I have a confession to make and it’s not something I’m proud of: I’m terrible at keeping in touch with people, even people I really, really love. I’m bad at responding to text messages right away and making time for phone calls. I love nothing more than a friendship where we pick up right where we left off the last time we saw each other. Do any of you feel the same way?

But there are obviously relationships where I don’t get to see people nearly as often as I’d like and where catching up on the phone or over Skype is necessary… It just hasn’t been a strong suit for me in the past. I’m sure this has a lot to do with my lack of patience (does anyone else get antsy while talking on the phone?) and I tend to be distracted with a bunch of other things when I check my phone and see a new message. But I feel so guilty when someone says they feel like they can’t get a hold of me. It’s definitely something I want to work on now that I live in a city where I’m further away from most of my family and friends.

One of the best parts of Design Darling is the community of young women it’s grown to include over the years and I’d like to think of you all as people I can turn to when I need a little advice. So here it is: how do you keep in touch with family and friends? Do you have weekly Skype calls? A family text thread? (We do and it’s hilarious.) Do you make phone calls from your car or when you’re waiting in line somewhere? Do you respond to texts the moment you receive them? I have a feeling I’m probably not the only one who’s moved away from home and asked herself these kinds of questions so do chime in if you have any words of wisdom!


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  1. Once I moved from a town with no traffic, to a town with constant traffic, I take time during my drive to make phone calls and catch up with people!

  2. I live about 8+ hours from my family & friends, & I am also horrible at keeping in touch with people! My problem is mainly with friends. I usually call my mom or dad while I’m driving. That way there aren’t a million things distracting me, and it makes my drive go by quicker! With friends I tend to just text them out of the blue, but I need a better (and more regular) system. If I ever receive a text from a friend or family I usually respond immediately unless I’m super busy. I actually snapchat my friends a lot as a way of staying in touch; I’ll send them a funny picture/thought/song that we’ve shared in the past. That way they just know that I’m thinking about them!

  3. I dont’ respond immediately. In fact at work email can bog me down so much I cant get work done or upset me then dont get work done so….I dont’ check me work email often either. I don;t answer voice mail and most people dont so I have heard. You’re free time is yours and so make the most of those times and call when you are ready to do so.
    If you want to answer then answer. Its ok to screen calls and texts sort of dumb not to.

  4. I am a big article link sender, screenshotter of a funny photo, quote or something that jogs a memory. I often send without a caption and will get a response… to which I may or may not respond to (you know, life is “busy”). I have read receipts on my iMessages, so everyone knows I have read their messages. Example: If I hear a song that was on my 8th grade basketball warm up, I’ll group text all those girlies. Just lets them all know I’m still here, care about them, etc. It’s the little things to me!

  5. This is such a challenge! I am still working on it for a lot of people, but one thing that has worked well so far is setting days of the week to touch base with people, so it becomes part of my routine. I started it when I realized I hadn’t talked to my little brother in ages, so I started “brother Wednesday” with him–we text or call each other to check in and update each other on life every Wednesday!

  6. I find it hard too sometimes, I answer messages straight away so I don’t forget. I email, whatsapp and FaceTime my mum, grand mother and close friends on Skype and FaceTime too! Me I am rubbish at commenting on your articles I love them all so much read the blog every day and never comment hahah

    xo S.

  7. I live in California and the rest of my family is on the east coast. I call my dad almost every day when I’m driving home from work. It works well since he works late and is also usually just leaving his office in New York. If he can’t talk I’ll try calling my mom or my sisters.

  8. As his birthday present before I moved across the country for school, I promised my dad I would write him one letter a week. It was hard to get it off my to do list at first, but now I’m in a strict habit of sitting down with a latte every Sunday and writing him a long letter. Instead of relaying the mundane every day events or gossiping about my friends, which is how phone calls tend to go for me, I’ve found that writing a letter has made my correspondence with my dad more meaningful and substantial. I write about what I’m feeling, big ideas or questions that are guiding my week, things that I’m excited or scared about. I let the texts and phone calls take care of the day to day stuff, and the letter helps me document what I really felt like during this time in my life and helps him feel like he’s getting to share in it. Plus taking the time every week shows him that I really do want him to be a part of my life, despite the distance. I know the letters are something he will treasure having forever, and I’ll be happy to read over them someday, too!

  9. I was actually really bad about this too when I left home, but somewhere around my junior year of college, I started getting better about it by actively working it into my routine. When I left my first class on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, I got in the habit of calling my Mom (I knew she would answer and that it would be the best time of day to talk with her). Tuesdays and Thursdays I would call my grandma, and in the evenings I would call my dad. Lucky for me, my sister is super proactive about initiating communication, so I don’t think about it. Otherwise, keeping in touch is really sporadic/organic with other people. If they text me, I respond as soon as I can (I’m a compulsive phone checker). When I think of someone I text them. If I can’t text them when I think of them, I try to remember or write it in my calendar. If I think of a lot of people all at once, I’ll write a list of people to contact on my to-do’s in my calendar so it might take me a week before it happens but I know it’ll get done. It’s hard to keep up with everything, but I know this is worth it. I’m so glad you brought up this topic, and I’m sure you’ll get the hang of it!

