It’s no secret that the current pandemic has shed a lot of light on the things we took for granted the most; like an affectionate hug or seeing our friends and family in person. The friendships we have built are just as important and meaningful as exercising or eating a healthy diet. They challenge us, teach us to be more forgiving, and also allow us to focus on the needs of others. Studies also show that friendships are just as important for boosting our mental and physical health and the deep-seated need to connect with others physically and emotionally has never been more apparent than it is now.
However, unlike family, maintaining a friendship takes a lot more effort and work, but with the new regulations on physical interaction and a limited number of people in a gathering, what effect will that have on our friendships in the future? Has this pandemic turned us into anti-social hermits for good, or has it shown us just how important our friends really are to us?
We May Cut Ties With More People
Unfortunately, the pandemic has highlighted a few negative aspects when it comes to friendships, which both parties may be to blame. On one hand, many people have expressed their personal opinions of the state of this global challenge we are facing that includes believing a few conspiracy theories including the reasons why masks should not be part of the regulations. Depending on your personal beliefs, this could cause you to question the friendship. In addition to that, you may have also noticed that some friends have not taken the time to check in with you to find out if you are safe, healthy, and coping mentally with the current situation. This could leave a bad taste for some and may cause parties to slowly sever ties with each other. However, we can’t be quick to judge if you have not reached out to do the same.
As we mentioned before, maintaining friendships takes more effort and should be a two-sided tango. If the effort is not reciprocated, it may cause both parties to drift apart.
The extra free time we had in quarantine has also given us the opportunity to reflect and reevaluate our current friendships and relationships. The distance may help you realize which friendships have run their course and which friendships may have turned into a toxic relationship without you even realizing it before.
We Will Be More Affectionate
Being in lockdown and unable to visit or hug our friends has been one of the most challenging parts of the pandemic. We, as humans, are hardwired to crave physical touch in the forms of hugs, kisses, and handshakes. The days of huddling together for a group selfie are long gone and because we are strictly advised to keep a distance, the craving for physical touch has become much stronger than it was before. When social distancing rules ease, we may be more physically affectionate towards our friends and hopefully, those group photos or that hug goodbye won’t be taken for granted again.
Virtual Meet-Ups Will Still Be A Thing
In some states, restrictions have eased, which means that we are finally allowed to see our friends face to face again albeit with a limited number of people. However, if there is one thing this pandemic has taught us is that you can connect with anyone and have just as much fun no matter where you live.
While nothing beats a face-to-face meeting, virtual meetings will still be a useful tool for connecting with friends who live further away. Just because a friend lives on the other side of town doesn’t mean they can’t join in on a last-minute virtual quiz night. Zoom and other platforms have made it incredibly convenient for everyone.
These past few months have allowed us to adapt to a new kind of normal and taught us that there really is no excuse for not spending time with each other when it has become so easy to stay in constant communication from the comfort of your own home.
Our Bonds Will Be Unbreakable
When it comes to building friendships, we usually build a closer relationship with those who have shared similar life experiences and challenges. Those types of friends are normally more understanding of your situations. Going through these types of scenarios together brings you closer together and in turn, you both become a support system that you confide in and trust when things get tough. During this pandemic, most of us have faced extraordinary obstacles from losing loved ones to the virus, losing our financial stability, or dealing with other concerns that weigh heavily on our shoulders. While each of our struggles may be different during this crisis, we are all able to relate to it and because of this, bonds between friends have become stronger through our shared vulnerability.
Reigniting Old Friendships
Being in quarantine has given us a lot of time to reflect on the things that matter the most. For some, looking back on happier times and memories helped to provide some escape from the looming anxiety. Scrolling through old photos on Social Media may have also brought up a few distant moments that were shared with friends you don’t see or talk to anymore. While there are hundreds of reasons friendships drift apart, looking back on it may make you realize that what happened between you wasn’t all that bad. Given the health risks associated with the virus and the extra free time we have on our hands, it is the perfect opportunity to reach out to old friends and rekindle the relationship.
Value Your Friendships
The globe has faced some of the most challenging obstacles during this pandemic. Our lives have changed drastically, but we have adapted and embraced the new norm. Relationships and friendships alike may have taken some strain, however, it has also helped us build stronger ties with those we value most. By getting creative with the way we connect with each other, it has helped us maintain those special bonds and in many ways has made us grateful for the small things we overlooked and took for granted.
The future is uncertain but one thing we do know is that friends are the backbone of living a full and happy life. The global pandemic may have forced us to reevaluate some of the friendships we have but it may also strengthen the bonds you have with others or even prompt you to reach out to long-lost buddies. Even if things seem a bit cloudy at the moment, just know that the storm will pass and that someday soon you will be able to embrace your bestie for that long overdue selfie!