This month is all about friendships! And we continue the conversation with several tips to help nurture and maintain relationships after moving abroad.
Having a social safety net is really important, especially when you live abroad, but when you’re moving away and making new friends, you can easily neglect your friends back home.
You know from my previous post that relationships change when you move abroad. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t maintain great friendships in your home country (or wherever else in the world).
When nurturing friendship, a little attention and affection can go a long way. And while you may be busy building your new life abroad, it’s important to let friends and family back home know that you are thinking of them.
Here are 7 super-easy ways to keep in touch with people and maintain your relationships back home.
Let people know you are thinking of them on important days
Do you like to receive birthday messages on your birthday? Yeah right!? Who doesn’t? It is such a small effort, but remembering someone’s birthday or wedding anniversary can greatly impact the person who will receive your message.
If you are not good at remembering birthdays, just add them to your calendar and turn on the alert to ensure you don’t miss them. A text message, a quick phone call, or a birthday card will all be great ways to let people back home know that you are thinking of them.
Reassure friends you will be there for them
When it comes to relationships, both parties must make an effort to maintain the friendship or relationship. However, as you move away, friends and family can feel neglected, making it even more important to show them that you think of them.
Even though you are far away, reassure your friends that you’ll be there for them when they need you. You might not be physically available, but you can show your support and help them even while living abroad.
Talk regularly (share the good and the bad)
While maintaining your relationships back home, it’s important to keep sharing the good and the bad. When you move abroad, people assume your life is awesome and exciting. While this might be the case, you probably also suffer from loneliness or setbacks. So even though you are posting sunny and happy pictures on Instagram, make sure your friends know what is really happening in your life and allow them to support you if times are tough. They might find it difficult to relate to your struggles (especially if they’ve never lived abroad), but having someone who listens to you can make all the difference.
Surprise someone with a letter or small gift
My ex-colleague in Sydney often received packages from her mom back in France. The boxes would include a handwritten letter, small gifts, and little treats from France; her response was priceless every time she received one of those packages. You could see the love sparkling in her eyes, and she was beaming with happiness for days after.
Surprising someone with a care package or small gift can brighten someone’s day and show that you care and think about someone. Even a postcard now and then can be a friendly little reminder that you care. So, when you see something your friend would like, buy it and surprise them with it!
Find new ways to keep in touch with friends
The covid pandemic has shown us that we can get creative to stay in touch with our friends. And some of these pandemic initiatives are great to introduce to your friends back home or all around the world to make sure you and your friends stay connected in a fun and engaging way.
Some ideas are an International Book Club or watching your favorite series ‘together’ (laptop buddies on the couch), and WhatsApp groups with a specific topic (maybe to inspire each other’s entrepreneurial sides) are also a great way to share a common interest and stay connected.
Invite friends and family over
Hosting friends and family is one of my favorite things to do (although it can be tiring too, but that’s a different blog altogether;-)). Showing your life in another country to the people close to you is special. It allows you to give them a peek into your new life and will also help your friends and family understand (and appreciate) your new life better.
So, if you can host your friends and family, make sure you invite them over.
P.s. Some friends will not come to visit you, regardless of the many times you’ve invited them, don’t take this personally. There can be various reasons why your friend is not visiting you, many of which will not be personal (like work, money, etc.)
Share the little things
Letting someone know that you are thinking of them doesn’t always have to involve a big gesture. Sharing an interesting article, book recommendation, or meme can all be simple ways to stay connected and in touch with each other.
That’s a wrap. I hope these tips will help you maintain your friendships back home and inspire you to keep in touch with your friends even though you’ve moved (or are moving) away.
For weekly tips and conversations about moving and living abroad, follow Let’s Move Abroad on Instagram.
And here’s a thought: maybe you can inspire your friends back home to move abroad too and gift them the Let’s Move Abroad 😉