  10. i love snail mail. it isn’t as immediate but it lets the person know that you are thinking of them, you can write at your own convenience, and it often opens up a dialogue.

  11. I am with you on this! I am the worst! I would love to know how often people keep in touch with their friends. I’ve met tons of great people over the years but am horrible at keeping in touch. I feel like I’m always starting a conversation with Sorry, I haven’t been in touch in awhile etc…

  12. I come from a large family (I’m the oldest of 7, and one of 32 cousins). We have a group message going most days. I try to visit my siblings, since they are so much younger, whenever possible. I also try to answer right away, so I don’t forget to later (which always happens!).

  13. It’s absolutely horrible – I technically still live at home, but I just finished my first year at college and I am currently studying abroad! My mom hates that I don’t call every night, but I try to make do with calling two to three times a week and texting!
    xx, Mikkaela

  14. I always call people to catch up while driving. Almost all of my friends and family live out of state so this seems to work the best. Also, I have different emojis next to the names of the most important people in my phone so if a text pops up, I can look to see if the person is really important or if it is someone I can just respond to later. Also, group texts are the greatest thing ever. Always guaranteed to make your day.

  15. Phone reminders! When I first went to college, I had a phone reminder every night to text my Dad (he was a little worried when I went off to school…). Now, I’ve set one for every other weekend to call my grandmother. Definitely takes some commitment to not just hit ignore, but that’s been my best method to remember to call family. I often take advantage of Facebook Messenger to stay in touch with friends (especially when some of them live and/or travel frequently to other countries) but I also need to get better at keeping in touch with friends.

  16. is a new favorite of mine! It’s a cheap way to send cute cards, because who doesn’t love snail mail?? I also rely heavily on Facetime dates. It’s the closest replacement to being around the ones you love. It’s made my transition from DC to Dallas a whole lot easier.

  17. As unromantic as this is, I love email and gchat! Email because it’s like writing a letter, where you can both respond when you’re ready, and gchat because it can be kind of a fun, “we’re both at work but tell me about your weekend!” kind of thing.

    I’m not as much of a phone talker, I’ll admit. 🙂

    Always, Anita

  18. My husband’s family and friends live in New York and we live in Florida. Since I met him he always calls his family on Sundays. He calls his dad and mom weekly and occasionally his brother and cousins to keep in touch. He also calls his friends on Sunday’s or on his drive home from work. I always have admired his ability to keep in contact with those he loves!

  19. I’m the worsttt and calling friends and while I’m always making resolutions to be better at it, I’m at least pretty good on the digital front. After college, my 8 best friends and I moved to totally opposite places of the country. 4 years later, we still have a Facebook thread going strong 🙂 It’s announced everything from new jobs to breakups to wedding dates to parents’ divorces. As silly as it sounds, it’s really held us all together and allows us to get life news out to everyone at once! xo

  20. I’m terrible at keeping in touch with people too! Something that helped me with calling my mom regularly in college was to set a time earlier in the day that we would both be free to talk for ten or fifteen minutes. For my friends that live far away we still have our group chats which help us stay connected!

  21. This is a great topic Mackenzie! I absolutely agree that keeping in touch with friends long-distance can be a challenge. I just recently graduated from college and even a month out, it takes some effort to keep tabs on what all of my friends are up to!

    One tactic that I’ve found has worked for me is turning on my read receipts on my iPhone. That way, when I read the message, I feel obligated to respond because they know that I’ve seen it, and I don’t want them to feel like I’m ignoring them.

    My second is car rides. I’m not sure what the laws are in Texas, but while I’m driving or sitting in traffic, I’ll call a friend and have a quick chat. This works well for me because I can set a time limit (“Hi! I’m driving to _____, and I only have 10 minutes but I wanted to catch up!), and stick to it.

    Hope I was able to help!

  22. I try to respond to text messages as soon as I read them or else I’ll forget. But I am known for calling people while I am walking from one place to another. Whenever I call my mom the first thing she always asks me is where I am headed to. Walking and talking keeps me focused on the conversation and I feel less anxious since I’m not sitting still while on the phone.

  23. I try not to read my texts until I know I can respond… I will screen them to make sure it’s nothing urgent but if I am out and about I won’t actually open them until I have time to respond. The little notification reminds me I still need to reply! Also group messages with your family or a group of friends is always a good way to keep up and they are usually funny. It is also super helpful if you have news but only have to send out 1 text to hit 5 people!

    xo, Scarlett
    The Trendy Chick

  24. sadly I am kinda in the same boat as you but because I moved around so much as a kid instead of keeping in touch with friends (this was before texting and all social media) I just said bye and made new friends. Somedays I am still like that but I have defiantly come along way from it. Now for friends I try to just answer calls or texts as soon as possible, I also have a groupme group and even though I don’t always chat but I can see other conversations. Now for family I call my mom whenever I either have something I need to say or I have down time. But I am not talking to them everyday because well lets face it life is busy and we want to get things done and enjoy it. I think having a set time to chat will help anyone get into the habit of reaching out and keeping in touch.
    Hope this is helpful!


