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Long Distance Love Birds! This Is How Your Screen Help You Stay Sweet Across the Sea!

Long Distance Love Birds! This Is How Your Screen Help You Stay Sweet Across the Sea!

Relationships can be hard to maintain especially once it gets to the stage where you both get comfortable. Standards may slip or you both could start taking each other for granted. While this can be fixed in a conventional relationship, for those in long distance relationships, this could threaten the union all the more.

Long Distance Relationship Equals to Dead-End Street?

Long distance relationships usually have a bad rep. If you’re in one right now, I’m sure many people have given you their widely-agreed-upon opinion that it just won’t last. While a lot of distance relationships don’t tend to work out for a myriad of reasons – namely that both people must be on the same page and committed to each other – many do stand the test of time because both are willing to use the distance well.

As mentioned before, that comfortable stage in a relationship can creep up on you but easily identified and sorted out. However, for a long distance relationship it can be the beginning of the end if couples can’t devote time and creativity to spice things up.

Stay Connected, That’s the Bullseye You Gonna Hit

The key to a successful relationship is the sense of connection you have with one another. Couples create this by sharing experiences, creating memories and building emotional bonds but if you’re physically apart then this can be harder to maintain.

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But the good news is there are ways you can recreate this connection even if you live hundreds of miles away. It’s all about spending your lives together despite physical distance and making effort to communicate in order to spice things up. So try these out to help you feel closer to your partner and keep that connection alive and well.

1. Let Skype Help You Date

When you can’t speak to each other face-to-face, the next best option is to Skype. While this is a brilliant way to keep the communication open, Skyping too often can cause the relationship to go stale which is why setting up occasional date nights can create a sense of, well, being on a date together!

Set certain days and times to catch up with your other half and treat it like a date. Try not to chat about mundane things too much but make the effort to catch up with each other emotionally. Set up a dinner and a glass of wine so it feels like you’re sharing a meal together. Dress up and make yourself look nice – if you treat this like a special date then you’ll both get much more out of it.

2. We Can Laugh At the Same Movie Scenes!

Everyone loves watching a movie with their loved one. While you can’t exactly cuddle up together on the sofa, the next best thing is to both put on the movie at the same time while either talking on the phone or texting each other. Knowing you’re both experiencing the same movie at the same time can bring a certain connection. You can express your thoughts about the film or laugh at the same scenes. It’s all about creating the feeling and experience of being together.

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3. Go Surprise My Love, Packages!

Sending something to your loved one far away shows you really care and even better if it’s a surprise. It shows you’re thinking of them and strengthens that emotional connection and bond. So why not get food delivered from their favourite local restaurant? Or send them a care package full of their favourite snacks or mementos of your time spent together? If it’s something they’ve mentioned before in passing – something they perhaps miss – throw it in there. This will, again, show you’re thinking about them and putting in that extra effort.

4. Let TV Shows Wire the Two Little Hearts

Don’t you love discussing the latest episode of Game of Thrones or Orange is the New Black? If you have a favourite TV series you both love or decide to start a brand new one, then carve out some time to watch it separately and then chat about it, or as with the movie suggestion, watch it at the same time. This can open more lines of discussion which is important to stop communication getting stale. Having things in common will help you both recognise your connection.

5. Couple App Presents: Your Secret Garden

While texting and calling is great, it’s not always that private. Creating the sense of privacy that you get with a traditional relationship is important psychologically and this can be maintained with the Couple app which allows you to create a space to keep all your interactions in one place. This app builds a private timeline of all your special moments whether it’s video calls, pictures, real-time games as well as other cool features just for the two of you to share.

This is aimed at creating something only the two of you can see and experience together making your relationship feel more special.

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6. Fitness Competition and Who Will Be the Winner?

If you’re both competitive and sporty or just wanting to set some health goals, making a competition out of it can be fun. But the best thing about this is that it’s a long-term project which can be helped along by the motivation you give to each other. This in itself can help you with the mindset that you’re sharing life goals and seeing them through together.

Why not make the next time you see each other your results day? This will give you more determination and motivation to share your hard work with each other.

7. It’s Adventure Time!

It can suck not being able to go out and do things together but in an age where internet is so accessible, now is the best time to spice up a long distance relationship. If you want to go out exploring then you can easily bring your partner with you through the power of social media. Whether it’s Skype, FaceTime, Facebook live, Instagram live or Snapchat, you can record a constant stream of your adventures. So next time you go hiking or exploring a city take your loved one with you, experience it together and bring a sense of closeness to the relationship.

