5 Ways to Keep Your Friendships Alive During A Pandemic

L.A. Strucke

A pandemic has taught us that human connection is the key to a full life

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2020 has been a year for the history books. With a pandemic spreading throughout the world, people have lost the carefree life they once knew. With the loss of so many people - many dying alone - and being forced to distance ourselves, 2020 has taught us how important our human connections are in this world. It's not been easy for many people this year. We've realized that some of us have taken for granted the important people in our lives.

When we're sitting alone in our homes this year during the holidays, we're going to realize that the stuff we've accumulated over the years doesn't mean anything. Those expensive gadgets aren't going to keep us company during the holidays. The most important thing in life is friends and family. And without them, life is a lonely place indeed.

It was a difficult lesson for all of us to learn. We need to nurture the friendships that we still have. Because when this pandemic is over, there's going to be a huge celebration across the world. Here are 5 ways to let your friends know how important they are to you:

1. Pick up your phone and call them.

Many of us carry cell phones around wherever we go, constantly texting people. If each of us were to call one friend a week, we could easily keep our friendships alive. This may be the only human connection some lonely people have. And when you hear someone’s voice on the phone, you’ll notice things you won’t pick up on in a text. You will hear the inflections in their voice and may pick up that they are sad or depressed. Your encouraging words may help them, knowing someone cares. Your friends will appreciate you reaching out to them. It won’t take much of your time, and it will pay off for you in the future.

If you absolutely hate making phone calls, then text your friends often. Any communication is better than nothing.

2. Send a handwritten letter by mail.

Everyone emails people now. Many people miss a lot of their personal emails because their inbox is drowning in business or junk mail. How about surprising someone you care about with a handwritten letter?

Imagine them opening up a mailbox and scowling at their typical pile of bills, and then they see this wonderful letter from you. It will make their day! The longer the letter the better. Write it on fun stationery or even plain sheets of paper. Seal it with fancy wax. You can enclose a gift card, or photo to make the letter even more special.

If writing letters isn't your thing you can send them a funny or inspiring card. Any piece of mail that isn't a bill is an instant win. And if your friend is feeling down, you can send them an inspiring card or thoughtful gift. The best gifts aren't expensive, they're usually something fun that reminds them of your friendship. They'll also appreciate small thoughtful gifts relating to their interests and hobbies. Handmade gifts are the best. You can even ship your own homemade cookies!

That treasure in their mailbox will brighten their day, and appreciate the caring friend that is you.

3. Attempt to meet up with them.

Even during a pandemic, you can still meet up in creative ways. During warm weather, if your area is permitting small gatherings, you can meet them on their back deck, or take a hike together on a lonely rail outside. Be sure to social distance and wear a mask during any meetups. If you are visiting in your backyard, arrange the tables far apart before they arrive. Provide a bottle of water and a cup on your guest's table, and their favorite snacks. You can have a great conversation across the deck. Of course, it's not ideal, but it will be well worth the effort to see your friends.

4. Take advantage of video chats.

You can do so many creative things on a video call. A friend of mine plays video games with her friends online during Zoom chats. Recently, a group of them got together via Zoom to watch episodes on Netlfix and make comments about the show. They were laughing and having a great time. Others video chat to compare their holiday cookie recipes, chat with their families, and cheer each other up. One of my family members likes me to call her and play the piano for her. It brings back memories for her. In this pandemic, you have to be creative and make the best of a difficult situation.

5. Quarantining, testing, and visiting.

If there are no restrictions in your states, you can travel and have longer visits with those you love. Here's how to do it: Have no contact on the outside with anyone for a couple of weeks, have your groceries delivered to your home, and don't interact with anyone. That means no visitors. Then take a Covid test. When you get your negative result, you can drive to visit your family member.

This can only work if your friend or family member quarantined and took a test too. It's not easy to do, but it will be so worth it. Then you can have a wonderful extended visit with them, and almost feel like things are back to normal again.

Soon things will return to normal.

Fortunately, the vaccine will soon be available and ultimately things will return to normal. You will see the people you love again. You will be able to fly across the country and visit other countries again, and there will be celebrating for all people across the world. Pandemics do come to an end. People are strong, and they survive. You will too. We will make it through this trying time. We will survive.

And if you keep the connection with those you love alive during this difficult time in life, your friends will be there to celebrate with you when it’s over, knowing you never abandoned them.



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