obvious way to stay in touch with your long-distance family is to use the phone. Though not everyone likes to talk on the phone, everyone does appreciate a quick call every once in a while. So whether you love to talk on the phone for hours, or your phone calls last all of five minutes, take the time to call your family. Give them a 10 minute update or spill every detail of the past two weeks; you pick. But regardless, make sure you call. 

*Find Post Cards- One cool thing about living in different areas is that you have different experiences and scenery. Postcards display this. If my mom went to the store to buy a postcard, she would find pictures of sandy beaches or sandpiper birds. If I were to buy a postcard where I live, I would find pictures of large mountains, bright colored leaves, and flowing creeks. Therefore, if I choose to send a postcard, I can share a little part of my world with my family, and they can do the same. They can remind me of the beautiful beaches that I use to walk on often, and I can remind them of the beauty they've seen when they have come to visit in the past.

*Play Games- In an age of smart phones and apps, there are so many games that you can play with family no matter where they live. Have some fun and play Trivia Crack with your dad, Words with Friends with your mom, or TF2 with your brother. Or you could organize a game night and find apps that can connect all of you at once. I know Trivia Crack has a "challenge mode" that will allow that, and I'm sure many other games do too.

Family is one of the most important parts of life. Regardless of how far away your family lives, keep up with them. Nourish your relationships and never take them for granted.



14 comments

  1. Great job! & a great reminder. It's so easy to let time slip by & then one day the ppl you cherish are gone & its too late.

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    1. I know! I hate that i do a bad job with this sometimes, but I really do try.

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  2. i Live in UK with my boyfriend my parents are in France even so it's not that far ! I understand where you are coming form :)

    http://allornothing-blog.blogspot.co.uk/

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    1. That would be tough for me! I hate being six hours away!

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  3. Great blog Kristin. Good ideas for staying close to family members. You're very talented....you make me want to start a blog!!!

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    1. Thank you! That means a lot! And you should start a blog! In the words of Anne Lamott, "Anyone can write!"

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  4. I haven't done playing games but actually I really like that tip. I tend to utilize the phone and facetime the most to keep in touch with my parents. But I am going to try this game idea now too. Thanks for the tip!

    Rae | love from berlin

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    1. Facetime is a great idea too. I've never used it, but I know must people love it! Glad the tips helped. Let me know how you like it after you try it :)

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  5. Thanks! This is really going to help me when I do my big move at the end of the year! Great post, Thanks again! www.thisisrealife.co

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    1. Oh good! A big move, huh? That's exciting! Where are you moving?

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  6. great advice! i am far from my family and close friends- so i loved this. i just sent my sister a package for valentine's day- i think she loved it!! :)

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    1. Glad you enjoyed it!
      I made hand-made cards for my family for Valentine's day this year. I was glad to be able to do something that I knew would make them smile.

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  7. Aww, 6 hours is such an awkward distance--in a way, it's not that long, but it's still too long that weekend trips aren't really feasible! We just got back from visiting my parents and my homesickness is pretty much in full-force. My immediate family is currently living in 3 different countries, so facebook, email, and skype are the best weapons in my arsenal!

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    1. Awww! That's tough! I don't know how you deal with it! Six hours is rough on me!

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