Paige P., journalist
It has become clear by now that many aspects of life have changed pre-pandemic to the present. With lockdowns, social restrictions, and the rush of everyday life, many people have found it more challenging to maintain or make new friendships in the traditional sense. Now that much more socializing is done through the internet, many people realize differences in opinions, often political, amongst their friends, colleagues, and family. This has made people really think about the people in their lives they want to spend time and energy on. Throughout the pandemic, there has been plenty of time for self-reflection and contemplation on the people you choose to surround yourself with- do they build you up or tear you down? How do they make you feel about yourself? The answer to these questions should point you in the direction of your true friends.
One way to continue to be social during the pandemic are “pandemic pods” or “quaranteams,” which are small groups of about 12 people across three families who spend time together. As long as the members of these groups are honest with each other about where they have been and if they have been exposed to the virus, this can be a fun escape while still being safe. Luckily, the internet has continued to provide many opportunities to stay social as well via social media, video calls, text messaging, as well as joining online clubs and volunteer projects. Since the beginning of the pandemic, internet friendships are becoming more common by the day, and as long as they are done safely and securely, they can be a great way to meet new friends from different places, cultures, and backgrounds than your own. Many students are now back to school in person as well, which creates a social outlet for students who may not have many other opportunities to be social and meet new friends.
It is important to reach out and check in with close friends and family amidst all the events shaking up the world right now. Getting back in touch with old friends can be a simple way to grow friendships and even build new ones with friends of the friends you reconnect with. Outgrowing friendships is also perfectly normal and does not mean you must cut all ties with a friend, it may just mean you are not as close with your friend as you once were and that is okay. However, making an effort to build and maintain healthy friendships is what will keep people connected, whether with each other in person or with each other from afar. However you choose to stay connected with friends during the pandemic, just be sure you feel safe, responsible, and happy!