Thursday, September 29, 2011 / by Justin Hoffmann
Until the mid-20th century, people still made weekly social calls, had personal "visiting cards", and kept in touch with friends though hand-written letters.
Emily Post, the queen of etiquette, wrote about the art of formal correspondence, noting the importance of everything from the choice of paper to how the paper was folded.
Today, we have e-mail, Skype, instant messenger, and text. Logic would say that since we have such simpler, faster modes of communication it would easier to keep in touch. The opposite appears to be true.
Busy lives have meant that maintaining long-distance friendships has becoming increasingly difficult. It takes a concerted effort to keep in contact, but it's well-worth it!
Just like anything else that needs attention to grow, a friendship must be tended to flourish. Make it your goal to keep in touch and then follow through with a wide range of communications now available.
The first order of business is to let people know your new address and phone numbers. One great idea is to send a "we've moved" card to all your family and friends. You can create and order inexpensive prints on such sites asSnapfish.com or Vistaprint.com. If your move is timed near the holiday season, then consider sending your card in lieu of a Christmas or New Year's card.
Make a goal for how often you'll send emails. Will you send a weekly update to some friends even if it's only a few lines? Will you check in on friends through text? When we don't set goals, it's easy to forget. Decide today who you'll write and when. Does this seem excessive? It's only because we've forgotten how satisfying it can be to keep in touch.
Has it already been months since you contacted someone? Don't let this deter you from reaching out. It's never too late to send an email or make a call.
Don't have the cash for lots of long distance calls? Then try out Skype! It's free web chatting that is private. You can purchase a webcam/mic combo set for as little as $18. Set up an account at Skype.com.
Many of the older generation don't have email or even internet. For these loved ones you'll need to pick up the phone or pick up the pen. Send a handwritten note and some pictures! They'd love to see photos of your new life.
In order to make writing handwritten cards and notes a little easier, set up a station devote to just that. Women used to have stationary desks or secretaries that they used to store cards, paper, and addresses. Start by setting yourself up a similar area, even if this is just a simple storage container that houses your stamps, cards, addresses, and birthday lists. When everything is together, it becomes much less of a chore to maintain.
Compile a list of birthdays and special dates and have cards on hand for life's milestones. Everyone loves to know they've been remembered.
Fostering friendship is just as important now as it was hundreds of years ago. Studies have shown friendships helps us lead happier and healthier lives. Plus, maintaining connections with old friends is a good way to make a healthy start in your new life.
by Carla Hill