Neal and I were on Google Video Chat last Sunday night, when he made a comment that really struck me as honest and true. Neal said, “Only when I am traveling do I realize how far away we are.”
With all of the tools and technology that Neal and I have at our LDR fingertips, I thought it would be a good idea to make the #2 Survival tip about using all of your communication tools. (Missed Tip #1 about Flexibility? That’s okay. Check it out here.) For all of those in a long distance relationship, the tools to keep communication fluid and constant are ever present.
Skype: This is the biggie, and will always have a place in my heart. (As this was the tool that Neal used to asked me to marry him.) There are limitations to the free software, like the ability to group video chat.
Google Chat: This is the tool that Neal and I use to pass messages together throughout the day, or while I am lunch we will have conversations about wedding plans, upcoming trips and more. It’s great because all of the chats (unless you go off record) are recorded and searchable.
Google Video: Neal has a new tablet PC, so this is the tool that we have been using most frequently. It’s simple, so tough to find flaws.
Google+ Hangout: Neal and I have been able to test the Google+ hangout feature, which we both love. Essentially, you can create a “hangout” space for a group of friends. This is free, something you would have to pay with Skype. You can share/watch YouTube videos together so much fun.
Google Docs: By now you have realized that Neal and I are pretty big fans of Google. With that, it’s no surprise that we share information through Google Docs. Lists of future travel plans to wedding details, all live there allowing us to both access it at any time of the day.
FourSquare: Neal and I both play Foursquare pretty competitively. We are constantly trying to beat one another’s points, mayorships or badges. It sounds incredibly silly, but it’s a fun way to know what the other is up to… while keeping the competitive spirit alive.
Pogo: Speaking of competitive, Neal and I love to play Monopoly every chance we get making Pogo.com a perfect website for us. It’s a free online gaming site that allows for us to both login and play a killer game of Monopoly. We will typically have a video chat at the same time… that way the winner can properly gloat.
Texting: Texting internationally would normally cost a fortune but Neal downloaded an app that allows for him to send text messages (unlimited) to my American number. It puts us right at one anothers fingertips (literally) at any moment.
Telephone Calls: Neal has signed up for a cell phone plan and phone that allows him to make international calls to three pre-selected telephone numbers. It costs about $15 per month, but it allows for us to chat when the internet isn’t accessible.
Letters/Cards: I try to write a hand written letter or card to Neal on a weekly basis. I tell him about my day, how much I miss him… or simply how much I love him. (That’s what a love letter is all about, right?)
Whew. Looking at all the tools and technology Neal and I use to communicate looks overwhelming and exhausting. But not for us. We’ve added these tools in order to be as flexible as we try to create as normal of a relationship for the two of us… even against 5,000 miles.
I hope these pieces of technology give any of you out there in a LDR some new ideas on how to communicate. Did I miss one of your favorites? I’d like to hear it, feel free to post a comment below!