rebelling against low expectations

How do you build a long-distance relationship?

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KATIE WRITES: I have had a couple of chances to create friendships with people that I may see once a year, once a life, or never. I’ve met them mainly through TeenPact (homeschoolers, check it out: teenpact.com). We also sponsor a girl I occasionally write letters to.

I am no good with relationships. I have two “close” friends, and that’s about it. When I meet someone really nice, and I want to be their friend, but we live no where near each other, how am I suppose to build and maintain a relationship?

Most people seem to communicate through texting, but I don’t text. I do have an email address, but I have no clue what I would say. You could probably guess that I’m a quiet person.

How can you be a friend to someone you may never see in person more than once? What do you talk about, and how do you stay connected? Thanks for any help!


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  • Hey Katie!
    I can be a quiet person like you… but over the years I had one friend, whom I never met, that I talk to via letters or email. πŸ™‚
    We talk about all kinds stuff. πŸ™‚ School, our personal lives, our interests, the weather, God, family, holidays and much more.
    Each time I talk to my friend, I talk to my friend as if I was really talking to her in real life.
    Someday I wish to meet her.
    We have a close friendship, and guess what, I met my friend through Club House Magazine pen-pal system 2 or 3 years ago. Since then, we have keep contact.

  • I know how hard this is, Katie. So I will attempt to give you what I have learned from having a close friend moving out to Washington State.

    First off, if you meet the person in person and know you won’t see them again, simply saying, “Hey, you seem really cool. Want to be pen pals?” works pretty well for getting their email address or address. After that, it’s up to you to initiate that relationship.

    Consistency is huge. If you get a letter/email back relatively soon, you’re in pretty good shape. Don’t always wait for them to write you back. Sometimes life happens and you just forget, but then are pleasantly surprised and reminded by a letter from someone else. There was a point when my friend and I were emailing each other every day or every other day. I promise you don’t have to be that dedicated for everyone.

    You asked what to write about. What would you tell your two good friends about if they were sitting next to you and you hadn’t seen them in two weeks? Stuff about your siblings, your parents, your activities, a funny story that might have happened, what God is teaching you right now, what your sermon was on in church, your hobbies, a new band that you really like, whatever. And then keep writing about all of that. It may feel a little stilted at first, but eventually you get inside jokes and a really good relationship through those letters.

    Oh, and if you want a little more connection, chat or IMing(old term, I know) works pretty well. And obviously there’s a good old phone call now and again.

    Long distance relationships are hard. They take consistency, dedication, and a willingness to sit down and write letters. It’s really up to you to make it happen. Not everyone will be a good long-distance friend, but you’ll eventually find someone who wants a pen pal and will write you back.

    • I actually have 2 pen pals, I stopped writing one of them a year or so ago, I’m not sure why, but she just stopped writing, I keep up with my other one online most of the time now, but we still write each other every now and then. I haven’t seen her in almost 4 years but we’re still great friends. πŸ™‚ But I’ve lost a lot of friends because I’ve never got contact info from them, which I should probably start doing when I meet people… πŸ™‚

    • Those are some good pointers, thanks. It’s difficult for me to take that step from just being an acquaintance, to an actual friendship. Relationships are definitely a hard thing I should work on more.

  • IT’S ANOTHER TEENPACTER!!! πŸ˜€ Let me tell you–I TOTALLY understand what you mean about seeing awesome people only once a year or so. While I know you said you don’t really text/email, this is what I do and how I use those (and other things) to keep up a long distance relationship.

    1. I email them. Some questions I ask to start discussion may be, “What’s going on in your life right now?” or “What has God been teaching you recently?” or “What are some of your favorite Bible verses or song lyrics?’

    2. I text a little bit (I’m not a big texter either). That’s mostly to keep in touch and rejoice with them about good things happening (for example, “I got my driver’s license today!”), or ask for prayer requests.

    3. I call them. This is for my best, best friends in TeenPact. I only do this with a couple people, but I always REALLY enjoy these phone calls!

    4. Whenever I DO see them, I make it a point to have a meal together–just the two of us–and talk about life and go deeper. It’s always SUPER refreshing and bonding!

    This is what I do with long distance relationships. I have a hard time doing “shallow” long distance relationships (so much effort), but the ones where both of us take time to go deep are SO WORTH it. πŸ™‚ Hope that helps some!

    • I wondered if there would be any other TeenPacters on here! TeenPact and the Rebelution go hand-in-hand if you ask me.
      I should probably try emailing my long-distance friends, my friend does that to contact her TeenPact friends, but I’ve never tried. Not sure why.
      Thanks for the help!

  • “Most people seem to communicate through texting, but I don’t text”

    Honestly? Texting is the A-Number-One way to get to know someone long-distance. If you’re really interested in maintaining/making long-distance friendships, you should invest in a phone that can text. Or even better, you can text for free at textnow.com on a computer, I believe. =) On Revive, I’ve met several people that live far away, and swapping numbers is the best way to get to know them. Emailing is second, (this reminds me I have one from a Revive friend that I need to answer lol) but it’s not as quick and conversation-esque as texting is. As far as conversational tips go, just ask what you’d ask irl. How are you? If the answer is busy with schoolwork, use that to lead into what they’re studying/what they want to do for a career. Stuff like that. =)

    Hope this helps! =D

  • I’ve only got into talking to people long distance the last year really and I’ve made some great friends but to start with it was really hard but it gets easier. I live in the UK so since most of the friends I have live in the US I don’t use text but I use Skype, Email, or Private Messaging on Revive. There’s lots of things you can say to start a conversation like, What are you reading in the Bible? How’s the weather? What kind of church do you go to? What kind of things to you like doing? How’s your week been?