  25. The one thing that has helped me is to schedule phone calls the way you would a coffee date or happy hour and STICK TO IT! I started doing this with my college roommates and it has worked wonders. Sometimes I will post up on a coffee shop patio (where my chatting won’t bother people), or just pour myself a glass of wine at home and dial them up. Basically create the setting you would be in if you were face to face with a friend- it helps me just focus on my friends and prevents me from starting a load of laundry or trying to organize my desk while catching up. Finding times that work for everyone can be hard, but it is so worth it!

  26. I have a hard time feeling like I’m keeping up with my friends and family too. I only have a very small group of friends that actually live close (within an hour driving distance) so I find myself reaching out more since most of my closest friends live the furthest away. I have a couple of text threads that I keep up with that keeps me in touch with my friends and my family and I do the same. Phone calls I save for the car (thank you BlueTooth!!). I too get distracted and anxious on the phone especially when theres so much else going on right in front of me. Do your best to try and reach out to at least one person once a week or once a day just to drop a line and say hi, or give a one liner update. Its a nice way to let people know you’re thinking about them and what them to know whats going on in your life, even if its been a while since you chatted last. xoxo

  27. I can totally relate, my friends are all over the place. For one group of friends, Google is everything. We have a Google Group that gives us a shared email address that we’ve had running for 8 years (!!!) that we’ll use to share anything from major life updates to random work questions to funny stories. We also have a shared Google calendar so whenever we want to plan something we can easily find weekends that work for everyone. With other groups I use Whatsapp and GroupMe chats to keep a similar running conversation going. We like the apps better than text convos so we can mute them when we’re busy.
    I think it’s easier to keep up with groups than individuals – 1, so you only have to send an update once…or at least once to each circle, and 2, when someone gets super busy and isn’t responding for a little while the conversation doesn’t die and they can catch up easily when they resurface.
    I hate talking on the phone but try to call my parents every two weeks (we email all the time, but phone time is nice), and have a couple friends that are just better on the phone so we’ll call each other while walking to the gym or grocery. The conversations are always short but it makes the walk more fun and gives us a quick check in.

  28. I find the best is the “walk and talk” method. If I know I’m going to walk downtown or somewhere (that doesn’t involve driving!) I always make an effort to call my grandma. Despite the fact she lives so far away, it’s kept our relationship so strong throughout the years. Another thing is snail mail, which I try to send every week and put on my to do list. The key is not saying “I’ll do it later!” I then display the letters that get sent to me above my desk as a reminder to send more. If all else fails, a kindly worded text to say how awesome you think the person is goes a long way- people don’t express how much the people in their lives mean to them as much as they should!

  29. I love that you’re asking for advice on here! I always go by the rule that even 5 mins is better than no mins. Sometimes when I haven’t talked to a friend in awhile I feel like I need a really long time to catch up with them. So then I end up pushing back calling them even more because I feel like I don’t have the time. Not a good thing! Now I call friends even when I only have 5 or 10 mins. On my commute home or on my way to the grocery store. When I do want a longer catch up with a friend I try to get something on the calendar so it makes it feel more official and something neither one of us can blow off. And finally I always always respond to texts immediately, otherwise I’ll forget. Hope this helps!

    – Kelsey

  30. I call my mom to catch up on my drive home from work but otherwise I’m pretty bad at the phone. I’ll send quick text messages and longer emails to catch up. I’ve been trying to be better about sending snail mail, not so much to catch up but just to send a little note or card in the mail. I definitely rely the most on technology like emailing or texting to keep in contact with people!

  31. I talk to my mom everyday, I usually call her from my car before I leave the parking lot at work to go pick up my puppy from doggy day care. My dad and I email occasionally because I usually can reach him faster that way but, if something big or dis concerning is going on with my career/work I call him because I would rather hash that out over the phone.

    My big brother and I will talk on the phone semi frequently. If we miss each other on the phone we’ll leave a voicemail saying “Phone tag, you’re it” which means, call when it works for you. My twin brother and I dont talk or meet up for various reasons.

    I don’t have too many girlfriends but I am fortunate enough to live close by to all of them so we will meet up for drinks/dinner, watch award shows or even plan weekend getaways with them (the next one in the works is Chicago!)

  32. I am the worst at responding to text messages – if I get it when I’m working or busy, I’ll likely forget to respond. But, my favorite time to call and catch up with people is when I take my dog on a walk! I always set aside that time and know that I’ll get 1-3 phone calls in…depending on who it is 🙂 I’ll definitely be checking back in to see other tips – this is an area I need to work on!