What does it mean to “keep in touch?”
“Let’s keep in touch!” is something that you often find written in yearbooks and said at college graduations. You might have also uttered this phrase to a new contact that you met when you were networking at an event.
The phrase “keep in touch” dates back to the 18th century. It was commonly used in military drills that required every soldier to be brushing arms with the soldiers next to him when marching. If he wasn’t in touching distance of the soldiers on either side of him then he was deemed “out of touch.” Nowadays, the phrase is used to remind people to stay in contact with those in their social circles.
You’ll quickly learn that “keeping in touch” means different things to different people. In your community, you may stop to talk to a neighbor or call your friend on the phone to maintain your connection. Students often reach out to each other to organize and participate in study groups and share and gain knowledge. Businesspeople have always known that their leads, clients and customers need regular “touches” in order to maintain and grow a relationship. They know the adage that it is “10 times harder to get a customer than keep an existing customer.”
Facebook and other social media platforms have also changed what keeping a friendship alive requires. With the ability to send out a quick message on social media, there is likely always a way to say hello or thank you to someone who you are thinking about. People sometimes use the abbreviation KIT to mean keep in touch.
How to Keep in Touch
Take Notes to Remind You of Your Last Contact
When you want to be more connected to others that you have met, your first step is likely to remember the last time you made a personal effort to say hello or had a good chat. However, what normally happens is you realize that you have no idea when or what you last talked about. This kind of embarrassing situation is avoidable by using technology that helps you to be more organized without having to remember these details yourself.
You can use Circles, a free mobile app that helps you keep in touch with people. With Circles, you can record each time you’re in contact with someone so that you don’t forget when you saw them or what you talked about last. You can note things such as what conversation was exchanged in your last emails, texts, or phone calls. Having all of this information in one place makes it easier to continue to nurture your relationship with them. The next time you reach out to them or see them you can look at your notes and remind yourself of what you talked about and follow up on those things to show them that you remember and that you care. This helps you to avoid awkward situations like asking what their kids’ names are for the third time.
Send Print Communications With Ease
While technology makes it easy to send a quick text message or comment on a post on social media, it’s definitely not the same or as thoughtful as sending a letter or card. Print communication isn’t as common these days (unless it’s for the holidays or graduations) but it’s a great way to keep in touch. When you’re thinking about someone or know that an important date is coming up, instead of waiting until the last minute to text them, remind yourself ahead of time through Circles. Send them a card and then make sure to record that you sent them a letter and what you said to them. Giving a card or a gift shows that you are thinking about them and care about them.
Maximize Your Meet Ups
Have you ever been traveling and realized that you drove through a place where someone you know is living and you could’ve stopped and visited with them? If you keep better track of where your friends are living, then you can do a better job at reaching out to them when you happen to be in town or passing through. Circles provides a map that shows you where your friends are living (if you have entered their location) that enables you to do this and makes maintaining friendships with long distance friends easier. You can plan ahead and reach out to those friends who you want to see and catch up with and continue to build that relationship.
Follow Your Friends and Family Member’s Social Media Accounts
Facebook and Instagram make it easy to connect with those who we don’t see in person often, however, these social media platforms have also made our form of keeping in touch superficial. You only see what’s going on in people’s lives if they’re posting about it. You show that you saw it by liking or commenting on the post. If you don’t go on social media very often, then you miss what people are posting, so what do you do then?
It’s okay to use social media to keep up on your friend’s lives, but it’s also important to make that personal connection. It can be hard to do that when life is really busy, but you can do more than just clicking “like” on a photo. With Circles, you can set reminders to send out a quick text, card or make a phone call to those you care about. Make time to see your friends in person and take a real photo together. Keeping in touch can be done within a few minutes each day.
Streamline Your Feed
You can also stay up-to-date on what’s happening in your friends’ lives by using the streamline function on the Circles app to simply check in on what others are saying or posting. In the app, you can connect all your contacts to their social media platforms that they have and then see their posts streamlined into their profile. With just a swipe, you can see what your friends are posting. You don’t have to skip through ads or those other accounts that you still follow but don’t know why. This allows you to not miss any events or updates that your friends are posting about so that you don’t miss a beat and can talk to them about it in-person. Just think about how thoughtful you’ll seem when you remember the post a friend shared about a hard time they were going through or congratulate a family member on their new job because you saw it on your InstaZoo.
Use Multiple Forms of Communication
Research shows that if you find multiple ways to communicate in a relationship, you tend to be closer compared to others who only stick to one form of communication. If you are keeping in touch in many different ways, then it helps you to think about someone more and reach out to them more often. If you reach out to others through just one way, like text message, try a different method next time you reach out. Make a phone call or FaceTime them or send a card this time and see what a difference that can make in strengthening your relationship.
For example, instead of sending another email to a long-distance family member you want to share a story with you could make a phone call this time. You can also write a thank you note to someone for the help they gave you on a project instead of sending a text. Keep in mind that the method you use to chat should always be appropriate for the situation. For instance, a FaceTime conversation is better than a text when you need to have a difficult conversation such as telling someone you are sorry for being out of touch for so long.
If you want to better at staying in touch with your friends, family and others in your social circles, now is the time to make it a priority and make a better effort. If you reach out and show others that you care then you will stand out and they will recognize your effort and know that you genuinely care about them. Whether that’s through a phone call, text message, social media, a card or in-person it will mean something special to them. Make sure to use Circles to make keeping in touch easier and watch as your relationships continue to grow and strengthen.