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 wouldBut 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” https://www.elle.com/uk/life-and-culture/culture/a34346452/friendship-fade/
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