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The 7 Commandments of Long Distance Relationships



how to make long distance work


My name is Cornell Thomas. I’m a speaker, author, and – most importantly – a survivor of the often dreaded long distance relationship. Now before you start calling me Tom Hanks right away, understand that this was NO easy feat.

My wife and I went through several extremely rough patches before we figured out how to make long distance work.

I’m originally from New Jersey, and my wife Melissa is from Washington State, about 50 minutes outside of Seattle. We both attended Minot State University on basketball scholarships. At college, life was good.

We would hangout pretty much everyday and combine our pennies to buy our luxury dinners, which consisted of Raeman Noodles, or anything off the dollar menu from the old golden arches.

Unfortunately, during my senior year, there was a huge elephant in the room. By elephant I mean one the size of Godzilla. You see, I was going back home to pursue my dream of playing professional basketball, while Melissa had one more year left in North Dakota.

What made it even worse was once she was finished with college she was going directly back to Washington State to start her career.


How To Make Long Distance Work: The Real Deal

The first month will always be the honeymoon stage.

You miss each other so much that you don’t want to say or do anything that would make each other upset, or question your relationship. Now if the first month isn’t the honeymoon stage, please STOP reading now and evaluate your relationship.

During our time together at college, Melissa and I rarely argued. I’m super extraverted and she’s a tad introverted. So our “debating” styles were a perfect match. I would say something dumb (because I’m a dude) and she would sit back, take it in, and wait for my brain to come back. I would then apologize, and we were good to go.

It’s amazing how 2,500 miles can change the dynamic of a relationship.

Flash forward a year after Melissa graduated college. You would think that we were practicing for a presidential debate every phone call. We would be arguing on literally the dumbest things you can think of. I will never forget one day when we were arguing, and I just started laughing at how ridiculous we were!

Eventually, after an amazing amount of time, listening, patience – and yes, practice – we were able to figure out the distance. This past May, Melissa and I celebrated our 11th year wedding anniversary.

how to make long distance work

There were times friends, that I didn’t think we would be together for eleven more minutes, let alone married for 11 years with two beautiful children.

But thanks to these ‘commandments’, we knew how to make long distance work. I hope these would also do well for you:


1) Communicate.

Without this tip, none of the other tips matter. Understand ONE very important thing: your significant other is not with you! So when you talk about your day, what happened, etc. give them more detail than a Stephen King novel. As guys, we tend to give amazing insight about our day with such gems like “It was good“. Well, that’s not good enough!


2) Listen.

We are amazing at waiting to talk – but how many of us actually listen? Actively listen to what your partner is telling you. When your girlfriend says something like “I wish we could see each other for Christmas“, make a note of it. Even if you can’t make it out there, maybe you can send her a video on Christmas of you opening her present, or use Facetime with her. Listen, my friends!


3) Tell the jealousy monster to shut the hell up.

Me and my wife had more arguments when we were apart that first two months than we had the two years prior. Why? It’s because of that darn jealous monster. My wife would go to a basketball game with her girlfriends and the monster would make me ask her 10,000 questions from who was there, to why did the referee look at you during the game?

It seems comical to write, but it’s true. And guess what? It’s normal to wonder. Just don’t assume!


4) Never lose your romance.

How to make long distance work? One of the most romantic things you can do is send a personal letter. Yes, those are when you write words on a piece of paper and put it in something called a mailbox. It shows “effort” and that you actually put some time in.

When you open the mailbox and see a letter from someone you miss and love, it means a lot more than getting a bathroom selfie.

how to make long distance work

5) Say sorry and freaking mean it!

You cannot use this technique enough, especially to my guys out there. It’s different when you can drive to see her and hoist a radio over your head playing her favorite song outside of her bedroom window.

But when there is distance between the two of you, she needs to not only hear it, but feel your apology when you’re in the wrong. Quick tip fellas: sometimes, say sorry even when you think you’re right. If she’s a keeper, she will eventually come around and appreciate it.


6) Stop taking score.

If you called her 10 times and she called you nine, STOP thinking that she’s beating you in some weird power game you’ve constructed in your mind. Now if you called her 100 times and she hasn’t called you once, that’s a little different. It might be time to move on – or take care of the restraining order, and then move on.


7) Ask yourself how much you love this person.

Whenever you are feeling like this isn’t working, or you might want something else, ask yourself what life would look like without this person. If the love is true and real, this will snap you back to reality.


How To Make Long Distance Work? Just DO It!

My pep talk is simple. YOU CAN DO IT!!!

Thank you for reading my ‘7 Commandments’ to a successful long distance relationship. Now is this going to guarantee you get married tomorrow and start having little ones? Most likely not.

