By: Natalia Chambers
Do you miss your friends? Has COVID left you wondering if you will ever hang out with them again? Feeling lonely? Do you have special voices for your pets so they can respond to you? If you said “yes” to any of these questions you might be in need of some reconnection!
To say that this past year or so) has been a challenge for connection would be a bit of an understatement. If you’ve been having an experience similar to mine, your COVID bubble or pod is limited. This can be great for deepening those relationships but what about the other ones?
I’ve been blessed to have some of the same friendships for over 25 years, and some for even longer than that. The kind of friendships where you don’t see each other for years and you just pick up right where you left off. Upon reflection, I’ve realized that the hardest part of so much isolation this past year has been the loss of physical connection. We are hardwired for it and loneliness can be unhealthy, contributing to anxiety and depression. I didn’t even realize just how much I’ve missed my friends until I actually got to see some of them again. A visit from an old friend brought joy, new perspectives, and best of all, LAUGHTER! Things just haven’t been very funny lately and thankfully I still know how to laugh loudly and cry from doing it. While social distancing continues to be important, perhaps an in-person reconnection isn’t possible. I have also reconnected with my best friend from 6th grade and a Zoom call with her was more fun than I could possibly imagine. As I sat there looking at her 12-year-old son, I got to tell him about his mom at that age which just brought the memories flooding back. This experience brought me a lot of joy and more LAUGHTER. I highly recommend this as this call has kept me going for several weeks now.
According to Dr. Miriam Kirmayer, an expert in the field of friendship, what matters more than the number of friends we have or how often we speak to loved ones is how supported and connected we feel. When was the last time you connected with an old friend? Any which way? Zoom, text, e-mail, it all counts. She also suggests strengthening the qualify of your conversations. Frankly, there is enough controversy out there on social media so why not keep our friendship conversations meaningful. What if we made an effort to have conversations that had nothing to do with COVID-19? What if?
I may have opened the flood gates here because I woke up this morning to a message from a roommate I had in college, which was a very, very long time ago. We haven’t spoken in 25 years and I am looking forward to it. (I'm actually kind of nervous but in that good, butterfly tummy sort of way).
May your friendships run deep, your conversations are meaningful, and your laughter be loud!