8. A Journal of This Long Love-Journey

Sometimes being in a long distance relationship can force you to find things that connects you spiritually – something that can be pushed to the wayside in a conventional relationship. Journaling is a really good reflection tool and you can make this a great way to strengthen that connection for both of you as well as personally.

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Each of you take it in turn to record your life every other day. When you get together you’ll have a really great account of your separate lives coming together and see how they intertwine too. Reading over this will show you that even though you may be physically apart, you are spiritually together.

9. Let’s Have a Throw-Back Thursday, Darling

Put aside a certain day of the week where you devote some time recalling special memories you’ve shared together. Reminding yourselves of the reasons why you’ve chosen each other as that special person is really important and often lost once you live apart. It’s all about keeping it alive in our minds which will prevent that feeling of distance from creeping in – a problem that is often the cause of long distance break ups.

10. Find Your Honey – You Are the Real Surprise!

One of the best things you can do especially if you’re in a trusted and committed relationship, is to arrange a surprise visit. Check with friends and family about their schedules and turn up unannounced. Knowing you made that effort and getting to see you will strengthen your relationship all the more.

Long distance relationships don’t have to be as hard as people say they are. It requires a lot of effort and imagination to keep a relationship fresh when there’s no physical connection but try out these suggestions and make your relationship stronger despite the miles between you.

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More by this author

Jenny Marchal

A passionate writer who loves sharing about positive psychology.

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Published on May 18, 2021

How To Improve Listening Skills For Effective Workplace Communication

How To Improve Listening Skills For Effective Workplace Communication

We have two ears and one mouth for a reason—effective communication is dependent on using them in proportion, and this involves having good listening skills.

The workplace of the 21st century may not look the same as it did before COVID-19 spread throughout the world like wildfire, but that doesn’t mean you can relax your standards at work. If anything, Zoom meetings, conference calls, and the continuous time spent behind a screen have created a higher level of expectations for meeting etiquette and communication. And this goes further than simply muting your microphone during a meeting.

Effective workplace communication has been a topic of discussion for decades, yet, it is rarely addressed or implemented due to a lack of awareness and personal ownership by all parties.

Effective communication isn’t just about speaking clearly or finding the appropriate choice of words. It starts with intentional listening and being present. Here’s how to improve your listening skills for effective workplace communication.

Listen to Understand, Not to Speak

There are stark differences between listening and hearing. Listening involves intention, focused effort, and concentration, whereas hearing simply involves low-level awareness that someone else is speaking. Listening is a voluntary activity that allows one to be present and in the moment while hearing is passive and effortless.[1]

Which one would you prefer your colleagues to implement during your company-wide presentation? It’s a no-brainer.

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Listening can be one of the most powerful tools in your communication arsenal because one must listen to understand the message being told to them. As a result of this deeper understanding, communication can be streamlined because there is a higher level of comprehension that will facilitate practical follow-up questions, conversations, and problem-solving. And just because you heard something doesn’t mean you actually understood it.

We take this for granted daily, but that doesn’t mean we can use that as an excuse.

Your brain is constantly scanning your environment for threats, opportunities, and situations to advance your ability to promote your survival. And yet, while we are long past the days of worrying about being eaten by wildlife, the neurocircuitry responsible for these mechanisms is still hard-wired into our psychology and neural processing.

A classic example of this is the formation of memories. Case in point: where were you on June 3rd, 2014? For most of you reading this article, your mind will go completely blank, which isn’t necessarily bad.

The brain is far too efficient to retain every detail about every event that happens in your life, mainly because many events that occur aren’t always that important. The brain doesn’t—and shouldn’t—care what you ate for lunch three weeks ago or what color shirt you wore golfing last month. But for those of you who remember where you were on June 3rd, 2014, this date probably holds some sort of significance to you. Maybe it was a birthday or an anniversary. Perhaps it was the day your child was born. It could have even been a day where you lost someone special in your life.

Regardless of the circumstance, the brain is highly stimulated through emotion and engagement, which is why memories are usually stored in these situations. When the brain’s emotional centers become activated, the brain is far more likely to remember an event.[2] And this is also true when intention and focus are applied to listening to a conversation.

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Utilizing these hard-wired primitive pathways of survival to optimize your communication in the workplace is a no-brainer—literally and figuratively.

Intentional focus and concentrated efforts will pay off in the long run because you will retain more information and have an easier time recalling it down the road, making you look like a superstar in front of your colleagues and co-workers. Time to kiss those note-taking days away!

