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How do you keep up contact with friends in the UK?

(12 Posts)
Simic Wed 25-May-11 10:24:46

I am living abroad and am really struggling to keep contact with friends at home. With two small kids and two jobs, it seems hard enough to visit the (partly quite aged) grandparents, let alone to visit friends who are spread across the UK.
Do you manage to visit everyone every now and then? - how do you keep the costs and the stress down?

LeMousquetaireAnonyme Wed 25-May-11 10:31:20

No I don't manage at all sad, when back we barely have time for friends.
If I could afford it I would set up a party in advance and meet most of them there. May be somewhere easy to reach for all not necessarily where you lived.
The single childless ones usually come to visit.
But then my case is more complicated as DH and me are from different country and both our parents are divorced and living in different regions, and we both travel a lot so our friends are all over the world.
<marking my place if anybody as a very clever idea>

Simic Wed 25-May-11 10:42:40

We have the same that we are from different countries so we have a long journey to different places for each set of grandparents - luckily our parents are not divorced but dh's father could do with much more care from us (mid 80s) so visiting him always takes priority.

MmeLindor. Wed 25-May-11 10:45:20

I email rather than phone, because it is easier to do in a spare moment.

When we go home, I email everyone in advance and tell them that we will be at <place> on <day> at <time> and would love to see them there.

Nowadays this is likely to be a park or playbarn type place, it used to be pubs.

I have been an expat for near on 20 years and have learned that it is impossible to keep up with everyone. There are friends who will travel an hour or so to come to a central meeting point, and those who won't.

You need to be a bit selfish with your time though, otherwise you spend your entire holiday running around the UK visiting people. It makes for a miserable time, and you need a break to recharge your batteries.

Or you invite folk to come and stay with you occasionally.

TanteRose Wed 25-May-11 10:48:37

its difficult - I've been out of the UK for 20 years too, now, and have got in contact with a few people through FB.

I only visit people who live near my parents, which is where we go and stay when we are in the UK...

I live too far away from the UK for most people to visit me, and only go back once every 1 or 2 years.

sunnydelight Thu 26-May-11 00:41:24

I recently flew back from Oz to visit family in Ireland and had the luxury of 5 nights in the UK to see friends. I chose to see the people who had actually kept in touch with me during the four years I've been away. There were lots of people it would have been nice to see, but that would have taken time from my "real" friends. I had an absolute ball and felt that by clearly prioritizing spending as much time as possible with a few people I really strengthened those relationships (which will hopefully last for another couple of years until I get a chance to go back again). I should have seen DH's brother and family but, you know what, they can't be arsed to ever pick up the phone or even send an e-mail so I wasn't going to waste a precious evening on them. Be brutal grin

MrsShrekTheThird Thu 26-May-11 01:01:19

good friend lives in France, her parents live in Scotland.
So on every trip to the UK she intentionally takes several days to get there (with her three small dd's) and stays overnight with various friends and relatives on her way up the UK - she has it sorted imho. And very lucky to have neatly spread out friends and cousins wink and get cheap ferry crossings!!

Simic Fri 27-May-11 07:45:05

Thanks everyone for all your ideas - I will have to try them out. It has also given me a push to get on the phone again!

TheBride Fri 27-May-11 10:42:12

First of all, accept that some people are just going to drift off- that's life. These tend to be (in my experience) people you were "life stage" friends with- colleagues, mothers of your children's friends etc. As SunnyD says, you need to cull.

When I go back to the UK I always have a hire car and just try to do as much visiting as time allows- have a travel cot and travel high chair I store at mum's so I can visit friends who don't have that sort of stuff. A lot of my friends also have babies so that makes it easier.

Also, my M&D still live where I grew up, so I see quite a lot of my old school friends, some of whom I only got back in touch with via FB, after I left the UK. It's been really nice.

MrIC Sun 29-May-11 18:40:20

Skype. Facebook.

Then spending a month in the summer driving between Cornwall and the Cotswolds, visiting those friends that live in between.

It hasn't been too hard actually. Without being too callous, moving around a lot tells you rather quickly who your real friends are - those who bother to stay in touch and/or come and visit/invite you to stay.

Portofino Sun 29-May-11 19:42:46

I do mainly Skype and FB. My family/friends are widely spread so it makes visiting a bit problematic. Lots come to visit but as we are in Brussels it's not so far from the UK. We normally go back a few times a year, but we both work FT and dd has parties and activities at the weekends, so generally weekends are OUR catch up time in the house etc.

Portofino Sun 29-May-11 19:44:54

I refuse to spend my summer holiday trailing round the UK though visiting people. I really NEED to be able to bugger all for a couple of weeks.

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