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Staying in Touch

Relationships add so much to our emotional health, yet as we walk through the various phases of life, many of us are consumed in our busy day-to-day activities, and we forget to connect with family and friends. When hectic routines require so much of our energy, it is all-too-easy to spend less effort on maintaining relationships outside of our immediate circle. Friends or family who live in different towns, countries, or even just 10 minutes down the road, can unintentionally become an afterthought. If you struggle to find time or ways to stay connected, you’re not alone. Here, local women share their experience and advice about sustainable practices that can help us nurture those much-needed relationships.

"Maintaining relationships is important to me. When I care for someone, I try to let them know by connecting with them. It doesn’t have to be a long phone call or a face-to-face visit. That’s a luxury that’s often just not possible. However, I think texting is a quick and easy way to let someone know that you are thinking of them! It can go a long way in maintaining a friendship. I also enjoy commenting on friends’ posts on Facebook, and using private messenger for conversations. When it comes to plans, I try to be spontaneous. I’ll throw out ideas to get together with friends and try to be understanding if it doesn’t work out."
Maggie Finnegan Thibaud
East Brainerd
"I didn’t move to the U.S. until age 30, so most of my family and friends are still in Korea. I stay in touch with them through various apps. I use Facebook to stay in touch with schoolmates and former colleagues, as well as friends I’ve made here if I can’t see them for a while. Through the app BAND, I connect with my brothers, sisters, and nephews in Korea, and one niece in China. It makes it easy for all of us to exchange news together. I use the app Kakao Talk when I call them because it provides free international calls. And at Christmas, I send cards. No matter what method I use, I make sure my friends and family know that I love them."
Eunice Kal
North Shore
"The older I get, the more I realize the value of maintaining friendships throughout different seasons of life. For some friends, this may be once a year, and for others, once a month. The important part is realizing the value of those you hold dear and being intentional about staying connected. As a working mom of two little girls, this is not always easy. From small things like a phone call to an occasional girls’ weekend – when I set a date and block off that time, I’m more likely to do it. I have even found myself pulling out my calendar at the end of girls’ night, planning ahead for the next time together."
Ashley Walker Hunter
"I am originally from Nicaragua but now call Chattanooga home. When I miss or think of someone, I reach out in the moment, with no expectation of an immediate response. If I refrain from that initial impulse, it will slowly be forgotten. I stay connected through WhatsApp and Facebook messenger. I FaceTime at least once a week with my parents. No matter the app, the importance is the content. Asking intentional questions, remembering important events and the seemingly small ones, telling each other you miss them, and being spontaneous go a long way in strengthening and nurturing long distance relationships."
Tatiana Saballos de Hall

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