How good does it feel to get a phone call or a text message from someone you care about saying that they were thinking about you and just wanted to check in?
A few weeks ago I got a call like that from a friend that I hadn’t talked to in months. She called out of the blue and I was excited when I saw her name on my caller ID even though I wasn’t in a place where I could answer the phone. She left me a message saying that she just wanted to catch up and see how my life was going and ended by saying that she missed me. It took three days for us to finally catch each other at a good time, but when we did we spent 20 minutes talking about everything going on in our lives. So much had happened for both of us since we last talked and we promised to do a better job of keeping in touch before hanging up.
We have so many life and work commitments that we sometimes allow our personal relationships to take a back seat. It doesn’t mean that we don’t care about people, but it does mean that we may need to check our priorities. A wise friend of mine once told me that if you are not doing something, even though you say it is a priority, it in fact is not a priority. Otherwise you would do it!
This experience made me take a step back and realize that there was a long list of people that I really wanted to stay in touch with, but I hadn’t been making the time to do so. I did some brainstorming ways that I could be a better communicator and let the people in my life know that I am here and I care about them.
I have since been making a concerted effort to reach out when someone comes into my mind and to find time in my schedule that I can use to touch base with my family and friends.
Here are some ways that I have been using to stay in touch with people:
If you are short on time a simple text message can be a great way to check in with people. Sending a quick message that says, ‘I have been thinking about you. How are you?’ can not only make someone’s day, it can also help you find out what is going on in their life – not just their Facebook life. The one caveat to texting someone is that you have to respond when they reply.
For a long time, I wouldn’t send text messages to check in on people because I felt it was impersonal and I should call instead. But then I didn’t have time to call or when I did have time it was too late at night so I would put it off another day. I am working on changing that and instead of putting it off I send a quick text message when I am thinking about someone.
Schedule 30 minutes, or more if you have the time, at least once a week to make phone calls to people you have lost touch with. You won’t catch everyone at a good time, but at least they will
know that you are thinking about them and care enough to take the time to reach out and see how they are doing.
Put blocks in your schedule that are dedicated to spending time with the people who mean the most to you every week – even if it is just an hour for a lunch or happy hour. I will forever regret the fact that I got a phone call from one of my friends who was also a great mentor a few months ago. He was struggling with his health and wanted to visit with me as soon as possible, but my schedule was too full to meet with him. A week later he passed away.
Now I have blocks in my schedule that are dedicated to stopping by to see a family member or friend and if they don’t get filled in advance, I make a surprise visit to someone I care about which has been a lot of fun!
These simple things are helping me to be a better communicator, to let the people I care about know that even though I have a lot going on, they are a priority in my life. I have stopped saying staying in touch with people is a priority and have started actually making it a priority.
Is there someone you have been meaning to reach out to?
Someone who has been on your mind a lot lately?
Take a minute right now to reach out. Don’t put it off until tomorrow. Let them know right now that you are thinking about them!