How to Deal If Social Distancing Is Affecting Your Friendships
Social distancing is really hard.
At this point, we've been in the midst of this pandemic for months. For most people, that means things are far from normal, especially when it comes to your social life. While the world is slowly opening back up, you're still supposed to be careful about the people you're seeing to stop the spread of COVID-19.
Stay In Touch
Just because you can't see your friends in person doesn't mean you can't stay in touch. Of course, it's not the same to chat with your pals over the phone or have a conversation through text, but it's better than nothing. At this point in the social distancing game, you might be tired of staying in contact with people through virtual means. But if you allow yourself to lose contact with your friends altogether, you'll start to feel lonely and anxious.
Put in the effort to keep in touch with your friends, even if you still can't see them in person. It'll keep your relationships strong so that everything will feel totally normal when you're all allowed to hang out again.
Plan What You Can
In most places, things are starting to open back up again. That means there is likely an opportunity to see your friends, but your options for spending time together might be limited. With restrictions in place, it can feel like too much work to try and hang out with your pals. But don't let your frustration keep you down. Plan what you can with your friends, even if it's a socially distanced walk or a picnic in the park where you all stay six feet apart. It might feel stressful and unnatural, but it's still a chance to spend time with your people. Seeing your friends in less-than-ideal circumstances is still better than not seeing them at all.
Remember Real Friends Will Stick Around
If there's one benefit to this period of social distancing, it's weeding out all your fake friends. After months of not being able to see each other, you probably feel that at least a few of your friendships are suffering. While that's difficult to deal with, it's also a sign that your relationships weren't that strong to begin with. True friends won't disappear just because you can't hang out every day.
Even though it may feel like you're losing close pals, try to reframe the experience in your mind. Instead of losing your friends, you're simply realizing which pals are truly there for you. You only want to surround yourself with people who are truly committed to your friendship, rather than people who hang out with you out of convenience.
Focus On You
Friends are fantastic, but they're no replacement for enjoying your own company. If you feel like your friendships are falling apart during social distancing, it may be the perfect opportunity to take a step away and focus on you. That doesn't mean you should give up on your friendships altogether. But instead of spending your time worrying about those relationships, try to discover new hobbies and figure out what you like to do. Chances are, those hobbies will bring new friendships into your life that are much stronger than the relationships you had before.
Stay True to Your Values
Social distancing can affect your friendships in many ways. While it's difficult not to see your pals, social distancing can also lead to serious arguments if you and your friends are on different pages in terms of how safe you should be. But it's important to remember that, beyond following experts' advice, you should also stay true to your own values. Real friends won't get angry at you for sticking to something you believe in.
If your friends are starting arguments with you over your social distancing practices, they're probably not great friends. Don't allow your mind to be swayed by people who obviously don't respect your opinion.
Remember the Bigger Picture
Social distancing is really challenging—there's no doubt about that. But rather than getting frustrated and angry about the effects it's having on your life, try to remember the bigger picture. Social distancing is all part of an effort to stop the spread of this virus and get things back to normal as quickly as possible. It's a temporary measure for the health and wellness of all people, particularly those in at-risk groups. Social distancing won't last forever, and it is incredibly important. By simply focusing on the good you're doing by staying away from your friends, you might ease some of the frustration and anger you feel at being away from the people you love.
Still struggling to stay in contact with your people during the pandemic? Click HERE for 13 texts to keep the group chat alive during social distancing.