Grab Bag: Long Distance Relationships

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Grab Bag

 

No one really gave me a topic this past week, so I was not sure what to write about today. I asked some people, and one of them suggested I write about long distance relationships and my thoughts on them. However, this subject has been one of stress for me lately, so I don’t really feel like thinking about it all that much today. Maybe next week…

In the meantime, please, please give me some topics for Grab Bag posts. If no one participates, I will have nothing to write every Saturday!

In lieu of writing about my thoughts and feelings, I have decided to stick with the topic of long distance relationships, but am going to put a twist on the idea. This post is for those of you who are in (or may one day be in) a long distance relationship. Below are the top ten programs, technologies, or other items that will help make your long distance relationship work.

10. Internet- yes this one is the lowest on the list but is absolutely necessary in my opinion. It just holds so many opportunities, that I won’t even list pros and cons here. Be creative- figure out ways to use it to your advantage all on your own! (Yes, by this point I am starting to run out of ideas- I started with #1 since it was easier to come up with the best items first.)

9. Travel Companies- This is a given, but is low on the list because it costs a lot of money to travel. If you are a student, try Amtrak for discounted rates if their tracks run between you and your s.o.

Pros: You can see each other in person! Yay!

Cons: We’ve all traveled, do I need to explain?

8. Specialty stores online, such as Think Geek. Find something that you both have in common and do some “shopping” together. You don’t even have to buy anything!

Pros: Learn more about the person you are with; get great gift ideas without them even knowing; try picking the ugliest or craziest product out of a category and get some pretty good laughs just because you can!

Cons: Not suggested for shopaholics or people who have their credit cards handy.

7. Books! If you think this one is crazy, hear me out. There is nothing better than laying down and listening to your s.o. read you a story before you fall asleep.

Pros: You are doing something together; this is one experience that you can share regardless of how far apart you are, without technology being the main base; great for those days when you are sick, exhausted, etc.

Cons: Well you can’t cuddle or anything like that, and unless you both own the same book, there’s no such thing as taking turns reading.

6. An unlimited data, talk, and text plan. My personal suggestion: Boost Mobile’s shrinking monthly plan. By the end you can pay 40 bucks a month for unlimited everything, including up to 2.5GB per month of 4G speed data.

Pros: Ability to talk to anyone, anywhere, anytime; ability to share photos or videos; normally GPS capable; Internet access for during travel or when your Internet crashes and you were just having the most important conversation ever!

Cons: Who ever thought we would pay this much for a phone?; normal cell phone glitches according to which plan, phone, or company you choose to go with.

5. For gifts (especially for the lady), try ProFlowers.

Pros: Fairly inexpensive considering the price you can pay for some flowers; vases are often included with the flowers; each flower arrives in bud form so that they will bloom in front of your eyes and live longer!

Cons: There are many complaints on the Internet of different situations that are negative, but you can research those on your own. I’ve never had any problems!

4. I’m a big fan of Facebook, and not just for my relationship. It is the best way to stay in touch with anyone who does not live down the street or for those you don’t see all the time!

Pros: Ability to share photos, videos, and messages to friends; half decent privacy settings (but you have to be careful how you set them up); ability to share interests such as movies, books, hobbies, etc.; the ability to play free games online (without download) with friends; private chat options; a calendar of “events” where you can plan meetings, parties, etc.

Cons: Privacy settings must be set correctly or other people will be able to see your information; Facebook also updates/changes their appearance and abilities on a fairly normal basis which can be annoying to some.

3. If you are into games, Battle.net offers multiple games for your electronic device. Possibly the most popular game included is World of Warcraft.

Pros: Free up to a certain level for each game; ability to create a friend’s list and interact with other people; quests can be completed as a group (so you can play with your s.o.) or you can compete against them to see who will finish a task first; share clothing, supplies, etc. with your friends

Cons: Must be downloaded to your device before use (no charge applies for the dl); Goes down for maintenance every once in a while, but not for too many hours at a time; a monthly fee applies for higher levels and abilities; other products must be bought as well (but are not necessary for game success)

2. Try using Hulu, the best (and easiest) way to watch shows and movies together.

Pros: Free access to many shows, including some that are not shown on TV; no download required; plays directly from your Internet browser and can be used on multiple devices; sometimes allows for the user to skip commercials to save time (and boredom); keeps track of all of your previously watched shows and episodes; picks up where you left off if the Internet crashes or you have to stop halfway through a show and come back to it another time.

Cons: Commercial breaks are not always broadcast on two devices at the same time (having a perfect sync with another person is difficult); some services are fee-based, but their monthly rate is fairly low if you are interested.

1. Finally, the absolute best resource I have found thus far, Skype. This program is absolutely free and allows you to have unlimited chat and video call with anyone else who has the same program.

Pros: Unlimited visual access, free audio calls, the ability to type, file sharing from your computer, the ability to use via PC, Mac, or Smartphone.

Cons: If your Internet access is slow, glitchy, etc. you may often lose calls or have trouble connecting them in the first place; your username is published so that other people can try to chat you at any point, but there is a privacy setting that allows you to block unknown users. (None of your private information is shared.)

Good luck!

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