As a communication major in college, a professional in corporate communication now and an avid storyteller and writer since I was a kid, communication is obviously something very dear to my heart -- and it's something that I feel very strongly about (and frequently talk about on my blog). It's SO easy to keep in touch with people now through emails, texts, IMs, blogs and phone calls, but it's also easy to forget your manners and slack off a little.
So here are a few ways we can all do better at communicating with our friends and family. Some are pretty obvious -- but there might be some you've never even thought of.
Send a handwritten thank-you note. Sure, it's easy to just send someone a text to say thanks, but a simple, thoughtful note that you mail will never go out of style -- and it will absolutely make someone's day. You can make one or go with an even easier route (and sometimes cuter) and pick up a pack of 10 at Michael's. Even though I now try to make my own cards whenever possible, I couldn't pass up the sailboat cards they had over the summer. SO cute.
Respond to voicemails right after you listen to them (if possible). OK, there are some voicemails that you don't need to respond to -- like when your dad, who doesn't understand the concept of voicemail, just leaves a message saying, "It's your dad. Call me." But if someone is trying to get a hold of you, be respectful and call them back as soon as you can. Make it a habit, if you only check voicemail once a day, to set aside time to follow up with people.
Respond to important texts within 24 hours. Texts are meant for those times when a) you don't want to/can't call someone and b) you need an answer quickly. If you can, try to text people back within a few hours so that they know you're alive -- or just give them a call if you're not much of a texter (like me).
Be a follower. Sometimes it really is OK to be a follower -- of a blog, that is. If your family members or close friends (or even people you don't know in real life but admire from afar) have a blog, become a follower! Not only do you get updates on this blog each time you log in, but you let them know that you want to keep in touch with them. This is also a great way to get other people to follow your own blog.
Comment on your friends' blogs -- and even on blogs you find out of the blue. I wasn't always great at commenting on blogs, especially if I didn't know the writer outside of the internet. But I've found that commenting on posts that speak to you is a great way to make new friends! One blogger I follow, Melissa, is so sweet that she actually responds to my comments personally via email. I love it! Her great example has inspired me to respond to comments and to share more comments with others. I like to think of it as giving someone feedback after they've shared something with you, just like you would in real life.
Those are my tips. What have I missed? How do you stay in touch best with your friends and family?