Welcome to our unaccompanied tours (UT) blog, Foggy Bottom Rambles! We can share information, programs, and resources quickly with you and since blogs are a two way street, we (and the other readers) can hear from you. What's in a name you say? This blog reflects how we (back here in DC, Foggy Bottom area) provide information (rambles) to you. Find websites and information, upcoming webinars, programs and events. FLO does not endorse organizations or companies linked-to in this blog, the views they express, or the products/services they offer. Let us know what you think: contribute to the blog or email us at FLOAskUT@state.gov.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Communication Tips During a UT

Communication Tips for Unaccompanied Tours

By Margaret 

Communicating during a UT can sometimes be a challenge.  Uncontrollable factors such as time differences, work and other commitments that require time and attention, and power outages (just to name a few) can really impact our ability to communicate with our loved ones serving abroad.  Because communication is important and sometimes limited, we must make sure that we make every second count when we do get the opportunity to communicate. The following are some tips for communicating during a UT:

1.    Keeping it in perspective.  Understand that what may seem urgent to you back here on the home front may not seem as urgent to your loved one who is serving on a UT.  Therefore, if you share an issue with your loved one and do not receive a response that you like, don’t take it personally.  Nine times out of ten, your spouse may be dealing with issues that are far more urgent than those that are going on at home.  However, rest assured that this does not mean that he/she is not concerned about your issue.  Keep things in perspective, and don’t waste valuable time on the phone, Skype, etc. complaining about issues that are really out of your spouse’s control.  Instead, value the time that you have to communicate with one another, and try to focus on the positive.

2.    Keep it creative.  Oftentimes, long distance communication with your loved one can become routine, boring, and limited. While modern technology has made it easy to communicate with our loved ones who are away, sometimes it may be worthwhile to revert back to “snail mail” for a change.  Instead of using the telephone or Skype, try writing a love letter to your spouse. Can you imagine how happy he/she will be to receive a thoughtful, hand-written love letter? If writing is not your thing, simply send a care package with items that communicate “I love you” such as a CD with a mixture of love songs, a book of poems, or a collage of pictures that illustrate “love.” 

3.    Keep FLO/UT in mind in times of uncertainty.  Uncontrollable factors such as power outages, civil unrest, and long work hours may sometimes make it impossible for your loved one serving on a UT to communicate with you.   If you have not heard from your loved one and are concerned about whether or not he/she is okay, please do not hesitate to contact FLO/UT with your concerns.  We are here for you!

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