Friendships are some times the most easy or difficult things to maintain in a normal scenario, but what do we do when a pandemic has been thrown in and caused strain on the good things we had?!
It’s time to address the elephant in the room everyone. Being a good friend in the last year and a bit (how long have we actually had this damn Covid now?) is a new wave of difficult.
I found it difficult with my social anxiety to keep friends even before I got locked away for ages.
When Covid started, it was not as big a deal. We were all making extra effort to have regular video call catch up’s, long winded group chat and personal messages, but then as months go on, the video calls go from fortnightly, to monthly, to never. The messages are shorter and once a week or fortnight instead of once a day.
The problem is, as individuals no matter how chilled we might think we are. The longer we start having these negative changes, the harder we find it to come back from these bad feelings of loneliness..
I already mentioned in my last blog post that I was going through a very, super lonely phase in my life. That’s not my friends fault, they’ve been busy with their own stuff, But the thing is, it does not make things any easier when you can’t pick up where you left off.
So with Covid restrictions easing in England and the country slowly getting back to a more sociable environment, what do we do about not only the friendships we already had working out again but also making new friends?
Communicate with your friends.
This may sound a bit obvious, but trust me, silence can give a lot of the wrong signals. You might be sitting there thinking oh my gosh my friend doesn’t care anymore they’ve never bothered to message me! But how do you know your friend isn’t sitting thinking exactly the same thoughts about you?
Drop your friend an ice-breaker message, or if their distance is getting to you, address it. Trust me when I say, the longer you keep silent about anything in life, the higher the chance that it will just get worse.
Arrange a physical meet up.
Again, sounds obvious, but how long can you live with just text messaging someone or sending voice notes? You have to dip your toe in the water and arrange a hang out! Even if it’s just a garden bbq or half an hour in a coffee shop, seeing your friends in person again properly and having that 1-2-1 time will really help release some positive energy.
Don’t take a friend’s personal stuff personally.
We all have our own lifestyles, sometimes your friend is going to settle down with a new boyfriend and be AWOL for ages, friends might make families of their own, move to a different town etc. And sometimes we make the mistake of assuming that because they’re engrossed in whatever is going on with them, they forgot about us. But guess what? It’s not about you.
Nine times out of ten, your friend doesn’t love you any less just because you can’t message each other every 1.5 hours like you used to. Your friends partner isn’t their replacement for you. It’s just life gets in the way sometimes.
I have many days and nights where I am just not in the mood to talk, if it’s PMS or period week, or if I’m stressed and down, I can easily just sit and binge Love Island or Criminal Minds and not be in the mood to send a long message to my friend about my life story. We forget that actually, our friends worlds don’t revolve around us. They have their own day to day dramas. Don’t ever take it to heart if your friends a little less chatty as they were before.
Try and engage with other people.
You know the friends that are more acquaintances really. Or people you just ‘know through what’s her face’ that always mention how you should hang out some time but it never happens? Well… just bite the bullet and don’t be scared to take people up on an offer to hang out. It is honestly less scary then you think. Of course, if you have certain social anxieties etc don’t dive straight out of your comfort zone! But maybe ask that person from work you always have a laugh with if they fancy doing lunch, or if they wanna grab a drink after your shift. Honestly, you’d be surprised the amount of amazing spontaneous friendships you can make!
Accept that if your friend moves on, that’s okay.
Some people come into our life for brief periods of time. They can be someone we randomly chat to, or sometimes they can even be your bestest friend throughout your early twenties. Some people are lucky to have the same friends for over a decade, some people have different groups of friends throughout their life. There’s no right or wrong with this, there are sadly times in our lives where it isn’t just relationship break ups we go through. We can drift apart from friends too, it doesn’t always have to be due to a major tiff or back stabbing either. Sometimes we just take different paths, or we slowly ‘fizzle out’ with certain people. It’s not the nicest thing to go through but look at the positives if this happens. Think about how good that friendship was in your life at that time, and the memories you have made from it. What lessons did that friend teach you about what a friendship should be like and maybe even about yourself?
The above advice are all just suggestions, obviously how you wanna approach your friendships and move on after Covid is up to you. But please don’t be scared to go out into the world and see those old friends and make some new ones.
Friends are the family you choose for yourself.