Tuesday, November 7, 2017

SPIRITUAL SMACK: STAYING IN TOUCH

S P I R I T U A L   S M A C K  |  S T A Y I N G   I N   T O U C H
Another noteworthy guide to friendships with tips on how to keep strong bonds & not drift apart, even from a distance . . .


he physical isolation I felt this past year when we lived in the West TX desert ear Marfa is still vivid. Being plopped in an adobe home away from heat but also anyone I could remotely befriend taught me the one distinctive factor in my peace with being alone. It also taught me the importance of friendship—forging new ones and keeping old ones strong. As I reflected on in a previous post, it served its purpose in creating a haven for writing my upcoming book (Prestel/Random House Spring 2018); I had not one distraction. What it could have also handed or dealt me with is loneliness.


In a state of remoteness, our immediate emotional response is loneliness. As I said before, loneliness is an emotional response to the state of being alone. It is this state in which we cannot recognise that and feel a deep sense of disconnect that highlights the importance of holding onto our friendships. In a time of atomisation, most of us have a tendency or only have the energy to focus on our own microcosm of work & home balance. Yet, when we make a concerted effort to create the time to rekindle friendship or connect to others, we often find that we can be more productive or content in other areas of our lives. Here are some tips to reconnect to ourselves by reconnecting with others . . .

FaceTime or Face time

Take an inventory of the friends whom you either have not seen in a while or those who you'd like to see more often. Who is able to recharge you despite being burnt out? Reach out to make a date! It doesn't have to have be scheduled immediately in the coming few days; go back and forth about what your availabilities are within the coming weeks. Be mindful of holidays and vacations that are approaching.

If you don't have time to see a friend vis-à-vis or, like me in when I was in Texas, are too far from them, schedule a FaceTime or Skype date. This was my saving grace then and still is with friends living afar or even an hour away. It's hard for me to see my best friend with her work schedule and travel clashing with mine despite living just 50 minutes away. We manage to still keep in touch by scheduling FaceTime dates, something we used to do in TX and still stick to. 

When you do make a date for FaceTime, make sure to also schedule it with a shared Google calender invite so neither of you forget the call (which has happened to me far too many times!).

Group Chats

I know that this can be both a saving grace and a point of annoyance when you check your phone only to see 50 notifications from one group chat. Yet, this is still a much more concise way of keeping in touch with family members, colleagues, or college friends. It's also a great platform to get a mass of advice at once, as at least one person is certainly going to respond timely. It relieves the pressure of catching up with everyone in these group texts one on one. It also provides small systems of support to guide you at all times.

Snail Mail

One of my absolute favourite things to do is write & send postcards to friends and family. I do this especially when I'm on a trip by taking the time to go to a local store to pick out a nice postcard. It's such a delight to receive something personal in the mail & an art sadly long forgotten. Revive it by sending a little snail mail to a friend of either a long letter or simply to express something about them for which you're grateful!

Quick Calls or Unexpected Texts

These are also another way to not only strengthen bonds with your friends and family but brighten up the days of both parties. I know that even when I miss a call from someone I love, getting an unexpected call and hopefully a voice mail telling me they were calling to simply say "hi!" makes my day. Call a friend or family member tomorrow to do this and see where the conversation takes you. Even just a five minute call with an opening of "I know we're both short on time but I wanted to let you know how much I love and appreciate you" is enough. You can also express this over a short & sweet text, sprinkled with all the emojis your heart desires! Keep it light! I'm also known to send memes that I caption myself or a little haiku on the humours of life for a shared laugh; make it your own!