For the vast majority of us, this pandemic has impacted our friendships in some way or the other. The other day, I reflected on my own friendships and some interesting things came out of the reflection. In this blog post I will talk about 4 things that came into mind when I reflected upon friendships during the pandemic, and I am sure you will be able to relate to some of them.
Not checking up on your friends doesn’t necessarily mean you are a bad friend
A lot of people think that checking up on your friends on a regular basis is a sign of a good friend, and I would agree with this. However, I don’t think the reverse argument holds in that if you don’t check up on your friends then you are being a bad friend. The past year has made me realise more than ever that there is a lot going on behind the scenes in someone’s life that you don’t know about, and a lot of them can explain why they are not checking up. Reasons such as being extremely busy, family issues or having other priorities can all explain why someone is not checking up on you on a regular basis. Furthermore, this pandemic has proved to be extremely mentally draining for pretty much everyone, and there can be times where your friends just don’t have the mental energy to be checking up on their friends. I have been in this position several times, and I can assure you that it’s nothing to worry about. As much as I recommend checking up on your friends, it isn’t always easy or possible to do, and that doesn’t mean you are a bad friend.
I value face to face interaction with friends a lot more
During the majority of the pandemic, I couldn’t see friends face to face. Although there was still the opportunity to Zoom call my friends, I sometimes felt that something was missing. Meeting friends in person again in the past few months has made me value face to face interaction a lot more than before. This is shown by the fact that I now ensure that I give my full attention when meeting friends, whereas that wasn’t always the case beforehand. What I particularly appreciate about face-to-face interaction with friends is the small things, such as having the flexibility to do things spontaneously. I do prefer meeting friends in person over video calls, and I am glad that I now value it even more than before.
Friends genuinely care
If there is one thing that I am grateful for when reflecting back on this pandemic is that I have had friends that genuinely care for me and my wellbeing. When I was having a tough time wellbeing wise, it was clear that my friends genuinely wanted things to get better and when I opened up to them over a Zoom call it was obvious that they tried their best to support. Furthermore, when things got better for me from April onwards my friends were really pleased. Even though how I was coping with things had no impact on how my friends were coping with things, my friends wanted the best for me and tried their best to help when they could. I do think I am far from the only one when I say that friends genuinely care. It’s important to remember that most people have good intentions, and are happy to help others out when they can. Friends are no different, so it’s important to appreciate your friends for that.
Having friends the similar age/stage of life to you has a lot of benefits
Before I go any further, I want to make it clear that this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have friends that are significantly older or younger to you, as any friendship you make can add a lot of value. But I do think that having friends that are of similar age or stage of life to you has benefits when it comes to being able to relate to each other. I would say that a good number of my friends are ones that either graduated in 2020 in the peak of the pandemic and had to start a new job remotely, or graduated in 2019 and therefore have had to work remotely for the majority of the start of their career. One of the main challenges I faced was trying to get used to a full-time job while working remotely. Although that was extremely difficult, having friends at that same life stage meant that I knew others that were going through the same challenge. This meant that I found it easier to open up to them compared to other people, as they could relate to the struggles. I do feel that being of a similar age or stage of life to someone else means that you have that in common, which often leads to that friendship being created in the first place.