Having been raised in Hawaii long distance friendships were normal for me and correspondence became a way of life. My pen pals ranged in age from 80 to 5, some I had chatted with in person and some I had never met before, some were in other countries and some were just states away. I learned about friendship cultivation through these letters.
- Share the details. The friendships that flourished were the ones where our letters were filled with every day tidbits, decorated with stickers and doodling, and even had jokes going back and forth. We moved past the mundane facts and chatted in pen as if we were in person.
- Share my heart. It takes effort to open up long distance but the sharing of struggles and emotions crosses the miles. Friendships do not deepen without vulnerability.
- Take the time. I really tried to make my correspondence a weekly priority and had set days when I replied to my letters in the order they came. I wrote to my elderly penpals weekly, regardless if they had written back. Sometimes I would surprise my friends with little gifts in their letters.
With the advancement of technology, letter writing is a fading practice; even emails are becoming obsolete thanks to text messaging, Facebook messenger, Marco Polo, Snapchat, Instagram and all the other social media sites that connect people. In my opinion though, social media requires us to work even harder to cultivate friendship.
As we inform the masses of our life happenings we lose the personal closeness that comes with sitting down to write to ONE person or picking up the phone and having a chat with ONE person (something that I’m terrible at initiating since I have a phobia of phone calls. LOL!) The tidbits I learned so long ago about cultivating friendships across the miles may have been learned through letter writing but are still relevant in this social media driven world. We still need to share details, share our hearts and take time to be a good friend.
What is your preferred method for cultivating long distance friendships?