“Let’s keep in touch”, “We should do this more often”…. We all say it. And we sincerely mean it. But we don’t do it. Why not?
Truth is, most of us don’t want to be the one taking the initiative. We’d rather just wait for the next occasion that somebody else arranged. So much easier to just see your cousin at a wedding. Or you put off meeting with your brother, because you know you’ll see him on his birthday 6 months from now. We only seem to get together when we are obligated to. Which is a shame, because we have fun when see one another in person.
In this day and age of the internet, we feel that we keep in touch by checking one another’s facebook page. Sure, you can ‘like’ your nephew’s latest photo, or write a comment, and feel like you’ve interacted with a family member– But it’s not the same. We know better.
So if you want to get out of the habit of saying “let’s keep in touch” and actually do it, here are some simple suggestions:
Find a fun reason to meet. Call your cousin and say, “There’s this new place in town that has an axe-throwing range and craft beer. It sounds absurd, and I remembered how much fun we had at Lisa’s wedding, we should try the place”. They’ll be flattered you reached out to them. The place you go to really doesn’t matter. It can be a museum or a county fair, the point is, you’re going somewhere to spend time together.
Don’t be shy– Be honest. We often avoid picking up a phone because we fear an odd sense of rejection. Which is silly. They want to hear from you. Sure, younger relatives may have busier schedules, so be honest and address that. Everyone appreciates sincerity. “Hey, I’m retired and you’re not, so tell me when you can squeeze me in, I’ll stop at the drugstore and get a kite for 5 bucks, we’ll meet at a park close to you, and you can post pictures of me trying to fly it”.
See how you can help. Sometimes, when you don’t know what someone is up to, it’s because they are going through a tough time. They’re unhappy at their job or have a physical ailment. Ask them if they’d like to talk about it. Too often, people don’t want to ask for help, so you can be the one to offer it. Pass down your wisdom or experience, it’s what family is for.
Most of us spend free time with friends from work, and when the job ends, we don’t see them anymore. Or we do things with neighbors, but after we move, we’ll never see them again.
But family? You’ll know them your entire life. They are the people you should be keeping in touch with. Time goes by fast. Don’t limit your experience with relatives to weddings and funerals. Instead of simply saying “keep in touch”, you need to actually do it.
Post this on the facebook pages of your relatives– And then make a plan to see them…
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