For many people friendships are the family we choose. The connections and bonds we share with our close friends simply make our lives better.
The saying "you don't know what you have until it's gone" has never been more relevant. It is as though the world has paused and life as we new it has been turned upside down. Work, home-life, family dynamics and friendships have been changed profoundly.
One positive that we can take from this time of social distancing is the way it has forced us to really communicate with each other. It is no longer a given that you will see a certain family member on a certain day. You won't run in to a friend at play group or grab a coffee with another after football on a Saturday.
I think it's safe to say that this time has made us all reflect on the value of in-person connections. We are missing the meaningful relationships and for many of us it feels like there is suddenly a void in our lives. We've had to learn to be creative and inventive in how we communicate, celebrate and learn. We are discovering our new normal and doing the best we can. However, throughout this process we are missing the people we love the most. In particular we are missing our friends.
For many people friendships are the family we choose. The connections and bonds we share with our close friends simply make our lives better. We never new just how much we needed those relationships until now. The safety blanket and familiarity that a close friendship entails is a very special feeling.
At this time when it is not possible to socialise with our friends it is important to nourish and maintain those friendships in other ways. Here are five ways that you can do just that.
Ditch The Memes And Really Talk
Don't get me wrong, I am a huge fan of a funny or inspiring meme or viral video. However, in any given day I'll receive the same (albeit brilliant) video from several friends and family members. It's easy to push a button and forward it to several people on your friend's list. It is important to make sure that it does not replace real talk though. By all means send the funny videos to perk each other up but make sure you are also communicating on a real level. Ask about their day and about how they are feeling to help maintain that close bond.
Plan A "Night Out" Or Coffee Date
You've probably heard a lot about apps like Zoom, House Party and Face Time. They allow us to set up video calls with several different people so that we can enjoy a virtual get together. These are a lot of fun and can work really well. You can be creative and set a theme, include a quiz or suggest a dress-code. The whole ritual of the build up, the novelty of the video call and the banter that comes with it will really perk you up and nurture that connection you have with your friends.
Talk About And Make Plans For The Future
So many of us are feeling insecure and anxious during this time. It is difficult to see beyond it and imagine a time where things will feel "normal" again. Talking about the things you look forward to doing together is a great way to boost morale and connect with a friend. Why not go the extra mile and purchase a restaurant voucher to use in a couple of months? You'll be supporting a business during this difficult time and making positive plans to look forward to.
Start A Virtual Book Club
This is an excellent way to channel your energies in to something positive. It is also a great way to connect with your friends. Choose a book, pick a day and feel a sense of togetherness as you explore and discuss a new book together.
Have A Viewing Party
It's like going to the cinema together but you're in separate houses. This is a great way to create the buzz and excitement of going to the movies with a friend. Decide on a movie and time that suits you both, and watch the same movie at the same time. There is something powerful about knowing that you are watching it at the same time - connected by the plot, the characters and the tall glasses of wine you're both taking pictures of.