The Pandemic & Social Connection: Are We Still Friends?

By Alison McGill

As we approach the two-year anniversary of pandemic times, none of us would argue the fact that life as we once knew it has changed completely. There’s been an overwhelming amount of loss; it’s almost too painful to think about. Personal loss and professional loss have touched us all in one way or another. Having a strong network of family and friends has never been more important, but sadly many of us are emerging with relationships in a state of free fall, or in many cases, no longer intact.

It’s been a very divisive time. Those friends who were once your closest, and you were totally aligned with, may have changed, and you likely have too. Losing a best friendship leads to heartbreak and yes, even a grieving period.

Friendship is essential to our mental and physical health, and perhaps some of our your best friend relationships may have appeared to go dark during the pandemic, but that doesn’t mean they are lost forever. As Maya Angelou once famously said about friendship: “Try to be a rainbow in someone’s cloud.” You may need to dial up a bit of extra energy to be that light, but a great friendship is a precious thing that is worth trying to save.

Here are four tips for getting those friendship grooves back.

Make the effort
The busy syndrome has curiously not stopped during the pandemic with many of us busier than ever before—working longer hours, home schooling littles, squeezing in selfcare. Friends can be the first line of connection that’s dropped when we are overloaded, but they are actually essential for keeping us grounded. Stay connected! When you don’t have time for Zooms or proper catch-up calls, keep it quick and curated via texts and DMs. These are important little things that will keep your conversations current.

Plan for fun
We know life is unpredictable, but booking a lunch date, dinner party, overnight staycation or even a friend vacay will do wonders for your relationship. The feeling of connecting and getting back to something that feels seemingly normal is a salve for the soul. If you must shift plans, it happens, but having something on your calendar to look forward to with your bestie brings some big, amazing energy.

Acknowledge awkwardness
People have changed during the pandemic, and perhaps you are no longer on the same page about social issues or vaccine protocols, and it’s impacted your relationship. Could an honest conversation help narrow the divide and put things back on track? If a friendship is important to you, it’s worth a try to heal any rifts.

Do what feels right
We’ve all been there when we feel a friendship has hit tilt, and if you’ve tried to resuscitate it but feel the end is where you’re at, it’s time to let go. Relationships that don’t bring positive energy to our lives are too toxic to carry. People come in and out of our lives and are often there for a specific time when we need them most. The interesting thing about the end of a friendship is that there is usually no big conversation, no confrontation, it just silently fizzles and dissolves. You do personally need to accept the fact it is over though, address any grief and prepare for a flood of feels. Be conscience of being to be extra-good to you.

Tags: COVID-19, friendships, top story, topstory

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