Tools for Maintaining Healthy Friendships and Family Relationships from Afar

You think it won’t happen, but it will in some shape or form. During your planning, you focussed on streamlining your packing and planned how you’d spend your first Monday off in so long – not when it was you were going to speak to your best pals.

It’s hard to say if it’s homesickness or just a little nostalgia but sometimes, it consumes you. For me, I’ve come to realise – and accept – that I get jealous. It’s ironic that you spend so much time planning to escape and then the very people you left behind seem to be having so much fun. Like when I see a post on Facebook telling the world that my family just celebrated my mother’s 60th or that my two best friends are finally seeing that film together. Without me. Mostly, it happens when I’m doing something and I think, my Dad would love this. Or I try some food I’ve never had before and I wish I could share it with my brother because I know it will remind him of our childhood summers too. At these moments, I vow to call that person at the earliest opportunity. When you’re in a foreign country, that’s often easier said than done but that’s the other thing I’ve come to realise; that it’s absolutely worth the effort.

These are the things I use to help me maintain my most important relationships when I’m away.

FaceTime

All the emotions in full colour and sound, right there where you want it – the palm of your hand. This wonderful iPhone feature is probably one of the most popular ways to keep in touch with people in different countries. It’s amazing to see and hear the person you’ve been missing and for them to see how you’re getting on in real time. See and hear your loved ones for as long as your battery lasts. It’s free to use and is now available through your laptop or iPad for even bigger visuals.

Whatsapp

Whatsapp has been around for years. It’s one of those things you use every day without realising how great it is. Not only can you send text and photo messages through it but you can also record voice messages on it, which makes saying good night, congratulations or happy Birthday that little more personal.

Instagram

Unlike Facebook or Twitter, Instagram is a little more low key. There seems to be much less of the forced interaction with this social media app and that’s why it’s perfect for using when you’re on the road. Sometimes you want to share that view with everyone; sometimes you just want a pretty place for your favourite photographs.

Moonpig

The events that you can’t attend when you’re on the road will be many. Weddings, Birthdays, new babies and new homes – you’ll escape them all. What’s great though, is that you can send a personalized card to the happy couple without it taking weeks. This website lets you choose a design and personalize it with your own text. You can even upload your own images, reminding your friends that you’re thinking about them, all those miles away. Add important dates to the calendar function, get Moonpig to remember them and you’ll never miss a milestone again. It even stores addresses so you don’t even have to carry your address book anymore.

Touchnote

This clever site enables you to upload the photograph of that incredible, remote beach you found, type a quick message and send it as a postcard to your increasingly jealous family. This is a great alternative to the traditional postcard as it’s personal and quick, arriving in just a couple of business days. Like Moonpig, Touchnote cards are sent from a distribution center in the country you’re posting to, rather than from the local post office you haven’t been able to locate for at least a week.

What’s your best way to keep in touch? Please share in the comments below.

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