How to strengthen friendships in an unconventional way
At the beginning of lockdown in March 2020, we all enjoyed the benefits of it. Three of these stood out to us all:
- More Time at home
- No commuting
- More flexibility and time to reflect and refocus our goals
But what has come of this new normality? Is this what we are going to live like for the coming years? Will it be normal to work from home? Is homeschooling beneficial in the long run?
All these questions have recently gone through my mind, and probably yours as well. I’ve asked myself what we can do to uphold our social interaction with our friends and family during and after this pandemic.
#1 Stay healthy
Surprisingly, this is a vital part of connecting to friends in times like these. You won’t be able to reach out to others if you fall into depression yourself.
So to get started, get that cookbook down from the dusty shelf. Start making healthy meals for you and your partner or family. If you can eat healthily and be happy with yourself, you'll be more likely to help others.
If you’re keen to go all in, make a meal plan. Decide what you want to cook each evening of the week. Go shopping once and only get the necessary ingredients.
This is easier said than done. I often catch myself snacking on unhealthy alternatives. But whenever I make a smoothie or a healthy meal, it gives me the necessary energy for the day.
With a happier and healthier self, you will be able to serve friends and family with renewed motivation and dedication.
Start today and look after yourself first, then serve others.
#2 Show interest regularly
I’ve struggled to keep this aspect alive in the past months and year. I’ve drifted away from some people I’d typically see on a daily or weekly basis.
Ideally, even in times like this, it’s vital to check in with your friends often. Facetime, Whatsapp call or a Skype call will be a sufficient motivation and boost to your morale. And try not to be too shy with the camera. It’s what makes the social connection most realistic.
My goal has been to chat with my friends every Sunday for around an hour. It’s a significant boost to the week and helps you look out for their needs as well.
But you’ll need to make a weekly commitment. Only then will you be able to keep up the regular exchange of thoughts and opinions.
To do this block an hour slot in your calendar every week. If you want to chat with all your buddies simultaneously, a Zoom call works wonders. There is even the option to create breakout rooms to split up and have personal chats.
On these calls, be the one asking questions. Show interest in what your friends are going through and what they’re struggling with. If you ask more than you answer, you’re showing your friends that you care about them and are genuinely interested.
Everyone wants a friend like that.
#2 Plan events for after the pandemic
Now we do have time on our hands, plan your future after COVID-19. (Yes there is one, hopefully not too far off.)
The next time you meet for your weekly call, start thinking out of the box—brainstorm different ideas of what you can do together when this time is up. Plan a hike to the mountains, a trip to the local lake or a bike ride through the open fields. Make it extra special, as you will be desperately craving that social interaction when this is over.
While you won’t be able to book venues and events, don’t refrain from writing these activities down. When the time comes, you will have all the ideas in one place, ready to put them into practice.
You will create a sense of anticipation that will keep you and your friends motivated.
It’s not forever
These troublesome times won’t be forever. There will be a time when you’ll be able to embrace your friends and loved ones again.
Until then, we need to be patient and use the time available to us to:
- stay healthy
- show regular interest
- plan events after the pandemic
This way, we will keep up our social contact and emerge more robust and connected from this worldwide crisis.
Until then, stay safe and keep in touch.