Tuesday, July 7, 2009

International Relationships Part 3 - Communications

When involved in an international relationship, communication is the biggest part of your relationship. There are many ways to communicate. You can choose online messaging programs such as Yahoo Messenger, Windows Live Messenger, AIM, or one of many other programs. You can communicate with your significant other (SO) by text message or phone call. However none of these is without problems. It’s amazing how in today’s societies we can communicate with just about anyone anywhere in the world, however when you really want to keep a conversation going, those systems fail far too often. Imagine you’re in the most boring business conference of your life, the communication lines work perfectly. Try to talk to someone you really care for about your feelings and you’re always getting disconnected. And this doesn’t even include all the text messages that don’t seem to ever reach their destination. This can all be quite frustrating, especially when you send your SO a text message telling them something even semi-important and they don’t get it.

One such problem I ran into, I have Alltel and I can send international text messages all I want. I have unlimited texting and there is no extra charge for sending international messages. However, I can’t receive any messages from Airtel. After three weeks of waiting for Sui Mobile, Alltels international text messaging provider to investigate, they called me back to say that there’s a conflict between the systems that doesn’t allow their number to text mine and they have no intention of even trying to fix it. Of course, that didn’t slow me down too much. For those of you that are interested, there are many websites out there that have free international text messaging, just google and you’ll find plenty. Some only work with certain countries, so be careful and read over the site and test it on yourself to see if it works with your phone.

Now, lets discuss phone calls. We all know international calls can be costly and none of us want to pay more than we have to, even though our SO is worth it (lets face it, if they weren’t, we wouldn’t be in an international relationship, lol). Upon googling more, I found plenty of websites that offer special rates for calling all or some countries. Skype is popular, and if you’re calling India, it’s not bad at 9.2 cents USD per minute. However, I’ve found cheaper programs that work just as well. The one that I use the most is just 6 cents USD a minute. (Jaxtr) Overall, the call quality is excellent, but sometimes they do have problems with too many ppl making calls at the same time and sometimes the calls get dropped, but all providers have problems like this. And unlike Skype, Jaxtr imposes no limits on the amount of money you can spend on phone calls each month. There are plenty more programs out there for making calls, some prepaid and based on how many minutes you buy can run you as low as 4.4 cents USD per minute to India. I highly suggest you spend some time googling for better rates to the country you call. And don’t dismiss Skype. They have an awesome Unlimited World plan that lets you call anywhere in over 30 countries for one low fee per month, if you and your SO are both in those countries, you can talk a lot for next to nothing. Just realize that Skype is not an American company and some American banks charge you an international transaction fee also.

Don’t ever let costs discourage you from building a stronger relationship with your SO. Look at it this way. If you were dating someone that lived a mile away or less, you would still be paying money to go to dinner and the movies and on dates. If you only went once a week, that can add up to $100 easily especially if you live in more expensive towns or cities. And on an average date you’re going to spend around 2 or 3 hours with the person. Using Jaxtr, I spend about $20 for close to 3 hours and 20 minutes. So it’s actually cheaper for me to call and talk for hours to the person I care most about, than it is to go on to the movies. You can easily work plenty of phone time into your budget..just wait for the movie and hit your local RedBox, lol.

And last but not least, when your text messages don’t go through or your call can’t be completed or gets dropped, pick up that phone and try again. After all, you know these things are gonna happen, don’t let them get you down and don’t make your SO miss out on the wonderful things you have to say to them!

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