Think about the times when you experienced a genuine connection with someone who wasn’t a romantic partner. Where were you and what were you doing?

Maybe you were driving down the highway together, rocking out to 90’s music. Maybe you were taking a walk around your neighborhood or nursing a glass of wine in one hand and a big bar of dark chocolate in the other. Maybe you took a spontaneous 4-day trip from Florida to Los Angeles with a friend (like I did that one time), traveling across the country and collecting memories and stories along the way.

We live in a digital age. Cellular devices that were once the size (and probably weight) of bricks, now come in hundreds of sleek and lightweight options. Cell phones and apps have become our life lines and our security blankets, our matchmakers and our plus ones.

Let’s be honest, we can hardly walk into a coffee shop or sit in a restaurant without seeing someone with a phone in their hands (or being that person ourselves). Most of us check our phones the very minute we open our eyes in the morning.

These pocket-sized sidekicks are commonly accused of hindering our ability to truly connect with others, and are said to do more harm than good in cultivating genuine relationships.

Today, we’re challenging that concept.

girl walking

What if technology isn’t the enemy? What if connecting to technology could help us better connect with our loved ones? What if, instead of viewing technology as a hindrance to our relationships, we began seeking out ways to leverage its unique capabilities to deepen our friendships?

Now hold on, I’m not talking about simply double-tapping a friend’s Instagram post, occasionally retweeting an old roommate or leaving a long civil comment on an ex’s Facebook page. I’m talking about using forms of social media to create real and genuine connections that deepen the special bond we share with those we care about.

So, how do we grow in relationship with one another in this digital age?

Here are five free apps that can help us cultivate relationships with our loved ones, no matter how near or far they may be:

1. Roadtrippers Trip Planner

Create an epic road trip with friends that you’ll never forget! Map out each stop, search for hotels along the route, view road trip itineraries, take pictures and make memories. This app will have us sitting in the passenger’s side of our best friend’s ride in no time!

2. Spotify

Music has the extraordinary ability to convey some of our most cherished thoughts and emotions, reminding us of seasons past and marking memories in the making. Spotify’s music app allows us to create collaborative playlists and share new and old music with friends. Whatever song we’re vibin’ at the moment, we can instantly share it with our loved ones on Spotify!

3. Pinterest

This app is, hands-down, one of my favorite not-so-guilty pleasures. In seconds users can create collaborative Pinterest boards with friends. Now we can work together to plan the next vacation or “staycation” adventure. Share recipes, DIY’s, travel destinations and outfit inspirations at the click of a button.

4. Map My Run

With this app we can keep our workout buddies, even if they’re a thousand miles away. Map My Run allows users to view and compare routes with strangers and friends. So go ahead, challenge someone to a workout competition or create a group step challenge … because a little friendly competition can go a long way.

5. Paperless Post

Sending a birthday card to a loved one? Planning to get the gang back together for a much needed framily reunion? This greeting card and event planning app is a must have. Choose from Paperless Post’s digital inventory of cards and invitations, add customized event details and send e-vites directly to friends and families email addresses. This app can even set reminders for when we should send cards to our loved ones each year! With its trendy designs, easy to use interface and built in guest tracking system – it is the perfect house party planning assistant!

I believe that we each have the power to utilize technology in a way that will help us continually cultivate meaningful relationships with our loved ones.

So play on – new stories and adventures await!

What apps keep you better connected with friends and family?

Images via Michelle Kim


  1. Tandem is great—if you speak or want to practice speaking another language, it’s a great place to talk with others who are practicing too! I now have a friend from Bordeaux who helps me with French immensely.

    1. Thank you for sharing that, that app sounds awesome! I’m also trying to learn French but since no one I know is doing the same, it can be hard to keep up with it.

    2. Hi Claire!

      First of all, I really love your name! Secondly, I am definitely downloading this Tandem app that you recommended. I took Spanish courses for 7 years, throughout middle school and high school – and now I can speak at about a 3 year old level haha. Brushing up on some of these concepts would do my some good!

      Thank you for sharing!

    1. Hi Charmine! Thank you for your comment! I definitely think there are ways to use Instagram that would lend itself to becoming a community app. I would love to hear your thoughts on some ways you think that could happen!

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