When you're a kid, maintaining friendships is usually pretty effortless -- you see your friends in school, at birthday parties and on play dates arranged by your parents. The simplicity of childhood friendship can give us the false impression that maintaining friendships should always be easy. While your preferred method of keeping up with friends may be the phone, be prepared to tailor your technique to fit a style of communication that works for your friends, too.
Consider why your friends don't call. Friendships and situations change. As people grow older, move away from one another, start having families and full-time jobs, it's harder to make time for long phone calls. You may have to change your expectations about how often your friends call and how long they can talk. Don't guilt trip your friends or make passive-aggressive comments about how they don't call. Instead, be honest about your needs and make room to adjust to their needs. You might want to schedule time to talk by setting up a "phone date." Finally, be objective about the status of your friendships -- there is a chance that something more than time or place has distanced you from your friends and needs to be mended.
Get online. You may prefer the phone, but your friends may not. Some people have simply changed the way they communicate. Social media is a good way to stay connected to friends who have busy lives. Emails are also a great way to fit communication into your workday. Emails don't have to be epic -- you can simply send a joke, an article or a picture from your life. You might even set up a time to video chat using a free service, such as Skype.
Be proactive. Send e-cards or letters on birthdays and anniversaries. If you go on a trip, send a postcard. Such gestures will likely be reciprocated. Send a text or picture message if you see something that makes you think of your friend. Call on the phone and leave a message if they don't pick up. And, if you can, see your friends in person. Go to weddings and parties. Invite friends who live nearby to go to the movies or a local event. Incorporate visiting long-distance friends into vacations or trips.
Paige Johansen has been writing professionally since 2003. She holds a B.A. in psychology and English from Cornell University and an M.F.A. in fiction writing from The University of Virginia. Between degrees, she worked in the fashion industry for two years.
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