Long distance relationships, like ALL relationships, take a tremendous amount of work. But in the end – trust me when I say this – if you are in the right one, it’s all worth it.


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7 signs that someone is good for your mental health



someone is good for your mental health

If someone in your circle is mentally healthy, there’s an excellent chance that being around him or her will benefit your mental health as well. It doesn’t matter if we’re talking about a date or a mate, a friend or a colleague.

Emotionally healthy people make light work of relationships and bring out the best in us. As we all know, the opposite is also true: mentally unhealthy people are challenging to be around, make for rocky associations, and cause us undue agitation.

Of course, someone simply having emotional health will not automatically enhance yours. For long-term, close relationships, people need to have values and personality traits that mesh well.

You can’t go wrong in seeking people who embrace the following qualities, which exemplify good mental health:


7 Signs That Someone Is Good for Your Mental Health

1.) They ask you questions about yourself and listen emphatically to your answers.

someone is good for your mental health

For starters, people need to have empathy, or the ability to put themselves in someone else’s shoes. This involves trying to understand what you’re going through, and acknowledging it.

They don’t need to have experienced similar situations or feelings. In fact, they might react differently than you do in any given situation. However, they must be able to express recognition of what you’re feeling. They may move toward understanding by asking appropriate questions and/or by trying to imagine what you’re experiencing.

Empathy is not the same as you describing a frightening experience in Mexico, and a friend relates that she had one in France (unless you feel that what she’s describing mirrors what you were saying or feeling).

If someone listens actively, (i.e. taking in what you’re saying, asking relevant questions to understand your experience), they probably are exhibiting empathy. You know this because it makes you feel understood – one of the most wondrous feelings in the world.


2.) They talk comfortably about their inner world and can be emotionally vulnerable.

Although empathy is important, it’s not enough to enhance your mental health. You also want someone to be able to share his or her experiences and open up to you. That’s how people bond.

No matter how understanding someone is, we feel more comfortable around people who express what’s going on inside them. Someone who simply asks questions often leaves us wondering what they’re hiding, or why they didn’t share much about themselves. Even if they seem to get us, we feel best when we can also make connections.

Of course, folks open up at different rates. Just because someone is shy or cautious doesn’t mean he or she isn’t mentally healthy. Some folks simply take a while to warm up. Other people want to know that you’re interested in finding out more about them. They need to be invited to reveal their more tender emotions.

Whether opening up happens quickly or slowly, you’re bound to feel good when you have an opportunity to accept and give validation. This is what drives us toward intimacy.


3.) They’re honest, accountable, are able to admit their mistakes, and follow through on what they say they’ll do.

someone is good for your mental health

We all need to be able to trust and depend on others. That’s what makes us feel safe and secure.

When this happens, we can relax and be ourselves. People who do what they say they’re going to do create the kind of attachment that helps us let our guard down. We can count on them because we know we won’t be blind-sided or betrayed.

Too many people often get attracted to folks who can’t say they’re wrong or refuse to apologize. This can create the perception that if the other person isn’t wrong, then we must be. This can take a huge toll on our mental health. Not being able to admit mistakes should be a deal-breaker in choosing friends or partners.

Being in a relationship with someone who can say, “oops, my bad” or “my fault” gives you a sense that you’re not defective—at least not any more than the next person. This goes a long way toward contributing to a strong sense of well-being.

When you’re with someone you trust, you can display the least pretty facets of yourself and be confident that they won’t be heading for the hills. That’s because they’re also showing their imperfect side.


4.) They can manage their emotions effectively most of the time.

Everyone loses it once in a while. I know I do. That’s what makes us human. We feel sad, grumpy, angry, bummed out, blue, hurt, apathetic, or stuck in our own sense of righteousness or injustice. But people with good mental health will recognize that this happens to all of us. He or she will try to be curious, not judgmental, when it does.

They have self-compassion – and they sympathize with you when you occasionally get into a funk. Being around someone like this makes us feel that we don’t need to be perfect, walk on eggshells, be frightened of rejection, or abandonment.

We feel best when we live in predictable environments. But these environments also need to be peaceful. If people are generally kind and caring, then we can handle their occasional deviation from the norm.

We know it may happen. But they will soon be their old, lovable selves again. This reinforces our sense of security and our belief that we have chosen a life-enhancing relationship.


5.) They take good care of themselves mentally, emotionally, and physically.

someone is good for your mental health

When others take good care of themselves, we don’t need to do it for them. We are free to pursue our own self-care. This is vital in any kind of meaningful relationship, at home or at work.

If you’re constantly trying to prop up people to improve their physical or mental health, you’re too likely to neglect your own. You’ll soon resent all the energy that’s flowing outward and not inward.