    • Those are some good questions, I especially like “What are you reading in the Bible?” That could start a whole conversation. Thanks!

  • Email is how I communicated for a long time too. My best advice, is to ask your friends about them. Who doesn’t like to talk about themselves? πŸ™‚ I’m pretty shy as well, so this is the best thing for me. It takes me a long time before I consider someone a “friend.” I have to have known them for quite some time.
    But talking about others makes you a more others-centered person.
    Also talking about spiritual life can be a great tool, if the other person is a believer.
    Hope this helps, Katie! I’ll be praying for you!

  • Everybody else had a ton of good advice…so read their comments.
    My best friend and I write letters to each other to keep in touch because she is not tech-savvy at all. And sometimes sending a letter can get things going because most people appreciate getting something in the mail. Even if you don’t get a physical letter back, it prompts them to get back to you some way. And having stuff to say gets a whole lot easier after the first letter/email/whatever because when they write back you have stuff to respond to! πŸ™‚ ~Anna

  • I haven’t read what anyone else has said so I may be repeating some of what they said.

    All of my friends live a little ways away so emailing, texting, calling and video chatting are the only ways I get to talk to them. Ask things like “how are you?” and “What’d you do today?” both are good convo starters. Next you could do what me and a friend of mine have done. You see he lives kinda far away so we can only talk when we text but we kept having awkward silences. So, I talked to my mom about it and she suggested making a list of topics. Now every few weeks we have to make a new list of topics (We call it brainstorming) and it seems to be working really well. I’m not sure if this is helpful but I thought I’d tell you.

  • My main friends are teens that I have met though BJU distance learning, the online homeschool curriculum I use. While we can talk on the “blog”, lots of us use hangouts and are in the Google+ bju online community that one of the students set up for us. As for takingthe first step, well… The other person was normally the one who said hello first, but their is one girl that had her email address on the blog, so basically I just emailed her saying “Hi, I’m from BJU distance learning. I noticed that you’re in my French class!” It was a terrible introduction, but hey, it’s been two or three months and we email each other like every week. I wouldn’t worry too much about introductions and all that.

    I don’t know if anything that I said is helpful or not, but that’s just my experiences. I’ll have to check out the website you mentioned!

    • I stress about what people think of what I say too much. πŸ™‚ Thanks for help!
      TeenPact is a leadership “school,” that teaches teens about how the political system works and encourages godly leadership. The state class is 4 days long, and there are many alumni events. I think it scares people off when they hear the word “politics,” but believe me, it’s fun, builds your relationship with God, and you get to meet a lot of like-minded teens! I HIGHLY suggest it for anyone who can go!

  • Hey there! =) Sorry I’m late to the game here…and I haven’t read any comments…
    I’m a super outgoing person but something I find with people I’m just getting to know (especially through online or email or letters or soemthing) is to ask a list of questions! =) Just be like, “Hey! We don’t know each other very well, so I though I’d start by asking you some questions!” and aks questions about their family, hobbies, favorites, etc! And then they may ask you to answer the same questions…or you could just do that wihtout them asking that way they know a little about you too. =)

    • My biggest problem is when you get past the first questions. When you know where they live, what they like to do, what their family is like, etc. I have a hard time coming up with something to say. Do you have any tips?

      • Yeah, I understand what you mean!! I guess asking open ended questions always helps…Like instead of saying, “How was your weekend?” and potentially facing a response of “good” and not knowing what to say, say “Tell me about your weekend!” That;s more open ended and requires a longer response … Just exchange stories of your day-to-day life and then after a while it will just become natural. =) Also, asking how you can pray for a person helps bring up good conversation subjects!!
        Does this help some or not really?

      • Hey, sorry to jump in here, but I wanted to give you a tip, too! I struggle with conversation… a lot. πŸ˜‰ But, one thing I find helpful is to find a common interest with the other person. If you ask them what they like to do, and you like it too, you might have more to talk about than you think. Ya know, like, “Oh you play piano? So do I!” And that starts a whole new conversation. Does that make sense? Hope that helps, even a little bit πŸ™‚

        • Sorry for taking so long to reply! Yes, that makes sense, I’ve noticed that as well; it really helps to have some things in common. Thanks!

  • You’re the first TeenPacter I’ve heard on the Rebolution!!!!! If you have a gmail account, you can use this thing called google chats, and its basically texting on a computer. That’s my favorite way.

  • I feel you. I go to VSA and its a online school. Its hard to get to know someone from more than what they say but it is possible. You can ask basic Qs and if you’ve been friends for a long time you could try asking harder deeper Qs. Good luck.

rebelling against low expectations

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