Not Your Typical Relationship Advice

Annie Forrest, Theta Zeta, University of Virginia
Annie Forrest, Theta Zeta, University of Virginia

I’m a pretty live-in-the-moment kinda gal. Instant gratification tends to bite me in the backside more often than not because I’m so consumed in the “now” that I don’t think about the future. There are many aspects of adult life at which I am far from good–saving money, not eating the last donut, watching the next episode of Netflix even though I’ll be exhausted the next morning. Needless to say, when I took this position as a leadership consultant who lives far away from home and travels a good deal of the time, I worried how it would affect my relationships. Since I’m so in the moment and tend to only cultivate the relationships around me at time being, I was worried my other relationships would suffer. I was surprised to find that traveling so much caused my relationships to grow, not diminish. My interactions with those I love became more intentional and I’d like to share some tips from this past semester on how that happened and how it can happen for you world-travelers out there, too!

 

  1. Use the minutes “in between.” Those annoying moments waiting for your order to be called at a restaurant or doctor’s office, quick minutes driving in the car and few spans of time before a meeting starts can all be valuable time to talk to loved ones. Even if you only have a couple minutes to spare, the person on the receiving end of the text/call/snap/whatever will be thrilled you thought of them.
  2. Never underestimate the power of a handwritten note. Seriously, y’all, handwritten notes are the bomb, and in case you were wondering, the post office does still exist. When you have five extra minutes, write your best friend a note or grab a $1 postcard and send it away. Drop it in the closest mailbox and make someone’s day!
  3. Communicate in your most effective way. During the past few months, I realized that I loathe written communication. I would much rather pick up the phone and hear someone’s voice. It’s easier for me to communicate with the people I love now because I don’t dread having a drawn-out text conversation. I just pick up the phone, chat for a few minutes and say I’ll do the same next week. Find your communication style and try using it more.
  4. Don’t worry about bothering someone. Sometimes the reason someone doesn’t text or call someone else is because she or he don’t want to “bother” him or her. But honestly, the vast majority of people won’t be upset that you took the time to think about them and then act on that thought with a nice note/text/call/email (and if they are, think about getting some new friends!).
  5. Keep realistic expectations. I also realized that sometimes I would only get to see some of my best friends for a few minutes or long enough to grab coffee or dinner. Keeping realistic expectations about time spent together is important, especially with friends or family you’re used to seeing for extended periods of time.

It’s all about the quality of time spent together or talking and not the quantity. So, pick up your phone next time you’re walking to your car, you communication guru, and make someone’s day!

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