We’ve already talked about meeting new people on a regular basis, connecting people to each other and to great opportunities, and knowing how to ask for what you want.
Today we’ll talk about something your grandma taught you that you may have forgotten: staying in touch with people.
Live the good life by staying in touch
Hey, I get it. You have the best intentions, but you are busy. Super-busy, in fact. Between your job and your family and taking care of your home you barely have time to…
Let me stop you there.
You can tell what is important to a person by the way they spend their time. If relationships are important, you will make time for them. You will make it a priority to send birthday greetings, celebrate the joys and mourn the losses of your nearest and dearest. And if you want to truly live the good life, you’ll expand this out to include friends and acquaintances who might become better friends with a little TLC.
When your friends need you, you’ll be there. And when you need them, they will be there for you, too.
How to stay in touch
Here are some of the easier ways to stay in touch, create deeper relationships with your friends, and keep a steady place in the lives of your friends no matter how far away you may be.
Finding the time to stay in touch
You have to make the time for it. We’re all busy, and we all have things vying for our attention every second of the day. The things that are urgent, whether important or not, are usually the things that get done. In order to invest in your relationships, you have to make it a priority and carve out the time for it, even though it doesn’t seem like a pressing need.
Could you give up watching a 30-minute sitcom every evening or wake up 30 minutes earlier each day to work on your relationships? Those 30 minutes can be spent:
- Making a phone call
- Sending 3 emails
- Writing 2 notecards
- Planning one casual meetup and sending out email invitations
- Sharing coffee with a friend before or after work
Become the host
One thing that will make a huge difference in your ability to stay in touch is to become an event planner and host within your circle of friends. The more invitations you extend, the more you will get in return.
- Get a group of people together for a cause (from a group yard sale to a community activity to a political event). This is a powerful way to connect with people who feel strongly about the same things you do or have the same needs you do.
- Invite a group to do something you would normally do alone. Do you like farmer’s markets on Saturdays? Invite some friends and have coffee beforehand. Want to see a movie? Invite 5 people to go with you and talk about it afterward. Have a craving for ice cream? Send out a Facebook update that you’ll be at the ice cream shop at 5 and ask people to join you.
- Throw a party. You don’t have to spend a lot of money or go to great lengths to have a get-together at your house. Start a book club, coordinate a potluck or a barbeque, organize a DVD and popcorn night, schedule a casual happy hour one day a month, or plan an easy brunch with friends on a Saturday morning. The more often you plan something at your home, the easier it will be. (And don’t tell me you don’t have space – we went to one of the best dinner parties ever in a 400-square-foot apartment.)
Social media makes it easier
Grandma probably didn’t tell you about email, Facebook, Twitter, and Skype when she taught you how to write a thank you note and respond to an invitation. But grandma probably didn’t know nearly as many people as you do, so I’m sure she would give you her blessing on staying in touch this way. Social media is your friend. Never has it been easier to stay in touch with a large number of people – people who live all over the world – than it is now.
- Use lists to sort your contacts. If you have more than 1oo friends online (and most of us do), it can get overwhelming to keep up with everyone’s updates. You can sort your friends into lists in Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus and then easily click each list to review the updates of only those people. Section them off by family, work friends, friends from a particular hobby or interest, brands or companies you like to follow, etc. It will make your social media time much more effective and allow you to stay on top of what is going on with your contacts.
- Subscribe to the RSS feeds of people you want to know better.Don’t wait until you need to ask a favor to check someone’s blog/website/Facebook page and find out what they’ve been up to. By signing up for the RSS feed and cruising the headlines on a regular basis you will know what is going on, when to reach out, and how to have a better conversation when you do connect with that person again. This works even better for someone you don’t know well because you can learn a lot about their interests before you attempt to connect on a deeper level.
- Share your ideas and ask questions. Staying in touch means telling people what you are doing and thinking, too. You may not always have time for a conversation with your friends, but you can always put an idea, thought, or question on Facebook and have a virtual conversation over a day or two. Updating that your day sucks or you hate your boss or that your life is boring will not draw you closer to anyone. But asking your friends how they get over a bad day, how they handle difficult situations at work, or what they are doing for fun lately will generate a conversation. To be interesting, be interested.
Relationships need ongoing care
It doesn’t really matter how you stay in touch with your friends, only that you do. Don’t put off that card, email, phone call, or date because it isn’t convenient or you know they’ll understand that you are busy. You will learn something from your friends and acquaintances every day if you seek it out, and in return you can share a little bit of yourself, too. The tapestry of your life becomes more intricate, the colors become brighter, and the layers become deeper. And isn’t that what we’re all looking for?
What is your favorite way to stay in touch?
Discover the confidence within you to speak up and let others know what is important to you. Click here to pick up a copy of Betsy’s book, Strip Off Your Fear: The Good Girl’s Guide to Getting What You Want today.