Being around folks who live a healthy lifestyle often makes us want to live one, too. Sometimes, they become role models. Other times, we model good self-care for them and they show their appreciation.

They don’t resent the time we spend on effective self-care, because they understand its necessity. They wouldn’t want it any other way. People who take good care of themselves want to be with others who do the same. This increases pleasure and decreases problems – both individually and in the relationship.


6.) They are comfortable being alone, or being with people.

Being with someone who enjoys being alone or with others, gives us a chance to be similarly well-balanced. If they give us space to do our thing, we want to reciprocate and give them space to do theirs.

This doesn’t mean that someone can’t be mentally healthy as a basic introvert or extrovert. It does mean that they understand that both qualities are valuable in a healthy relationship.

They will try to be accommodating whenever possible. When people can enjoy both alone and social time, it gives a relationship room to breathe. This nourishes authenticity and respect.

Someone who enjoys spending time alone, assuming it’s used for healthy activities, is often someone with deep passions. Similarly, someone who values social connections is generally a person who has good interpersonal skills. Both sets of traits make for a relationship that fosters interdependence.


7.) They can seek, accept, and give help.

someone is good for your mental health

We all need to be comfortable with giving and receiving help – because one is not better than the other.

There are times when we absolutely need to do things on our own for various reasons. Other times, we must reach out for help to survive, or to thrive. We can only do both if we’re okay with depending on others as well as going at it alone.

When we’re with someone who is comfortable with these views, it affords us the opportunity to follow our needs. We don’t have to ask for help so that someone can feel needed. Nor do we need to refuse it because they might feel burdened.

We feel best when we know that someone will be there for us without judging us; that we won’t be seen as weak when we need support. We need people who will allow us to try something on our own – and not foist their help on us without asking.

Generally, people in good mental health are comfortable with themselves. They don’t need to be the fixer or the ‘fixee’. This gives us the flexibility to not fall into choosing one role or the other.


Final Words

Being with someone who makes us feel good doesn’t mean that he or she has excellent mental health – or that it will necessarily enhance ours. Initially, people can make us feel good through infatuation, flattery, or sexual attraction.

We only find out more about a person over time and in varied situations. When someone is good for your mental health, you’ll feel better the more time you spend together.


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20 Simple But Creative Ways To Cheer Someone Up



Ways To Cheer Someone Up

Life always has its ups and downs. But it’s not easy seeing someone we care about wear a frown. Whether it’s a bad break-up or a rough day at work, we would go through great lengths to make them feel better again. But sometimes, the way to cheer someone up is simpler than slaving in the kitchen all day.

Just because you can’t give them an all-expense paid vacation doesn’t mean you can’t cheer up your loved ones. Here are 20 cheap but creative ways to bring back a smile to their faces:


20 Simple But Creative Ways To Cheer Someone Up

1.) Give a smile or a hug.

Ways To Cheer Someone Up

Hugs and smiles are sure to brighten anyone’s day. Ever had a rough day at work, only to grin back at a stranger who’s already beaming at you? Or how about being greeted at the door with hugs from your wife and kids? Wasn’t that a pleasant surprise?

Smiles and hugs are perhaps the only gifts that you can give without making yourself any poorer. So be generous with them! Cheer someone up today with a smile and a hug!


2.) Recommend writing.

From Benjamin Franklin to Virginia Woolf, plenty of people have benefited from the art of writing. Whether it’s journaling or some free writing exercises, sometimes, getting your thoughts down on paper is one of the best ways to instantly feel better.

If your loved one doesn’t have a journal yet, you can gift them cute notebooks or even just small notepads to start with. They don’t need to write entire diary entries either. Doodling or brain dumping ideas can also be feel-good exercises.


3.) Give a sweet treat.

Ways To Cheer Someone Up

Cliché as it is, but there’s usually nothing better than some sweet treats when you’re having a rough day. Whether your friend or loved one is into cookies, candy bars, or dark chocolate, have one handy in case they need a quick pick-me-up.


4.) Treat them to tea or coffee.

Cheer someone up today with an invitation to tea or coffee. Think about how many moments in life are improved by the simple addition of a warm drink: from mornings, busy workdays, relaxations, to trying to gain favor – a hot drink can go a long way.

Make the moment even more special (even while at the office pantry) by getting your friend’s favorite drink. Invite them to take a few minutes to sit down with you. Then pour them a cup and enjoy each other’s company for a while.


5.) Crack a good joke.

Ways To Cheer Someone Up

There’s nothing like a good laugh to dispel awkwardness or get the ball rolling. Having a good joke up your sleeve can come in handy when times get rough. If you don’t have a treasure trove of good ones, funny quotes or anecdotes will do.


