With travel to remote parts of the world easier and more common than ever, it often leaves family and friend back home alone and disconnected. Maybe your child is away for college or across the world studying abroad. Possibly your spouse is away for work for an extended period of time. Whatever the case may be, there are now many, many ways to keep connected even though hundred or possibly thousands of miles are in between you.
The biggest priority with your loved one away is to stay connected. Keep in mind that the frequency of your contact should be determined by your relationship. For parents missing their child going to school across the country, try not to call them everyday (if you child does not want to, of course). That constant connection might turn into more of a leash than anything. But rather, if it is your spouse who has traveled afar, you should speak to him or her at least once a day.
Whoever is away from you and wherever they may be, you must make it a priority to keep in touch. If you are in different time zones, set a specific time each day in which you will catch up. It may inconvenience one or the other, but it is necessary to maintain the best relationship that you can.
Frequent Phone Calls
Since everyone has a cell phone nowadays, it is easier than ever to make a phone call and connect with someone. Phones can be good for just a quick call to say hello. You do not have to get into a deep conversation. Just let you loved one know that you thought of them. Cell phones also give you the option of text messaging to let someone know that you are thinking of them.
As mentioned above, you must make it a priority to touch base from time to time. Will you call during your lunch break? After dinner? Set a definite time for your phone call and stick to it.
Emailing your loved one is another great way to keep in touch. Use email to send a quick note or use it to get into a more in depth conversation. This is especially useful when you are located in two different time zones.
Use A Video Chat Such As Skype or Google
There are many different and free ways to have a video calls via the Internet. The two most prominent programs to connect are Skype and Google video. Skype is a simple, free program that is downloaded onto your computer.
To use Skype, you only need a microphone although a webcam is certainly recommended if you want to have video chats. Once you install Skype, you will create a user name and will then be ready to connect with a friend or family member. Skype’s interface is very easy to navigate, which will allow you to connect in just a matter of minutes. Keep in mind that the quality of your video chat is dictated by your webcam and Internet connection. If you are having trouble with the video, you may need to upgrade these two items.
For Google Video, both you and your loved one must have a Gmail account. While logged into your Gmail account, find who you want to connect with in your frequent contacts located on the left hand side of the webpage. There should be a little green video camera next to your contact that will indicate they have a webcam in use on their computer. Just click on the video chat button, and you can then connect to your love one.
Use Skype for International Calls
Skype also allows calls from your computer to any telephone in the world. To use this, you simply connect as you do with a video call except you input the physical phone number of the person on the other end. While this will cost you some money, it is significantly less expensive than using a calling card or your cell phone for international calls. Phone calls via Skype call be made to both land lines and cell phones. This means that can connect at nearly any point during the day.
So you can be connected with much of the great technology discussed above, but now you must deal with being alone for weeks or months on end. To help you through this process, be sure to express you feelings of loneliness with your significant other. Try not to feel sorry for yourself and your situation. Just listen to each other. You are the only two people in the world who know exactly what you are going through.
Embrace but Do Not Dwell
When you are not talking/chatting/conferencing with your loved one, try to embrace your feelings but do not dwell on this absence in your life. It is extremely difficult to be away from someone, but your sadness will only be compounded unless you continue with your life as usual. Do not let your loneliness cripple you.
Try to Stay Busy
Some might consider this to be sweeping your emotions “under the rug,” but staying busy is a good and healthy thing that has personally worked for me in these situations. Be sure to process your emotions with your loved one, but you must certainly go on. You can keep busy at work, at the gym, or just spending some extra leisure time reading a book. This will keep you occupied and will keep your emotions away from the absence in your life.
When you are in this situation, be sure to go out with friends. Get together and go out to dinner or a movie. A little extra human interaction will go a long way to help you live through this time.
Make a Countdown
When you were a child, you made a countdown to Christmas, but try making a countdown for your loved one’s return. It may sound juvenile, but it will help you visualize the light at the end of the tunnel. The pain is only temporary!