Isn't it strange to think that, in a world that's known for its 24/7 connectivity, we might actually need to try a little harder to
stay connected to family and friends? Yes, we have phones that give us instant access to the people we know. But there's something about old-fashioned ways of communicating that seem like they get the job done just a little bit better.
"Bringing back old-fashioned ways of being connected to family and friends harkens back to simpler times,"
psychic and spiritual counselor Davida Rappaport tells Bustle. Back in the day, "there was no assumption that someone received or read an email invitation or saw a social media posting." And so, if a connection was to be made and kept, it was necessary to reach out, hear someone's voice, or even stop by their house in person, to see how they were.
And that's where all the fun traditions can come in. From mailing postcards whilst on vacation, to hosting get-togethers in your backyard "just because," to picking up the phone and making a quick phone call, there are ways to
reach out to friends and family, and stay connected, that we shouldn't leave in the past. Here are a few of the best you may want to try, according to experts.
Invite Friends Over, Just Because
So many of us today feel like
get-togethers have to be a big deal. If you want guests in your house, there has to be a theme, a fancy dinner, and a perfect playlist — and so it never actually happens, because even just the thought of that is exhausting.
But that's where we can stand to tear a page from the past, and invite friends over just because. "You don't need a reason, other than to share time with people you appreciate," author and
lifestyle expert Jaya Jaya Myra tells Bustle. Simply pour some chips in a bowl, turn on Spotify, and relax.
Mail Out Hand-Written Notes
Whether we're talking thank you cards, postcards, or a simple hand-written note, taking the time to send out real mail to our loved ones is a beautiful, old-fashioned way of staying connected.
"With emails, texts, and video chat, the art of the hand-written note is nearly extinct," Myra says. "If you make the time to send a sweet hand-written note, the gesture will not be forgotten. If this is to someone you love, you can even put a dab of perfume or cologne on the paper before sending to make it more personal. And oh-so romantic!"
In this modern age of ours, nothing says "you're a true friend" quite like the act of picking up the phone, and actually calling them. This is one more way to stay connected, in a way that has just a touch of old school charm.
"Make a phone call — not an e-mail or text — with no ulterior motive other than to say 'Hi, I’m thinking of you,'"
Nancy Friedman, etiquette expert and president of The Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training, tells Bustle. "It can make someone’s day. And you’ll feel glad you did."
Arrive (Unannounced) At A Friend's House
Remember back before the internet (maybe? yes?) when people would go to each other's houses, just because? Today, if you did that, you'd probably shock your friends at first. But there's still something so nice about showing up unannounced just to say hi — especially if come bearing gifts.
"There’s an old Irish expression that says to never show up at someone’s door 'with one arm as long as the other," Jane Reardon, LA licensed therapist and founder of
RxBreakup, tells Bustle. (Meaning don't show up empty-handed.)
By arriving with wine, pizza, or even just some homemade cookies, you'll not only be pleasantly surprising your friend, but connecting with them, too.
If you want to connect with friends in an old-fashioned way, be that pal who has a stack of board games, and the desire to
host a monthly game night. "People used to have their friends over for an evening — not necessarily for a party, but just because they wanted to get together and spend time with one another," says Rappaport. "They often played games like charades, poker, canasta, bridge, whist, gin rummy." But the game itself wasn't the main attraction; it was all about spending time with friends, and re-connecting.
If one of your favorite people lives far away, you can obviously stay in contact via texts and Facebook messages. But why not take it up a notch, and send them a good old-fashioned care package? "Who doesn’t want to be surprised with a gift," says Friedman. "It’s a great way to keep in touch and stay connected."
So many of our convos these days are via text or email, so — while it may sound strange — it's actually starting to feel old-fashioned to look people in the eye, and be present with them.
And yet, that's just what we should do, if we really want to connect. "Truly listening and paying attention to what people are saying is easily undervalued, yet, in today’s oh-so-busy society, we don’t take the time to do this simple thing,"
author and coach Kelly Robbins tells Bustle. "Listen. Look people in the eye and care. Get to know your neighbors, their kids names, and what’s going on in their lives."
You'll feel closer to those you care about, and have better relationships, as a result.