12 Stress-Free Tips for True Connection with Friends

February 14, 2016

You have 43 things on your to-do list; you don't need more to-do. Yet, connecting to friends and family is important to you.
Trust me, you have the time. You have the inspiration. You just need a few more tools. Here are 12 tips to keep your connection alive between face to face visits.
1. Calendar Your Thoughts. When a friend has a big test on Tuesday, or a medical procedure in two months; I add it to my calendar. This way I can think of them, pray for them, and check in with them on the actual day.
2. Pray through your Contact List. When I have a spare minute at the doctor's office, instead of mindless scrolling through social media; I try to scroll through my phone's contact list and pray for a friend or two that crosses my mind; I may even send them an encouraging text... or realize that I had never gotten back to them on something... whoops!
3. Use Facebook. I often go on Facebook desiring to connect with my busy-friends, but as soon I log-on, I get distracted. Next time you go on Facebook; try to set a connection goal, like writing three meaningful notes on friend's photos or walls. It's okay to write "cute!" on photos, but it would be much more impactful to speak life and empowering truth to that person.
4. Use Apps. Did you know you can order printed photos right from your phone for about 9 cents each? Other apps like Red Stamp like you create and mail a photo card for under $3. On the way home from a road trip visiting relatives; take a few minutes to pick a cute photo and mail the host a custom thank you note.
5. Keep a Virtual Address List. I love having every mailing address I need in my back pocket. You can add address directly to your contact list where you add phone numbers; or you can use a free program like evernote or google drive.
6. Keep Stamps in Your Wallet. Keep stamps at work. Keep stamps at home. This completely changed the frequency at which I connect. When the inspiration strikes, Instead of thinking "I should really write that person" and adding something else to my to-do list; I write, send AND MAIL a note wherever I am. Keep a pack of stamps near, and you will be shocked at how much more you reach out.
7. Once a Month Writing. When the mood strikes; I like to look ahead and write a few weeks worth of birthday cards in one sitting when I have a leisurely evening. Instead of hustling multiple times a month; you get to turn it into an occasional enjoyable event. Then I send them as the weeks come along.
8. Keep cards and gifts on hand. Gift cards and nice chocolate bars are always a win. It makes birthdays, celebration dinners and social events you dash to after work so much easier. BUT ALSO...
9. Be okay with short and simple. Sometimes we think we have to make it a big ordeal to send someone a letter. If the length overwhelms you; try writing a postcard. If you don't have any stationary on hand; write on a lined sheet of paper and stick it in a plain envelope. There's something sweet about lined paper anyway.
10. 3x5 cards. You just need a pack of these things. Plain, colored, lined, x-large, you pick! I use them for to-do lists, art projects and you can buy an entire pack of 100 for under a dollar. I love meditating on scripture by re-writing it. When I use 3x5 cards for this, I am able to inspire someone else by sending it in the mail. Sometimes I even watercolor the background.
11. Use Props. If you don't like writing, send printed photos with a sharpie note on the back that says "thinking of you!". Text someone a funny photo. Send some scratch and sniff stickers. But also, think outside yourself and muster together a few words to brighten someone's day. Which reminds me...
12. Remember it's about THEM. Leave perfectionism behind, and the accidently-self-centered hurdles that keep us from connecting with someone. Some months I write birthday notes, and some I'm too busy; but it doesn't keep me from writing a few more the following month. Coffee spilled on the note? Write an arrow with "sending you a sip of my morning coffee". It adds character. Forgot to send that graduation card and now it's a week late? Send it anyway. Messy connection, as friendships were mean't to be, is far better than no connection at all.
What tips do you use to connect with others between the face-to-face moments?

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