As Winter break draws to a close, it’s time to head back to a slower, steadier, stronger grind. With balancing work, school, and all other extracurriculars at the same time without having a mental breakdown, it’s a no brainer as to how even the strongest relationships kinda fall by the wayside.
Throw yourself back to the time you went home for the holidays. Reconnecting with loved ones, connecting with new loved ones. Cuffing season came and went. “Almost”s became “actual”s and “things” became relationships. Friendships blossomed, strengthened, what have you.
But now you’re back in Bellingham, and what are you to do with the people back at home? You can forget them if you want to, but that’s extreme. During times like these you want to latch onto what you created for yourself.
Unfortunately, who knows when you’ll have time to go back? How are you going to keep these things afloat while running about your daily life?
Here are some very situational but also helpful methods of keeping your long distance love within reach:
Snapchat: Send Pics With a Purpose
If my BFF from Bothell, WA and I didn’t vacation together we’d have a Snapchat streak of over 230 days! It only takes one snap a day to keep the streak alive. Whether it was literally just the word, “streak” or if it was a snap-wave of about 18 ranting about a bad day, the little number to the right kept increasing and as it built it kept us motivated to keep going. We’re at 150 as of today!
While it seems simple and detached, you’d be surprised by how motivating it is to keep that number going, and keeping that common goal keeps the embers of friendship burning steadily rather than having sparks fizzle out of a sturdy relationship.
Writing Letters: For Your Inner Vintage Aesthetic
Sending letters allows anyone with a weakness to the vintage concept to have an excuse to show it off. Writing letters is not only extremely personal and intimate, it’s such an outdated and unusual concept that it means so much more to receive one of those than say, a simple text message. It shows that your friendship or relationship is able to withstand the distance and beat the test of time as well. Make it even more personal with super cute stationary and stickers for an even more personal touch! Letters are a more tangible representation of how often communication is conveyed in any relationship, so seeing a fat stack (or even a little stack) of those pretty envelopes will motivate you to write even more and keep the back and forth going! Your mailbox will never run out of data nor have a character limit, so you can actually keep these too!
Care Packages: Send Them Your Love
In addition to letters, care packages are definitely the way to anyones heart. Whether it be pretty rocks you saw and wanted to show off, or food, or pictures, what have you! A care package is an incredible way of saying, “I thought about you and care about you enough to spend money and time assembling this JUST so you can (have food/have socks and be warm/have something to listen to/etc.).” If you’re at a loss for what to include, some items that are universally loved are:
- Mix CDs– nothing says personal like a list of songs that remind you of your friend or SO.
- Fuzzy socks– It’s wintertime. We all need them.
- Food– Nonperishable of course, bonus points if you include their faves.
- Photos– Taking the time out to give them tangible visual reminders will warm their heart.
- Movies/books– Anything you think they would love to have in order to occupy their time will make them love you forever.
Technically Speaking: Keep Digital Communication Flowing
First of all, there are a TON of apps for LDRs that you and your SO can share together. Most of them are specialized for just you two, so you can have an intimate, non-publicized format to express your love for one another. Apps like Couple or Without allow you two to have your own private chat rooms, and you can share locations, make plans, and share photos of your day to day activities to stay in the loop with one another. An app called Sesame allows one to send customized or themed care packages to their loved one, so that helps you with the previous suggestion regarding care packages.
In addition to apps, maintaining digital communication (if allowable), through means of texting, Skype, and FaceTime are absolutely crucial, especially in this generation. Unless it’s clearly communicated that technology isn’t one of your “things,” it’s really hard to tell the difference between having some busy days and trying to cut the other one off. Especially in a time where people constantly have their phones on them!
Musical Pro-tip: When Spotify Saved my Friendship
With Spotify, you can make a playlist and share it with people. Once shared, you can continuously develop and add songs to it as your preferences shift. Its an adorable method of non-verbal communication to make playlists, then drop in every once in a while to pop in a song that’s been stuck in your head, or songs that describe how you’re feeling or what you’re thinking. They say that songs are a key into the minds of people, seeing as how they often say what we are too afraid to say ourselves. Honing in on details like an added or removed song can really strengthen the relationship you and your friend or SO have at the roots.
How WWU Students Cope: The Takeaway
Seeing as how I’m no expert in the dating game, these are just suggestions I’ve seen around here at WWU. My suitemate Sierra (’19) has weekly FaceTime dates with her friend back at home. Another WWU student Daniel (’19) receives regular care packages from his home state of Arizona. My friend and myself have kept an ongoing Snapchat streak and plan to keep it going. Simply by walking around and talking to people, I’ve discovered so many new ways of showing the people back home how much I love them!
Trying methods like this, no matter how dorky they may seem, can add some fun and lightheartedness that often comes with the many miles of distance separating you from those you love the most. Making the most out of seemingly unfortunate situations make the distance feel nonexistent!