In light of the pandemic, it can be difficult to stay in close contact with friends and family. As family caregivers, life might never seem to slow down. However, keeping in contact with loved ones is essential for maintaining a support system. With a strong support system, risk of burnout and emotional exhaustion are lowered. However, reaching out to a friend can be complex. This is true for long and short distance friendships. Everyone has different schedules and situations that might not be easy to align with. After a few usages, a simple “Hi, how are you?” text may not be bringing the desired connection. NBC News created a list on how to stay in touch with friends and maintain an authentic relationship, despite external factors.
Assess needs that both you and your friend possess. This allows you to understand what kind of commitment to communication you are making. For example, one friend might have an extremely time consuming job and is not to be bothered within certain hours. Knowing these boundaries can help the nature of the way you reach out to them.
Figuring out what works. Some people do not want or have time to have two hour phone calls weekly. Asking your friend or family member what times work for them and setting up a routine can be helpful. This could also be done in the form of letter writing or emailing.
Affirm your connection. It is easy for messages to get misinterpreted over text. Being clear that you value the person can alleviate some potential confusion.
Find time to plan a visit. This is not exactly an easy feat for most family caregivers. However, if there is time for respite and a family member or friend lives close by, this can provide a great opportunity to engage in self care.
Being there when times are tough. Sometimes, small talk does not provide the desired sense of support. Even if it is just for a few moments, picking up the phone and listening is a great way to sustain your connection.