Long-Distance Love: Five Tips for Maintaining a Long-Distance Relationship

by Jessica Gregory

Just because you’re far apart, doesn’t mean you have to be apart.

It seems to be that time again. Midterms are over and we’ve settled into our routines for the year. We’re juggling classes, work, clubs, friends, and, if you’re like me, a long distance relationship. How in the world can we manage to keep that alive?

I won’t lie to you: long-distance relationships are challenging, but with these simple tips, you can handle the distance (and have a life where you are!).

Get in Touch with Your Emotions.

The physical element won’t always be there, so you will ultimately be forced to convey affection through words, gifts, and body language through the screen. Being aware of how you feel and accepting it will help you be honest about your role in the relationship. Amp up the emotional connection to whatever level you and your partner are comfortable with— show them that you care and send hugs with your words.

Talk, Talk, Talk!

If “short-distance” relationships need communication, long-distance ones need even more. We’re in a day and age where smart phones and social media make communication a whole lot more accessible, so use them! Send short updates about your life via your chosen social medium as often as you can, ask about theirs, and don’t forget those cute heart emoticons from time to time. Communication will bring their life and yours together and will also help in maintaining honesty and trust between you two. And please, don’t forget that it is absolutely okay to have a disagreement with your long-distance S.O. It won’t automatically ruin your relationship—in fact, it can make it stronger!

Spend Time Together (Even if You’re Not Together).

Guess what? You can go on dates long-distance. Time differences can sometimes make this harder, but you can still do it. For example, watch the same movie either together or separately, then talk about it. Perhaps join an online chatroom together, compete in little game competitions (we all love a good game once in a while), eat dinner while vid-chatting, or pick a DIY project and compare results. Get creative! You may have to sacrifice some time with your friends to be with them, but it is a necessary sacrifice if you want to keep that flame going.

Remember that it’s YOUR Relationship.

So many people will give you well-meaning advice. So many people will throw statistics at you on the success rate of your relationship or ask you how you can handle the lack of physical contact or tell you exactly why you aren’t being “smart”. Filter those voices out, because listening to those who aren’t in your relationship has its limits. Okay, so they’ve been through it before, but their relationship, no matter how similar, IS NOT yours. Their relationship’s failure does not spell doom for yours any more than their success means the same for you. You can talk every day or once a week if that’s what your relationship needs. You can visit every month or once every two years if that’s what you want. The relationship belongs to you and your S.O. and no one else, so enjoy and spread the love!

Jessica Gregory is a sophomore at Barnard and a staff writer for The Nine Ways of Knowing. She is in a long-distance relationship with her boyfriend of three years who attends Virginia Commonwealth University.

Image courtesy of The Root.

How to Have a Great Valentine’s Day 2014

by Molly Scott

Make this your love boat.

I think it’s safe to say that people generally either love or hate Valentine’s Day. The madness of the “holiday” has already begun in most stores (proof: half of Duane Reade has been taken over by red and pink heart-shaped goodies). No matter what your opinion is, we’ve created a list of some things to do with your significant other, your friends, and other fun picks to make your February 14th the best it’s ever been!

Go out and enjoy it! Whether you’re going out with your partner or a group of friends, Valentine’s Day falls on a Friday night so get out and have fun. If you’re looking for a romantic location, TimeOut New York has come up with the best cheap romantic restaurants in NYC. The list includes: Corsino, El Quinto Pino, Esperanto, Kashkaval, Le Barricou, Mesa Coyoacan, Moustache, and Northern Spy Food Co.

Take a free ride on the Staten Island Ferry. Bundle up and take the 1 Train all the way down to South Ferry – the terminal is literally right there. It’s a free ride and the views of Manhattan and the Statue of Liberty are beautiful (and oh so romantic too). Check the schedule for departures.

Go bowling! This is a great activity for both a group of friends and as a couple. Some bowling alleys in Manhattan include Bowlmor, Lucky Strike, and Frames, and they have restaurants and bars too! Be sure to make a reservation ASAP though (they fill up quickly).

Host a Galentine’s Day! On Thursday night, February 13, honor Leslie Knope’s brilliant idea of Galentine’s Day by celebrating your amazing girlfriends with a gathering that features tons of food! It’s a fun way to appreciate one another and take your mind off Valentine’s Day in general.

Go wild with the desserts and sweets. If all else fails (or even if it doesn’t), dessert is always a good idea. TimeOut New York also came out with a list of amazing NYC bakeries that carry delicious Valentine’s Day treats: Baked by Melissa, Jacques Torres Chocolate, MacarOn Café, Billy’s Bakery (a personal favorite of mine), La Maison du Chocolat, and Max Brenner. There’s also Mondel Chocolates only a few blocks away. Last resort – there’s a ton of candy and chocolate being sold at pharmacies everywhere.

Molly Scott is a junior at Barnard and Senior Editor of The Nine Ways of Knowing.

Image courtesy of Wikipedia.

Celebrating Valentine’s Day Alone

by Mariah Castillo

Show someone you love them! Doesn’t have
to be a significant other.

Today is the day that many singles dread, or even deny exists.

