Odds are, your friends are pretty spread out right now. In 2022 it was estimated that there are 230 million people living or working abroad across the globe. Add to this that some 500 million people travel for work or leisure each year, and it’s easy to see that humanity has never been more mobile.
The rise of cheap air travel, and the flexible options for remote working opened up by the internet, mean people have more options for where they want to live than at any point in history. Whereas a hundred years ago, people would still rarely leave their local areas, today it’s commonplace for people to spread their wings and explore new locations – whether that’s to travel, study, work, or otherwise.
And while this is a marvel of the modern age, it does make maintaining friendships with one’s oldest and closest friends challenging at times. Fortunately, while there’s no substitute for meeting in person, there are many creative and fun ways you can maintain a connection with those dear to you, even if they’re thousands of miles away.
In our hyper-connected world, you may wonder why anybody would bother writing letters or sending physical mail. Not only is this more expensive, but it can sometimes take days or weeks to arrive at its intended location – but this is precisely part of its charm nowadays.
When it’s so straight-forward to like a friend’s photo on Instagram, or drop them a message on WhatsApp, we come to take the interaction for granted. This results in a flattening, where you can quickly find yourself relating to your closest friends with the same degree of regularity and familiarity as mere acquaintances.
By taking the time, instead, to write a letter, you’re investing extra time and energy into your relationship with the recipient, and this can strengthen ties even with those whom you chat to every other day online.
There’s also the bonus of being able to send physical items, from favourite snacks to other gifts, photos, or mementos of your friendship. With most of the mail we receive nowadays exclusively junk and utility bills, receiving a special letter from a good friend can make someone’s day and demonstrate how much you value your friendship with them.
Over the past couple of years, people have, by necessity, grown much more familiar with using video conferencing software, such as Zoom, to keep in touch with friends and family. And while it may not deliver an experience equivalent to hanging out with friends in person, in many ways it’s the next best thing.
What’s more, due to the flexibility it offers, many people found that they were better able to carve out time, and space, to join a Zoom call over travelling to meet friends physically. It is for this reason that many people have continued to meet using this format right up to the present day.
Video calls provide an open-ended experience for people, which gives them the freedom to share their time with others in whatever way they see fit. From hosting watch-parties for the latest Netflix show, to cooking together, or even using digital platforms to play online poker with friends, the possibilities are endless.
We tend to undervalue digital forms of connection, and this can prevent us from recognising that any time spent, in whatever way, with the people we cherish, is always time well spent.
Naturally, gaming isn’t to everyone’s preference, but for many people it’s how they choose to unwind. What better opportunity, then, to include your friends from around the world than in this experience?
Whether your chosen gameplay tends more towards Call of Duty or FIFA, many people enjoy playing with their buddies in either cooperative or versus modes on leading online providers such as Xbox Live. Dedicated chat software, like Discord, can even let you chat with several people at once, either in text or voice form, as you play.