Effective Communication Isn’t Always Through Words

While we typically associate communication with words and verbal affirmations, communication can come in all shapes and forms. In the Zoom meeting era we live in, it has become far more challenging to utilize and understand these other forms of language. And this is because they are typically easier to see when we are sitting face to face with the person we speak to.[3]

Body language can play a significant role in how our words and communication are interpreted, especially when there is a disconnection involved.[4] When someone tells you one thing, yet their body language screams something completely different, it’s challenging to let that go. Our brain immediately starts to search for more information and inevitably prompts us to follow up with questions that will provide greater clarity to the situation at hand. And in all reality, not saying something might be just as important as actually saying something.

These commonly overlooked non-verbal communication choices can provide a plethora of information about the intentions, emotions, and motivations. We do this unconsciously, and it happens with every confrontation, conversation, and interaction we engage in. The magic lies in the utilization and active interpretation of these signals to improve your listening skills and your communication skills.

Our brains were designed for interpreting our world, which is why we are so good at recognizing subtle nuances and underlying disconnect within our casual encounters. So, when we begin to notice conflicting messages between verbal and non-verbal communication, our brain takes us down a path of troubleshooting.

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Which messages are consistent with this theme over time? Which statements aren’t aligning with what they’re really trying to tell me? How should I interpret their words and body language?

Suppose we want to break things down even further. In that case, one must understand that body language is usually a subconscious event, meaning that we rarely think about our body language. This happens because our brain’s primary focus is to string together words and phrases for verbal communication, which usually requires a higher level of processing. This doesn’t mean that body language will always tell the truth, but it does provide clues to help us weigh information, which can be pretty beneficial in the long run.

Actively interpreting body language can provide you with an edge in your communication skills. It can also be used as a tool to connect with the individual you are speaking to. This process is deeply ingrained into our human fabric and utilizes similar methods babies use while learning new skills from their parents’ traits during the early years of development.

Mirroring a person’s posture or stance can create a subtle bond, facilitating a sense of feeling like one another. This process is triggered via the activation of specific brain regions through the stimulation of specialized neurons called mirror neurons.[5] These particular neurons become activated while watching an individual engage in an activity or task, facilitating learning, queuing, and understanding. They also allow the person watching an action to become more efficient at physically executing the action, creating changes in the brain, and altering the overall structure of the brain to enhance output for that chosen activity.

Listening with intention can make you understand your colleague, and when paired together with mirroring body language, you can make your colleague feel like you two are alike. This simple trick can facilitate a greater bond of understanding and communication within all aspects of the conversation.

Eliminate All Distractions, Once and for All

As Jim Rohn says, “What is easy to do is also easy not to do.” And this is an underlying principle that will carry through in all aspects of communication. Distractions are a surefire way to ensure a lack of understanding or interpretation of a conversation, which in turn, will create inefficiencies and a poor foundation for communication.

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This should come as no surprise, especially in this day in age where people are constantly distracted by social media, text messaging, and endlessly checking their emails. We’re stuck in a cultural norm that has hijacked our love for the addictive dopamine rush and altered our ability to truly focus our efforts on the task at hand. And these distractions aren’t just distractions for the time they’re being used. They use up coveted brainpower and central processes that secondarily delay our ability to get back on track.

Gloria Mark, a researcher at UC Irvine, discovered that it takes an average of 23 minutes and 15 seconds for our brains to reach their peak state of focus after an interruption.[6] Yes, you read that correctly—distractions are costly, error-prone, and yield little to no benefit outside of a bump to the ego when receiving a new like on your social media profile.

Meetings should implement a no-phone policy, video conference calls should be set on their own browser with no other tabs open, and all updates, notifications, and email prompt should be immediately turned off, if possible, to eliminate all distractions during a meeting.

These are just a few examples of how we can optimize our environment to facilitate the highest levels of communication within the workplace.

Actions Speak Louder Than Words

Effective communication in the workplace doesn’t have to be challenging, but it does have to be intentional. Knowledge can only take us so far, but once again, knowing something is very different than putting it into action.

Just like riding a bike, the more often you do it, the easier it becomes. Master communicators are phenomenal listeners, which allows them to be effective communicators in the workplace and in life. If you genuinely want to own your communication, you must implement this information today and learn how to improve your listening skills.

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Choose your words carefully, listen intently, and most of all, be present in the moment—because that’s what master communicators do, and you can do it, too!

More Tips Improving Listening Skills

Featured photo credit: Mailchimp via unsplash.com

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