3 Simple Ways to Keep in Touch After You’ve Moved Away
Most Canadians move multiple times in their lives. Changing homes is already stressful enough without worrying about losing touch with loved ones. Here are some simple strategies to keep you connected with friends and family after the big move.
The Average Canadian Will Move Five Times Throughout Their Life
When I moved from Toronto to a rural community, I assumed it would be easy to keep in touch with loved ones in the city. I quickly learned that maintaining contact is challenging. Internet can be iffy when trees are involved, and signals fade without towers on every block. Work, kids and busy schedules can make conversations even harder to plan.
I’m not alone in my struggle. Most homeowners may bounce between four or five different communities, cities or provinces during their lives, according to the Canadian Association of Accredited Mortgage Professionals. In 2015, Statistics Canada reported that close to 300,000 Canadians had changed provinces for work, school or to get a fresh start.
If you’ve ventured far from your personal network, fear not. “Modern technology can help you keep in touch with friends or family who live far away. You just have to find the right way,” says Sarah Hallett, a therapist intern at York University in Toronto. “Though the person is not physically there, you can still have access to validation, encouragement and support.”
Keep in Touch Virtually
Nearly a decade ago, Hallett left her home in Bordon, England, and relocated to Toronto for her partner’s new job. She wanted to make sure her three children (then 10, eight and one) could still keep in touch with their grandparents back in Europe.
Facebook has been a game changer, Hallett says. The platform provides quick access to updates about her community overseas and lets her share family photos easily, which is especially helpful when there isn’t time to call. “The biggest thing for me is the images,” she explains. “Now our relatives can see the kids getting taller, so when we meet again, they won’t be surprised by how they look.”
Hallett recently taught her mother (now 75) how to use FaceTime on a tablet. Now the family is able to engage in face-to-face chats—and the kids are eager to show Grandma their latest school projects.
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Old-Fashioned Efforts Are Important
Technology is helpful, but it can’t prevent life from getting in the way of the best intentions.
“We have a tendency to keep putting off the call,” says Elaine Swann, a lifestyle and etiquette expert in Los Angeles. “If we haven’t spoken to someone in a long time, we feel bad about it, so then we make even more excuses not to do it.”
When this happens, Swann suggests taking a page from the past and sending a handwritten note in the mail to let the person know you’re thinking of them, even if they haven’t heard from you in a while. “A card will warm someone’s heart, and they’ll be more likely to pick up the phone, opening up the door for reconnection,” she says.
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Set a Date
If you have something substantial to say, Swann advises making a date. Agree on a regular weekly or monthly time for a Skype or phone call, and then put it on the calendar, she says.
Since I moved away, my friends and I have established new rhythms for keeping in touch. We send text messages in between Skype dates, which are organized in advance to accommodate itineraries and Internet service. These days, we have a better feel for each other’s schedules, so our relationships don’t become an eternal game of voice-mail tag. And this way, I never feel too far from my loved ones—even with so many trees in the way.
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