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Wednesday, July 13, 2022

You've Got to Have Friends by Bea Tifton


I was talking with a group of friends from church that I hadn’t seen in, well, two years. One friend made the astute comment that for us, life would always be divided into two eras, PrePandemic and PostPandemic. We digested this bit of wisdom and agreed. I realize the pandemic isn’t completely over, but the rat race is being run once again.

As an introvert, I wasn’t affected as badly by the lockdown. No meetings to attend? Great. No being pushed and pulled as I trudged through the big box stores for groceries or other items? Wonderful. But almost all people, even introverts, need human interaction. To be part of a tribe, one’s natural family or the family one has picked. And let’s face it, maintaining quality friendships takes work.

I read a great article talking about “friendship fade.”  She admitted that over the course of the pandemic, many of her friendships had petered out. I tried to make a point of texting people. I zoomed for Sunday school socials, and I even talked on the phone with friends, which for me is a big deal. But, we’re all Zoom fatigued. We’ve played all the icebreaker games we can handle. And there’s not much to discuss when we’re not doing much. I read voraciously, so I talked books with people, and I have pets and family who provided fodder for witty anecdotes, but…

I was surprised at the people who disappeared, what a millennial might call “ghosting.” I had a church friend who wasn’t responsive to my texts. A former coworker told me flat out she didn’t want to set aside certain times to text or to zoom. One former colleague and I pledged to support each other through good times and especially through the bad ones. He doesn’t even respond to my texts or emails. A 20 year friendship is just gone.   I admit, that one stung the most. I never would have thought it would

be a casualty of world events.  But some people experienced the pandemic differently. I mean, I have lost family and friends to Covid.  My favorite cousin and a friend in my bookclub died, but we couldn’t attend the funerals due to Covid restrictions. My  mother almost passed away, and now she’s on oxygen 24/7 for the rest of her life, her hearing is gone, and her eyesight has been affected.  I was deeply affected by anxiety over the state of the world. Many people were immobilized by anxiety. They Just. Couldn’t. And I am keeping that in mind and trying to give those people the grace they need and deserve.

But I know from reading books like The Blue Zone that in person friendships add years to one’s life. We need those groups. People we would want in our lifeboat--even through, or especially through, life’s worst moments. We’ve emerged scarred but resilient from lockdowns with all the life changes the pandemic brought. It’s time to reconnect.

 Call a friend. Stop by with one of those sourdough or banana bread loaves you learned to bake during the lockdown. Go back to church or club meetings. Man your lifeboats once again. Facebook friends can be good friendships, but people are pack animals. We need face to face, heart to heart friendships. Connections. Zoom can’t hand you a tissue or high five you, hold your hand or give you a needed kick in the rear.

And if the friendship can’t be revived? Maybe you learned all you needed to learn from that person and it’s time to grieve, then move on. Reconnecting is different from chasing after people who are through with you. Cherish the true friends who have withstood all our PostPandemic challenges  with loving hearts and supportive words. Don’t put it off. Call or go see a friend you haven’t seen since PrePandemic.  They are thinking of you and they will be delighted that you made the first move.  Truly, Friend Reader. I think they will.

Buettner, Dan. The Blue Zones: Lessons for Living Longer from the People Who’ve Lived the Longest.

O’Malley, Katie. “I’m suffering from Friendship Fade”

Photo Credits:

ELEVATE: "Four Women Chatting While Sitting on Bench"

George Milton: "A Woman Reading a Book Near the Shelf While Sitting on the Floor"
Andrea Piacquadio: "Woman Sitting on Chair While Leaning on Laptop"
David Geib: "White Boat on Body of Water"
Pixabay: "Person Holding Baked Pastry Covered With Towel"
Marcus Aurelius: "Friends Hugging on the Street"


  1. I'm so sorry for your losses. You've said this very well. I imagine most of us have friendships that changed, and it's a very sad realization.

    1. Thank you, Liz. It's definitely been surreal for everyone.

  2. I think it's going to take time to readjust/remake our friendships. Everyone learned to live with less contact during the pandemic. Luckily, I live in a development where we could safely distance across our yards and have face-to-face conversations. But like all writers, I really didn't mind my alone time. However, the pandemic did make writing more difficult. I had trouble getting in the "creative zone." Did anyone else?

    1. I think most people felt an odd sense of timelessness and disorientation. With that, coupled with some anxiety from current events, it can be difficult to focus!

  3. I, too, am an introvert. I was reminded how traumatic being homebound was for some people when I called my cousin last week. She was practically in tears and kept thanking me for a long email I'd sent her on her birthday. I kept writing and reading.

    1. Yes, it was quite difficult for some people. Writing and reading are wonderful ways to get through almost anything!

  4. Another introvert here. This pandemic has been terrible on psyche. I honestly have to force myself to extrovert and this week I will go into the office for the first time in over two years. Your posts are so deep, I think you are a closet psychologist, not Libiran. ;)


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