That’s right, it’s Valentine’s Day.

Ladies and gentlemen, do NOT panic. You can be single and still have a good day—you just have to think of V-Day a little differently. If you treat it as a day of love, then at the very least, love yourself!

You’re single for a variety of reasons, but if you don’t love yourself, you won’t be able to love someone else. Treat yourself right! Appreciate the status of being free from the hassle of making this holiday special for someone else.

You can:

  • Stay inside. It’s the middle of February. In the New York, there’s not much you can do without bracing the cold at some point. Go read that book you’ve been wanting to. Get your mug of tea or hot cocoa and watch a series marathon on your laptop.
  • Probably the biggest way to appreciate being single is to avoid the couple’s hot spots. Don’t eat out by yourself on that day. Seriously, you won’t be able to eat when the people in the table across from you are showing some serious PDA.
  • Meet up with your friends. If you really want to eat out, bring a few single friends. That way you all can make fun of the extreme PDA happening right across from you. You can even stay in and cook a meal together and celebrate your lack of attachment.
    • 75% off tomorrow at Duane Reade. 
      That’s what I call a WIN!

  • Wait for the chocolate to go on sale, since holiday candies are usually much cheaper after theholiday has passed. It might make the candy a little sweeter knowing you’re enjoying it at half price.
  • Spread the love! Leave a sign on your door telling passersby that they are beautiful. You can even go back to your elementary school roots and give out Valentine’s to everyone in your floor or hallway. Single or not, they’ll appreciate it!
  • Try treating it as another Thursday night. Some of you might have classes on Fridays, so spend it studying or writing that essay. If you party on Thursdays, and if you don’t mind seeing a lot little PDA, party on V-Day.

Regardless of your relationship status, take Valentine’s Day as a day to celebrate love. It gets touted as a day for couples (though honestly, if you’re in a relationship, shouldn’t everyday be like Valentine’s Day?), but there are other ways to make this day not like the Singles’ Apocalypse. Don’t let your relationship status define you. You are your own person, and being with another person should not make up your whole self. Take V-Day as a day to love yourself and to share that sentiment with others.

To See You Smile: An Interview with Columbia Compliments

This Thanksgiving, The Nine Ways blog staff knows what we’re thankful for: Columbia Compliments.

When Columbia Compliments first went public last Tuesday, we were overjoyed to see such a phenomenally kind-hearted endeavor going around and making everyone feel warm and fuzzy. But, really it’s so much more than that. Over five hundred compliments and three thousand Facebook friends later, Columbia Compliments has shown that the love-devoid feeling commonly felt on our campus is not due to a lack of good-natured people. We’re so excited to look out for the influence that Columbia Compliments will have on our community by broadcasting the love and kindness of all these wonderful people and their complimenters!
We knew we had to get to know the people behind the Facebook page a little better (if not just to try to become their best friends), and we’ve come to realize that the people running Columbia Compliments are just as selfless and benevolent as you could imagine. Read this interview, and then go compliment and/or thank someone for making campus a better place!

Spreading the love

For those that don’t know, what is Columbia Compliments, and how does it work?

Columbia Compliments is a social project that aims to spread love, see people smile, and ultimately make this world a better place.

Inbox a compliment that you may have about a friend, an acquaintance, or about anyone that you’d like to say something nice about. Columbia Compliments will then post the compliment anonymously, and allow the magic to unfold.

What inspired you to make Columbia Compliments?

We have been thinking about this idea for a while. It just felt like the right time. Midterms just finished (for most people), and a lot of people aren’t as content with their results as they would like to be. It’s just so pleasing to see people walk around with a smile on their faces.

Personally, what is the most rewarding part of running the page? What impact do you think that this will have on the Columbia University community?

The most rewarding part is to see the smile on a recipient’s face when they first read their compliment. It’s unlike anything else, really.

We come from a diverse background, and we represent the minority at Columbia that is not as often stressed as the rest of the study body. Yes, this place can be tough at times, but we understand the value of truly enjoying columbia without being stressed the whole time. This page will allow members of this community to realize that the potential for a smile or a laugh does exist, even at a place like Columbia.

Go and tell someone how much they mean to you!

What is the best compliment that you’ve seen (or any personal favorite)?

Honestly, there are just so many phenomenal comments that it’s hard to pick just one.

Are there any conditions under which you won’t post a compliment?

We won’t post it if it’s not something positive about someone else.

I saw that you are looking for people to help you post compliments. How much time does running the page take?

Honestly, it’s so satisfying, that it’s hard to put attach a number next to something like this. It takes a good amount of time, but it is time that couldn’t possibly be spent in any better way.

Do you see Columbia Compliments fading out in the future (like college memes), or do you think that it’s here for good?

The word about this initiative is yet to get to as many people as we want. Once it gets to a larger audience, we hope that one’s compliments will urge others to send in compliments as well — expanding the overall reach of this project. We like to believe that Compliments, or at least this idea of promoting wellness through certain projects, is here for good. We hope to innovate in ways that will allow the goal of this project to be fulfilled through the different paths that this project may take in the near future. Keep your eyes open!