To all the people bad at keeping in touch,
I get you.
Whether you’re travelling abroad, away for university, or far from friends and family, if you’re anything like me communication can be a weak point. Here’s evidence:
First of all, I know this is nothing to be proud of, however, here are some reasons for why I end up in awkward situations:
- I reply in my head
- I get distracted
- I’m tired (being 5 hours behind is just a weird time difference – not big enough to allow you to catch people at an appropriate time but not small enough to be able to keep up with everyone)
- I’ve left it so long that I’m now debating whether it’s awkward to respond now
- I’m nervous (Sometimes people message me some real deep stuff and I need to sleep first because replying will open a door that I do know have the strength to deal with)
I’d like to take the time to shout out all the friends that are as bad as me (*cough* Cyril *cough*). They don’t get offended when I reply late (mainly because they do the same to me). They call me out when I’m over doing it, however, overall they know my heart and I appreciate that I can pick up the phone and pick up where we left off.
For the people that don’t understand how anyone can be wired that way (*cough* Mum *cough). I am trying to do better. I decided to research on ways to improve communication (especially far from home). There was a lot of advice on the web, some useful, some not. For example, a lot of blogs said, post letters and post cards,
IF I’M STRUGGLING TO TEXT BACK, HOW WILL I MANAGE TO SEND LETTERS AND POSTCARDS.
Anyway, together with lessons I’ve learnt and advice from the internet, here are some tips on how to improve communication from a distance:
FaceTime (or any alternative video chatting app)
If you’re not too bad at communicating with people then a phone call can often work best. This takes away the option of not replying for hours on end until you forget.
HOWEVER, if you know that you have a problem (like me) and have even got the automatic “yeahs” and “wows” on point, then video chatting your friends/family when speaking with them is the best. This is because 1) they can see when you close the app to do other things 2) It’s so much more personable and I find it allows me to focus.
2. Make a schedule
Sometimes I don’t reply to messages because I want to give all my attention to a conversation, especially if it’s family or friends that I’m missing. When people ask me how I am, I don’t just want to settle for the “I’m good” but actually want to be able to have an honest conversation. I find it helpful to plan conversations or phone calls in advance – (This has helped a lot being abroad as I can plan around the time difference too).
3. Say why you can’t reply
I learnt that people are not mind-readers. If you’re busy, say so. The times I’ve let someone know that I’m in a service or another activity and that I’ll message them once it’s over, I have actually gone back and given a more well thought out response.
4. Understand the world does not revolve around you.
Just because you’re now ready to talk to everyone does not mean they will be. When I first left for the USA, it took me a minute to realise that yes I am going through this life adjustment, however, for everyone back home, they still have their daily routines and lives to run. Everybody cannot make room for you, you have to make an effort to understand peoples schedules and fit in where works best. (This is why point number 2 makes so much sense).
At the end of the day, I just want everyone to know that I am putting in steps to do better and be better. But if not:
Be always humble, gentle, and PATIENT. Show your love by being tolerant with one another.