6.) Pop in a feel-good movie.

Movies are often a great distraction for people who feel down and out. Cheer someone up by watching their favorite film with them. You could also surprise them with a selection of inspirational movies. Whether they’re in the mood for tearjerkers, Rom-Coms, or Disney classics, there’s a movie that’s bound to make them smile again.


7.) Share a quote.

Ways To Cheer Someone Up

Inspirational quotes are always a great go-to for any occasion. From quotes about success, diversity, change, or facing challenges, you can count on a wise one-liner to cheer someone up.


8.) Play games.

When your friend or loved one isn’t in the mood, they might be waiting on you to provide a distraction. Often, it helps to be doing something completely different so you could feel better sharing about your problems later on.

Playing games (such as board games or video games) can be nice stress relievers. Take advantage of table football at the employee lounge for co-workers who are feeling down and out. If your partner seems cheerless, why not try a quick game of Jenga?


9.) Sing your hearts out.

Ways To Cheer Someone Up

Music can do wonders for gloomy spirits. If your best bud is feeling blue lately, invite him or her to a night out of good ol’ karaoke. There’s nothing better than belting out some tunes to soothe the mood. For friends on a budget, simply turn on your Spotify and sing to your heart’s content right in your living room.


10.) Give a short handwritten note.

Sometimes, short and sweet is best. If you have co-workers who could need some cheering up, a quick note to appreciate their hard work is a good idea. If sending handwritten notes to loved ones is not possible, a quick email or SMS should do the trick. Tell them you love them or that you wish them a good day.


11.) Take a walk through a park.

Ways To Cheer Someone Up

Being in nature can have healing effects. If you want to cheer someone up, a quiet walk around a nearby park can be a refreshing welcome. For those at home, you can take your friend for tea in the garden.

This activity does two things. One, the greenery will help re-energize the senses. Two, walking can help combat the blues done by being sedentary.


12.) Watch the sunset/sunrise.

There’s definitely something about sunrises and sunsets that capture the imagination. Artists, poets, and writers have all taken their inspiration watching the sun rise and set on horizons for centuries.

Use this to help cheer someone up. While waiting for your shift to end, open up the windows. Gaze through the glass and see the skies ablaze with color.

If your friend or loved one is feeling down, invite them for an early morning jog. As you run through the streets, point out the still-sleepy sun peeking from behind wisps of pinks, purples, and blues.


13.) Go stargazing.

Ways To Cheer Someone Up

The night time can be just as inspiring as the day. Let the stars remind you and your downtrodden friend about the miracle of life. When you’re lying down on your rooftop or balcony, gazing up at the darkness sprinkled with tiny dots of light, you’ll realize how each one contributes to the beauty of the night sky.


14.) Dance to some tunes.

If you know you can’t cheer someone up with jogging or sports, perhaps dancing would do the trick. Play a nice tune and take their hand for a waltz. To take things up a notch, choose some cheerful beats to lift your friend’s spirits.


15.) Prepare a hot bath.

Ways To Cheer Someone Up

Similar to taking hot drinks, a warm bath or shower is always a good remedy when you’re feeling down in the dumps. Do the same for a close friend or loved one by preparing a hot bath personalized to their needs. If your best bud is a reader for instance, include a copy of their favorite book along with relaxing soapy suds.


16.) Invite them to dinner/lunch.

There’s no doubt that food brings people together. Bring a smile to someone today by inviting them over for lunch or dinner. It doesn’t matter if it’s take-out, a home-cooked meal, or somewhere fancy. What matters is that you share your time with someone you feel might need it the most right now.


17.) Gift or lend a book.

Ways To Cheer Someone Up

There’s nothing like a good book to ward off bad vibes. If you think your friend or loved one is having a bad day, perhaps some ‘me-time’ with their choice of book is the right antidote. For those on a budget, you can always borrow from a public library.


18.) Go for a drive around town.

Cheer someone up with a drive around your local town or city. It could be a quick or long one, depending on what makes the person happier.

There are cases wherein an individual would want to talk about what’s bothering them, but might be hesitant to do so at home or at a public place. A drive could be a good opportunity for them to open up.


19.) Play with a pet.

Ways To Cheer Someone Up

It’s no secret that pets help us manage stress. Lower stress levels means we’re happier and living longer. If you know someone who could benefit from feeding your cute parakeet at home, then have them over.

For those whose workplaces are open to furry pals, why not introduce your friendly pug to that colleague who’s been looking so down lately?


20.) Simply listen and be there.

Perhaps nothing will cheer someone up more than having a listening ear. For what could be a better gift than the gift of attention in a world brimming with ‘busyness’?

Sit down and open your heart to someone who could use five minutes of your time today.

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